Three representatives elected to SGA

SGA President Levi Bachmeier encouraging people to vote for their class representative. Photo by Aubrey Schlied.
SGA President Levi Bachmeier encouraging people to vote for their class representative. Photo by Aubrey Schlied.

Newly elected freshman class representatives Josh Mackner and Sara Juntunen and newly elected sophomore class representative Alex Gray are excited about the opportunities they will have to serve their classes this year.

“I’ve been looking forward to running all summer,” Gray said.

Class representatives are required to serve on either the Student Involvement Council or the Elections and Credentials Council and one of the four campus committees, which include Academic Affairs, Programs and Events, Student Services and the recently established Sustainability Committee.

Juntunen will serve on SIC and the Programs and Events Committee.  Mackner and Gray will both serve on ECC, though they will work with different committees—Mackner with Student Services and Gray with Academic Affairs.

Colin Sullivan, the ECC commissioner, oversaw the elections along with the committee’s advisor, Brent Johnson.  Sullivan was impressed with the campaigns and the amount of students who voted, he said.

Out of around 1,300 eligible voters, more than 550 cast their vote Tuesday.  The 44 percent voter turnout rate was unprecedented by past elections, Sullivan said.

“Turnout with that high of a percentage is pretty outstanding,” he said.

Eight freshmen and two sophomores campaigned for the class representative positions.  SGA president Levi Bachmeier said the high number of freshmen candidates this year is encouraging to SGA.

“(It) speaks to our ability to market ourselves to the incoming class,” he said.

In past elections for class representatives there has not been this level of competition, Bachmeier said.  If a student got on the ballot, he or she was usually guaranteed a victory.

That was not the case in this election, he said.

Sullivan added that every candidate worked hard during the campaign and used innovative strategies to market themselves to their class.

“All around, a very engaging campaign for sure,” he said.

Mackner, for example, handed out green strands of yarn for students to wear around their wrists as reminders to vote on Tuesday.  Getting students to vote has been a big challenge in the past, he said.

Bachmeier also said elected members have, in the past, put a lot of effort into their campaigns and considerably less work into their terms of service.  This has been a major short-sight of SGA, he said.

Having won this competitive election, the three representatives are more likely to take their responsibilities seriously and take pride in their work, Bachmeier said.

Freshmen and sophomores voted through their C-Port accounts.  Sullivan worked with Johnson to ensure this year’s elections went smoothly.

The previous program used for voting was essentially unusable, he said, so they had to develop a new system for these elections.

Last year more than 50 students could not log into the online voting system because it did not recognize their identification numbers.  Sullivan and Johnson also knew the old system would not have been able to handle the number of students voting this year.

Simply stated, the program was outdated by newer technology.

Billy McDonald, online marketing technical specialist, said the old program was written by a student in 2008 and needed considerable updates to be usable.

Sullivan said they were even worried students would have to vote using paper ballots, but in the end it did not come to that.

Sullivan said he can breathe easy with the success of the elections.

He also said he is pleased with the turnout of the elections.  Each newly elected representative will bring different and valuable ideas to the position.

Mackner has a fun energy, which will be a benefit to student government, Sullivan said.

Juntunen, as an international student from Finland, said she is interested in seeing more unity between American and international students.  Sullivan added that she will bring a unique perspective to the position.

“She really has the capacity to get to know students in a different way,” he said.

Finally, Sullivan said he is excited to have Gray serve on the ECC Committee because he is very organized.

“He will be a cool and calculating presence on ECC,” he said.

Freshmen and sophomore class representatives have already begun serving, and will continue their term through the year.

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