Election season has begun.
At least, at Weber State University, it has. On Feb. 22, the WSU Student Association deadline for candidacy packets passed, leaving 22 candidates up for eight positions in the Executive Branch. There are four candidates for WSUSA President for the 2019–20 academic year, including one who is currently a member of the executive and two student senators.
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Senator Jovany Bahena-Rosario and College of Business & Economics Senator Scott Lund are looking to take a step up from the legislative branch while Leadership Vice President Bret Alexander and Hispanic Area Council member Julio Otay are looking to succeed Jordan Slater.
For Slater, he sees the coming elections as a chance for the students to choose from a diverse pool of potential presidents with differing life and WSU experiences.
“I think there’s a huge learning curve for sure,” Slater said. “Mine was kind of little because I knew what I was doing going in, but I think it will be difficult for Jovany, Scott or Julio.”
Slater added Alexander will have the smallest learning curve because he’s currently serving in the executive. Slater said he will remain unbiased through the election process and has confidence in all four of the candidates to succeed him as leader of the student body.
Otay ran for Legislative VP after spending two years as the Hispanic Student Senator.
Bahena-Rosario served one year on the senate in his current position.
“I’m running because I want to make students feel Weber State is a home to them,” Bahena-Rosario said.
Bahena-Rosario has the support of Kaly Thompson, the College of Health Professions Senator, as well as Delta Chi Nu President Brooklyn Knight and members of several fraternities at WSU.
Lund started at WSU during the 2017–18 academic year after transferring from Utah State University. He became a senator in his second year. Lund has the support of Hispanic Student Senator Abdiel Vazquez and Nontraditional Student Senator Shalay Beenfield and said that one of his main focuses will be mental health.
He has spearheaded a bill in the senate that would add information about mental health services at WSU to campus syllabi. Lund would also want to elevate public awareness of the student government to the greater student body.
“I think we have so many students that would be excited to do things, but they don’t know about it,” Lund said. “I’ve talked to countless students who had no idea elections were coming up.”
Alexander brings the most experience of the candidates, with four years in student government. If elected, Alexander would be the first openly-gay WSUSA president. He also has the support of the three WSUSA presidents before Slater in Aulola Moli, Greg Woodfield and Cash Knight.
“I probably have more name recognition, but not significantly,” Alexander said. “Julio is famous on campus for being this non-trad superpower, and Jovany and Scott are actually my senators.”
While the four still have time to meet and strategize for the future, Lund and Alexander already met and discussed the possibility of serving in each other’s presidential cabinets should the other win the election.
As for getting out the vote, WSUSA is planning a social media push to make sure students are aware of the election.
Two current senators are angling for the Legislative VP role currently held by Minsum Choi. The candidates are College of Science Senator Kade Crittenden and Traditional Student Senator Brody Bailey. The Legislative VP serves as a member of the Executive Branch while acting as president of the Senate and leading the Legislature.
The only position in the executive branch with an unopposed candidate is the Clubs and Organizations vice president, where incumbent Katie Giddens is seeking a second year in the position.
“Truthfully, you never know what’s going to happen during elections week,” Giddens said. “Someone could run against you, and whether it’s write-in or not, it’s still someone running against you.”
The two candidates for Leadership vice president, Hannah Olsen and Raven Uribe, both have spent time within student government. Both candidates for Activities VP, Wyatt Walk and Michelle Thao, have already been on the activities team.
There are three students competing to become the Davis Campus vice president. They are Spencer Ramsey, Gustavo Medina and incumbent Heather Shaheen.
Four different candidates are up for the Service VP position and Diversity & Unity VP positions. The 22 candidates for executive positions are an increase from the 2018–19 academic year, where there were 19 candidates across the Executive Branch.
Elections for the Executive and Legislative branches will be held concurrently for the second straight year according to Suzy Flint, the Administrative Specialist for Student Involvement and Leadership.
According to WSUSA’s campaigning guidelines, there are strict rules all the candidates must adhere to. The main guidelines that affect the general student body regard the timing. Candidates will be allowed one week to campaign in person or on social media, beginning on March 11 and ending on March 15.
The presidential candidate debate is on March 11 at 11:30 a.m. in the Shepherd Union. Students will have two and a half days of voting, and the winners will be announced during Weber’s Got Talent.
Once the winners are announced, they have eight weeks to prepare for their new jobs before the end of the semester. Those who don’t hear their names called may have to figure out what to do more in the short-term.
“I have to schedule my crying time promptly after Weber’s Got Talent,”