Top two spots contested, Senate likely to see empty seats
After filing for student body elections closed Wednesday, Student Government leaders faced the same problem they’ve bemoaned for years.
Plenty of people want to star in the show. Not enough want to act as the supporting cast.
Four candidates filed for student body president, and two want to be student body vice president.
There are 52 available seats in the Student Senate, but only 37 students signed up for office. That leaves at least 15 seats empty when SG’s legislative branch takes office in March.
At least three colleges will have no representation in the body unless students register for Senate later.And only students in three colleges — Nursing, Business and Engineering — will have a choice in representation.
“Seeing those numbers today was disappointing,” said Student Body Vice President Taylor Cain. “I feel like we’ve worked our ass off this year to give people a reason to care.”
For the third year in a row, only one candidate filed for student body treasurer. It means Emily Supil, a fourth-year accounting and integrated information technology student, will run unopposed and is practically guaranteed the position. Supil currently serves as finance chairman for the Student Senate.
So why aren’t students interested in serving as treasurer?
“The treasurer position is not as glamorous as vice president or president,” said longtime SG veteran and fourth-year chemical engineering student Emily Berger. “And this student body is apathetic.”
Student government officials say the position is one of the most important at the University, as the treasurer is responsible for student organization allocations and SG’s overall budget. Student Body President Ebbie Yazdani, who served as student body treasurer before becoming president, said the job developed him for directing SG.
“You get thrust into balancing a lot of different interests,” Yazdani said. “It’s the kind of skills you need later on in life. You get to advocate for students and give back by helping with allocations.”
Yazdani said students aren’t apathetic but are interested more in other organizations besides SG. People often relate SG to actual politics, which turns them off the organization, he said.
Cain had a different take.
“The more and more I think about it, I think students feel like they don’t hold a claim in the process,” Cain said. “... Maybe we should have reached out to the students more and asked for their help. We need to try and include people more.”