Student Government runs into low voter turnout

The St. Cloud State University Student Government elections have come and gone once again for the semester, deciding 16 senators at large and giving statistical insight to issues that reach every St. Cloud State student in the upcoming future.

Voter turnout fell short again, with an all time low this semester. When asked about voter turnout, Student Body President Lindsey Gunnerson said that the “lack of campaigning” was much of the reason why voter turnout was down.

“The lack of campaigning and visibility of all candidates really confused the student body, and it definitely hit us hard,” she said. “We hoped that our referenda would draw some additional voters, but it was not as successful as a tactic as we had hoped.”

With such low voter turnout, concerns for next year’s student government and the issues they will face are beginning to surface. Much of which can also be attributed to the lack of competitors, as well as only having one president and vice president team running in the elections.

“With such a low voter turn out, I fear the majority of our student population will not know who is representing them on Student Government. It will be a challenge, but I am confident that the new leadership will work hard and can get it done,” Gunnerson said.

Though voter turnout was down, the Student Government ballot did consist of many referenda items that will have an impact on the St. Cloud State community in the near future. The seven referenda items included:

1) Passing the New Constitution– an item that Student Government has been trying to pass for three years now.

2) Faculty Accountability– the ballot asked students if they believed faculty are held accountable, if they think the process for holding them accountable is working effectively, and if the process is actually understood and utilized on campus.

3) Metro Bus- the ballot asked about how often students utilized the metro bus system and what other services they use most.

4) Green Fee– the ballot asked if students wanted student goverment to look into the possibility of adding a fee that would promote sustainability initiatives on the St. Cloud State campus.

5) Special Events Fee– the ballot asked if students wanted student government to explore the possibility of adding a fee that would be directed to planning for big events, as well as national events on campus.

6) Middle Eastern Studies Program– the ballot asked if students thought this new program would promote diversity, and if they would be interested in enrolling in it.

7) New Add/Drop Policy– starting Fall 2015, students are required to add and drop classes within the first week of the semester, compared to having almost two weeks to make class changes. The ballot asked students if they supported this change.

With the newfound data from the referenda, Student Government will be able to start passing legislation in order to achieve implementation next year. However, in order to start implementing, the student body must get involved, which might still be a difficult task to achieve.

“We collected some really great data that can be relayed to administration to help them understand our current population of students. Additionally, the new senate has a lot of great data that will help them develop new initiatives and legislation,” Gunnerson said. “I am very excited to see what they can do with the results.”

Under new the new leadership of President Summer Vogl and Vice President Neil Manning, who both have two years of senate experience under their belts, hopes are high for a better term by Student Government in the next academic year.

“It will be a challenge, but I am confident that the new leadership will work hard and can get it done,” Gunnerson said.

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