It is time once again for students to have their voices heard.
Student Government (SG) elections are underway all week in voting locations around campus — such as at the Marshall Student Center, The Village and the Library, depending on the day — and online.
For the current student body president, Moneer Kheireddine, it is important that students vote in the SG elections because it is their opportunity to choose who represents them.
“It’s important for students to vote in their annual student government elections not only because of the importance in choosing the people who are going to represent you and your fellow students carefully but also for the context of setting the habit to always participate in local, state and national elections whenever they occur,” Kheireddine said. “The more you vote, the more you cement the habit of doing your due diligence as a citizen to ensure your electing leaders who serve well on your behalf.”
Kheireddine said getting students to the polls is not always easy, so options are in place to make voting more convenient.
“SG has a wide variety of methods to try and ensure students can get to the polls, many of which included rolling social media updates, increased coverage on campus as well as a wide variety of free food, promotional items and t-shirts for those who cast their ballots early,” Kheireddine said. “Physical polling locations will be located all over campus but we’ve also taken steps to make voting online as easy and simple as possible as well, so it’s extremely accessible to anyone who can take a few minutes to simply go online on their phone and cast their ballots.”
As Kheireddine’s time as student body president winds down, his potential successor, Britney Deas, is running unopposed.
Alongside running mate Travis McCloskey, Deas said they “still want students to vote as if we weren’t (running unopposed) because it means something when support is demonstrated in numbers and action.”
Deas added that it is also important that students elect their senators, which is done on a college-by-college basis because they have a large impact on the student experience as well.
To that point, Senate President Sarah Lucker said the executive branch relies heavily on the senators in the legislative branch.
“While the student body president can introduce new initiatives, many times those initiatives need to be funded by Senate,” Lucker said. “In the same way that U.S. president would need the support of Congress for major projects, many of the things that SG leaders want to accomplish can only be achieved with members of both branches working together, so it’s important to vote for people who represent your values and priorities in every race.”
Lucker added that in some cases, elections for Senate are very close.
“Some senatorial races are won and lost by a few votes, so (students') input could directly change who will be in office,” Lucker said.