Hearty congratulations were given and duties were introduced on Thursday, September 22 as the new ASUSF student senators were announced.
Out of thirteen candidates, eight new senators have been appointed; Brandon Penn and Douglas Phillips as Freshman Representatives, Sonia Abenojar and Cindy Venerio as Students of Color Representatives, Eric Santaserio as Students With Disabilities Representative, Nick Sousa as LGBTQ Representative, Meerim Djunusdlieve as On Campus Representative and Brittany Reed as Off Campus representative. Only one position, Freshman Representative had multiple candidates contending, the rest of the positions ran unopposed.
Not all vacancies were filled this fall; there continue to be empty seats for Junior Class representative, Senior Class representative and an additional Student with Disabilities representative. These positions will remain unfilled unless a student is specifically appointed by the ASUSF President, Lex Wochner. However in most cases the seat will remain empty for the remainder of the year.
Votes were cast from September 19 to September 22 through the online e-Ballot system. Students had the opportunity to vote at home or at one of the polling tables set up around campus. Ariel Ling, Vice Chair of Marketing for the Electoral Governing Board (EGB) said, “Even though it seems small, there was 14% voter turnout… that was great for actually coming out and voting for issues on campus that [students] may not know about.”
The winning announcements were followed by an Elections Party Celebration at Crossroads set up by ASUSF Vice President of Public Relations, Sashi Ayal. Complementary food was provided, Senate t-shirts were given out, open mic was set up and newly minted senators were on hand to mingle with their constituents for the first time.
The celebration was created in an effort to increase the visibility of student government on campus. Senate’s biggest concern is a lack of awareness from the student population regarding what they work for.
Johnny Chibnall, Sophomore Class Representative said, “One of the goals for Senate this year is to get our name out there and to stop having students ask the question ‘What is Senate’… we want a connection between the student body and Senate, we want people to know who we are.”
In light of this goal, a program called “Cookie For A Concern” was put into action this week as Senators went around the Lone Mountain market on Monday and main cafeteria on Wednesday with free cookies and paper, giving students a treat if they shared a concern they had.
A total of 110 concerns were collected and are expected to be covered at the ASUSF Fall Summit.
Newly appointed Off Campus Representative Brittany Reed also plans to spend her time in office this year working to get off campus and graduate students included. She wants them to be more aware and involved with campus activities. She said, “[off campus students] don’t know as much about the events… we don’t see the posters, we get the emails but its not enough… we need to bridge that gap.”
The ASUSF Senate meets every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the UC fourth floor lounge. Meetings are generally open to the public unless otherwise noted.
During these meetings an open forum is provided for interested students to address the Senate directly.
To stay on top of all proceedings join ASUSF StudentGov on Facebook and stay tuned for EGB’s upcoming Twitter account.