As the Associated Students Union election nears, it will be up to the students to decide if leadership needs new direction or if current ASU president Antone Agnitsch is leading students in the right direction.
Campaign season began Tuesday and, while the election date has not been set, it is projected to be sometime in the next two weeks.
So far the only challenger to the incumbent is Black Student Union Vice President Nakari Syon.
“All students will get a vote,” Inter-Club Council President Safi Ward-Davis said. “There will be a table in front of the (Applied Arts) Building where students can vote electronically.”
The election is not determined by a majority vote. Candidates need to get half of the previous year’s turnout to qualify, then, whoever has the most votes after that wins.
The field has not been officially set and as of now only one student is in position to challenge Agnitsch for the seat.
The majority of Agnitsch’s term as president was spent trying to pull the group out of debilitating debt that was caused by the previous council, he said.
“When I first started as president it was more like repair work. The debt really slowed me down,” Agnitsch said. “Now we have momentum and a full board. I want to finish what I started and leave a good legacy.”
The ASU president is supposed to set a standard and should be open to hear from all students and be willing to provide what they want and need.
“They have to be the one that represents students at board meetings or going to district council meetings, anywhere that the student voice needs to be heard,” Student Life Coordinator Erika Greene said.
Syon said, “Being in student leadership and leading in my community, I’ve learned that it’s important to be open to different opinions. Students deserve that kind of perspective. It is also a great position to make sure encouragement is more impactful.”
As for mission statements, both candidates have the same ultimate goal for the students on campus: They want to make sure students are represented in all committees or campus matters.
“I want students to feel more connected to the campus,” Agnitsch said. “It’s hard to get through to some of the students that only come here for classes then leave. We need them to be involved, too.”
The elections are important because the ASU not only is the voice for the students, but also manages a large pool of student funds. The union is also responsible for coordinating the events and activities on campus.
“I want to bring more informative events to the campus,” Syon said. “Informed students are more likely to be involved with new activities and new policies.”
To get the word out about the upcoming election, the candidates plan to use both old and new methods. Both will use fliers and pepper social media with reminders about the importance of getting involved.
“I like to go out face-to-face and talk to students,” Syon said. “I’m confident in informing voters about my position. Fliers aren’t as effective as face time.”
Agnitsch also said it is important for students to know what the ASU does for them. As current president, he already has projects in the works that he believes will enhance student life on campus.
Plans are in motion to finish the student recreation room, with potential of adding gaming consoles for video game tournaments.
Agnitsch also enjoys the face-to-face interaction, but after a year in office, sees the position from a different perspective.
“I enjoy the face-to-face interaction with the higher-ups,” he said. “This is good real world experience, handling public funds and being an elected official — only on a smaller scale.”
The ASU has a Facebook page and will use its social media presence to promote the candidates until election day. A picture will be posted with a short bio about the candidate and his or her vision for their perspective term in office.
Tuesday the election committee met to brainstorm strategies which it hopes to implement to better reach the CCC student body and in turn get more participation.
Both candidates also expressed a need for patience in the position. The current president emphasizes small actions toward accomplishing a larger goal.
Syon said, “It is important to encourage patience. We rush things that don’t need to be rushed. It’s important that things get done. It’s all about peer support and organizing priorities.”
For more information about the election, contact ICC President Safi Ward-Davis or visit the Student Life Office in AA-109.