Students at the University of La Verne voted last week for ASULV officers, in a less conventional way.
To simplify the process and eliminate paper waste, the student government organization held is first online elections.
“Last year the votes were close and we had to count all the votes by hand,” said Director of Student Life Barbara Mulligan. “It was too time consuming.”
This year 317 votes were cast.
Even though most students running were unopposed, excitement was still visible in some student’s eyes.
“I’m pretty happy,” said Senator at Large Jessica Gerard. “I was surprised that I was elected in my first semester at ULV.”
The theater major feels she is the right person for the job. “I have a lot of different interests,” Gerard said. “I can relate with anything and I offer a well- rounded perspective.”
As vice president of finance, junior business administration major, Roxanne Garcia is in charge of figuring out how money should be distributed among the organizations on campus.
“A lot of people were unhappy with the money their organizations got,” Garcia said. “I want to make people happy with the money they receive.”
Garcia is also currently the senator of the College of Business.
“Running unopposed, we did minimal campaigning,” ASULV President and junior social science major, Benjamin Balderrama said. “But we’re still going to do our best and it’s not going to affect the way we run.”
Running for vice president was Nick Sloot, a sophomore physics major.
One of Balderrama and Sloot’s biggest goals is to get things done that are usually just spoken about among those who want to change things.
“We had a lot of projects and goals last year, and we didn’t get a lot of them done,” Sloot said. “We want to do a couple of them at a time and accomplish those first.”
“Even though they ran unopposed, they’re all very good candidates,” Mulligan said. “I really want to see Nick and Benny’s vision play out.”
The No. 1 priority, according to Sloot and Balderrama, is to re-establish communication with the student body.
“Our biggest goal is to get students comfortable enough to come talk to us,” Sloot said. “We need the students to come tell us what they want.”
“We want to be more accessible to [the students],” Balderrama said. “People think just because we’re president and vice president that they can’t come to talk to us, but we’re students too. We’re just like everyone else.”
The e-mails stating that it was now time to vote were sent out to the student body on April 5. By voting, all students received an aluminum water bottle, which went along with the theme of being eco-friendly.
“The voting was really advanced ecologically speaking,” Gerard said. “People have responded well to the ‘go green’ idea.”
“It was awesome,” Garcia said. “It was definitely an upgrade and we saved paper.”
Mulligan felt it was the right time to try out the online voting since the candidates were running unopposed.
“It was a good year to try it out and it turned out to be a very smooth process,” Mulligan said.
After casting their votes, the students were left with an opportunity to leave comments, whether positive or negative.
“I’m very excited,” Mulligan said. “No one said anything negative.”
Mulligan said students commented about how simple the process was and how they liked it better than the paper voting.
“The process was very simple and I don’t see any reason not to continue with [online voting],” Mulligan said.
The problems facing this year’s ASULV board are problems students have been worried about for many years. Tuition increase, the outdated dorm rooms and the problems regarding Davenport Dining Hall are all matters the new administration will have to deal with.
But these are not the only problems Balderrama and Sloot want brought to their attention.
“If it’s a small issue like ‘the toilet paper sucks here’ let us know,” Sloot said. “A small issue could be turned into something bigger because more people have may have a problem with it. Just come to us.”
Elsie Ramos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.