The executive board elections results were announced last week on Friday Sept. 11 after student voting on Wednesday Sept. 9, and Thursday Sept. 10.
The 2020-2021 Student Senate executive board:
-President Luke Diel
-Executive Vice President Scott Rykala
-Social Vice President Isaiah Skeete
-Academic Vice President Elliott Kimball
-Treasurer Tyler Wright
-Secretary Andrew Hreha
With the executive board elections out of the way, the Student Senate will now focus on the general elections this week on Wednesday Sept. 16 and Thursday Sept. 17.
There have been some changes to the general elections this year. The Student Senate general elections are usually held after the executive board elections in the spring semester, but they were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, joining the yearly freshman elections this fall.
The general elections voting process will be similar to the executive board elections. Students will vote for up to four of their class senator candidates listed on the ballots. Write-in candidates are also permitted and encouraged. The elections will be held in Johnson Commons and monitored by the newly elected executive board members.
“If you’re not on the ballot, but you would like to be on Senate, I would encourage you to run a write-in campaign,” said Andrew Hreha, a senior communications student and newly elected Student Senate Secretary. “Get your friends to write you in and talk to people to write you in because they have won before and they have gotten onto the Senate.”
2020-2021 Student Senate general elections candidates:
The Student Senate general elections results will be made public by campus email on Friday Sept. 18.
Even though there have been some big challenges with postponing the executive board and general elections, there have been some positives. One big example is the elections tent in Johnson Commons. Elections are usually held in the Beehive during lunch and Benedum Dining Hall during dinner, but the tent has proved to be a new option going forward.
“I think it’s more attractive and more appealing because it’s outside,” said Isaiah Skeete, a senior criminal justice major and newly elected Student Senate Social Vice President. “It gets really crowded in [Benedum] and the Beehive, and people usually overlook the table that’s usually there.”
The new elections tent has also provided some solutions to problems.
“The problem with having the voting in the Beehive and [Benedum] is that typically students have to swipe there to go vote,” said junior political science major, and newly elected Student Senate President Luke Diel. “There is no deterring voters away based on food preference. I think going forward it’s a great move for us.”
The importance of student voting has been stressed leading up to the general elections.
“We hope to get the same turnout as the executive elections because those seats are just as important as executive board,” Hreha said. “Those are the people who will be voting on things that the executive board brings forward.”
Roughly one third of the student population already votes in elections, but increasing voters is always a focus for the Student Senate.
“If students want to see changes on campus, you have to elect the right people,” Diel said. “Whether it’s voting for someone you know is going to do a good job, or someone that you agree with what they want to do, you need to inform yourself before you vote. Students want to see changes, so they should look into who’s running.”
The focus on voter turnout has led to ideas for how to improve the elections tent for next school year’s elections if the tent is continued.
“I think in the future if we get the word out more and tell students, it will generate attendance,” Skeete said.