It’s that time of year again: election season at USF has officially begun. The ASUSF Senate hosted an election kickoff event to encourage students to vote in the USF senate elections, as well as the upcoming presidential election. ASUSF utilized resources from the San Francisco Department of Elections in order to make the event possible. Non-profit organization Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) was also present at the event, bringing three adorable dogs to campus.
The event featured two booths: one for general US election voter registration and one to vote for ASUSF senate representatives. This fall, only one of the 11 senate seats is up for election: the freshman class representative. However, voting polls for residence hall council positions were also open.
Freshman Brianna Rosales heard about the event through posters and emails and expressed that she was thrilled to participate in Dons elections despite being new to campus. “It’s important for people to have a say,” Rosales said. Freshman Anthony Navarro admitted that he heard about the event through PAWS: “I came with the intentions to just see the puppies, and I saw the opportunity to vote so I voted for the people who I thought were best suited,” he said.
Sean McCarthy, vice president of advocacy, was tasked with organizing the event. “We wanted to have a really robust voter registration event in conjunction with the Dons election,” said McCarthy, who went on to explain the importance of community involvement within the student body as well as in the national, state and local elections. Although the SF Department of Elections reached out to ASUSF to participate in the event, McCarthy was responsible for communicating with them. He ensured that voter registration paperwork was made available to students, and that the current ASUSF senators were knowledgeable about the registration process.
Every year, the SF Department of Elections attends an ASUSF senate meeting to train senate members on registering other voters. “We are pushing for more civic engagement,” said Shaya Kara, ASUSF President. To encourage students to get involved in the presidential election, ASUSF will be hosting a presidential election viewing party on Nov. 8. The viewing party will bring the ASUSF’s campaign to increase the number of student voters participating in the presidential election to a close.
ASUSF Vice President of Public Relations Ashley Simon commissioned the event because of her concern with the lack of student participation in Dons elections and on campus events. She also collaborated with PAWS to maximize attendance and student involvement for the event. “I just really want to encourage people to get involved with these organizations because they can all contribute to future success and campus involvement,” says Simon. She welcomes USF students to take advantage of ASUSF drop in hours and open meetings. Through these resources, she hopes to foster student collaboration and strengthen the relationship between ASUSF Senate and the USF student body.