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Students vote to fill SGA vacancies, candidates utilize social media

Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 01:10

Voting for freshman class president and vacant Student Senate seats began Tuesday and students are encouraged to learn about the positions and research candidates to find the best fit.

Students will be voting for open Senate seats in the following caucuses: freshman, off-campus, University Apartments, Liberal Arts, Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Science, General Studies, Engineering, Business and Architecture.

Executive Vice President of Student Government Association and international affairs graduate student Mark Womack said he encourages every student to vote and said researching candidates is not as daunting as it may seem at first.

Womack said researching candidates is easy when students realize they only need to research the candidates who are running in the caucuses that apply to them.

“You’re going to vote for a couple of people within the college that you are in, depending on if there are spots within that college’s caucus, and a couple of people depending on where you live,” Womack said.

Students who live off-campus, live in the University Apartments, are freshmen or who are in one of the colleges with open seats will be able to vote in the Senate elections. This is the first year vacant Senate seats are being filled by vote.

In order to research candidates, Womack said students can search for the candidates through social media websites and ask the candidates questions.

“The best thing to do is look at the sample ballot,” Womack said. “All of the candidates have a Facebook group. Every single candidate has been really adamant about reaching out to people.”

Womack said he believes researching candidates for Student Senate is important because senators make important decisions that affect students and the University.

Womack said he thinks some people have a misconception about the role of SGA.

“This isn’t high school student council,” Womack said. “People make decisions in SGA that affect the entire University, that affect University funding, that people in Austin take very seriously and that the University administration takes very seriously.”

Because of this, Womack said the elections are a great way for people to get their voices heard across campus.

Class Councils operate separately from SGA, focusing on class gifts, maroon-out and class representation. The reason for freshman class president elections being held at the same time as Senate elections this year is because of convenience, said Senior Class President and senior industrial distribution major Trent Segers.

“Per our constitution we have to have campus-wide elections through the Election Commission, which is a part of SGA,” Segers said. “We have to elect a freshman class president, and they have to fill vacant seats, and we both have to go through the Election Commission.”

Brenton Cooper, freshman economics major, has been keeping up with the freshman class president race.

“I think that the best way to research candidates is through social media,” Cooper said. “I know candidates put out different information about themselves, what they have been involved with in high school and why they think they should be the leader of the freshman class.”

Cooper said social media allows students to learn more about the candidates so that they can make educated decisions when voting.

“It is a great way to learn about that candidate, to see what other people have to say about the candidates and make an informed decision on the candidates,” Cooper said.


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