Although 618 students voted in the recent Students’ Association Congress election, about 200 more voters than last fall, executive officers are looking for ways to improve future student participation.
Fourteen Congress positions were uncontested, and three positions will have students appointed to them.
Rodney Johnson, SA vice president, said the executive officers are working to increase the student body’s exposure to SA. They are focusing on surveying the student body, hosting town hall meetings and getting in front of the student body more often.
“We’re working constantly on increasing students’ exposure. That’s to blame for some of the uncontested roles,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t concern me though because we have more than qualified candidates. But would I like for there to be more competition? Definitely.”
An encouraging indication of student participation was the senior class presidents’ race, SA President Dylan Benac said. Sean Branshaw won the race by two votes. It is unusual for the senior class president race to be the closest, Benac said.
“One of them could have easily said, ‘I’m going to run for vice president because he’s running for president,'” Benac said. “I like that they ran against each other when they didn’t even have to.”
Benac said elections are interesting within a smaller university because every vote really does matter.
Executive cabinet members have more plans to increase student involvement in future elections. They are working on an electronic voting system to replace the current paper ballot system used in the Campus Center.
“We don’t see many seniors come through the Campus Center. This would be a better way to reflect the picture of people at ACU,” Benac said.
Benac wants to partner with students in the Association for Computing Machinery, a group in the School of Information Technology and Computing, to design an electronic voting system. Benac hopes a new system will be designed by the spring.
Another change to benefit Congress that will potentially be made is moving all SA elections besides freshman positions to the spring, Benac said.
“That gives people the opportunity to plan all summer,” Benac said, “And it means on day one, we’ll be ready, and we won’t have to wait four weeks to have our first meeting.”
SA’s first Congress meeting will take place next Wednesday.