With student senate elections currently under way, the Weber State University Student Association is encouraging students to get involved on campus and vote for their WSUSA student senators.
Andrew Gardiner, WSUSA student body president, said he would like to see a much higher turnout of student voters.
“It’s preparing us for the future,” Gardiner said. “This is exactly how it’s going to be in our communities when we’re living with our families and friends; we elect our neighbors and our peers, those who we trust to represent us and take care of us.”
Gardiner said historically, the percentage of WSU students who vote in the senate elections is around 5-6 percent.
“It’s sad,” Gardiner said, “because that just tells you that people really don’t care who represents them. I do, and I like to have a say.”
Aaron Newman, the director of leadership education and associate director for Student Involvement and Leadership, said the role on campus is to be the primary voice for the student body with faculty and administration, and that students should vote and get involved to make sure their voices are heard.
“The students have a strong responsibility to their constituents to really know what are the concerns, where are the issues, and to bring that forward,” Newman said.
Newman said finding students to run for student senate varies from year to year, but the institution of the program at WSU is important to the WSU community.
Not only are students being encouraged to vote, but also get involved and run for WSUSA senator positions where available. Some of the candidates are running unopposed, and currently three student senate spots have no candidates whatsoever — the Pacific Islander students senator, the American Indian students senator and the graduate students senator.
“Some years we’ve got a lot of people for different constituencies, and other years it’s hard to find people,” Newman said. “It is a time commitment. I mean, you’re giving up pretty much your Mondays and Wednesdays, if you think about it. So the students that do run tend to be very dedicated to what they’re wanting to do. And the senate’s had a good reputation of really hitting home that look — you’re here to serve the students, not to rule the students.”
Newman said it’s still important for elections to be held, even in instances where the candidates are running uncontested.
“It’s one of those things that gives legitimacy, even in seats that are uncontested,” Newman said. “The last thing we want is for someone to walk in and become a senator. We want to see them have a little work for it.”
Students interested in more information about WSUSA can contact the Student Involvement and Leadership Office at 801-626-6349 or visit the office in Room 326 of the Shepherd Union Building.