By Lizz Vensas
Collegiate Staff Writer
Starting in February students will see campaign signs around school, not for the Republican Primary, Democratic Caucus or general election, but instead for Student Congress elections.
For the second year, Student Congress will have open elections for their executive board positions; this includes president, vice president, communications director, budget director, and public relations director.
“Those who want to run for executive board positions will have to meet the qualifications and submit their intent to run form by February 3,” said Campus Elections Committee Chair Samantha See. “Then campaigning can begin and elections will be in the last week of March.”
See hopes this year’s elections will see more participation by students and more candidates to run in the race. Only 1 percent of the student population voted last year, See said.
“Last year was our first year having open elections,” See said. “This is new for us, but this year we hope to see more flyers, buttons and posters. We want to see more interest by students; we will even hold a discussion panel for the candidates to discuss what they will do if they are elected. We definitely want to see some competition,” See said. See recognizes a lot of advantages to running for a Student Congress position.
She explained that the position will look great on a resume and that it shows you have a good work ethic. In addition running for the positions is a way to help represent students at GRRC, and she encourages all students to consider joining student congress as well.
“If you want to join, you can come to a meeting and check out what we do,” See said. “Then go online and fill out an application to join and get sworn in at the next meeting.”
Members of student congress consist of the executive board members, student club representatives, and open seat members.
Eric Mullen, adviser to Student Congress, is also pushing for more student representation at meetings.
“We have about 15 vacant seats on student congress,” Mullen said. “These are open for any student to join. You do not have to be a member of a club or organization to serve.”
Current members of the executive board are Tonja Lofton as president, Joe Byron as vice president, Ledis Santos as communications director, Anthony Provenzano as interim budget director, and Raymond Gant as public relations director.
Provenzano was appointed President Tonja Lofton to serve as interim budget director after Micah Foster resigned.
“Micah has been looking for work and recently got an offer out in California,” said President Tonja Lofton. “I know it hurt him to leave in between semesters, because he was extremely dedicated to student congress. He is definitely somebody who contributed a lot to our organization. We were lucky to have him with us.”
Members of the executive board plan to assist candidates in learning their positions.
“While candidates run they should definitely talk to e-board members,” See said. “The members will then try and train the can- didates to be ready and able to run Student Congress the next year.”
The students that get elected will be sworn into office at the end of the semester, which means they will technically start their positions over the summer.
Recent changes in Student Congress by laws have affected who is eligible to run for student congress executive board.
Vincent James, Student Congress Parliamentarian, explained that because the Constitution already addressed the eligibility requirements and when the Student Congress Bylaws tried to expound on the requirements, that was unconstitutional so the Bylaw was struck down making only two requirements to run for office within Student Congress, which are that you be a member of Student Congress and taking at least six credits.
Executive board members in student congress are compensated throughout the semester for their work.
“We felt our student leaders deserved compensation for all of their effort, they are required to spend a certain amount of hours work in their position,” Mullen said.