At this school, there are over 30,000 students and on March 1, during the student government elections candidate forum, less than .1 percent of the students came to hear what their future leaders had to say.
Among planning events and coordinating guest speakers, the Executive Council is also the recommending body for the partitioning of student fees. While the Council does not have the absolute final say when it comes to the dispersing of the $12 million in student fees, they do offer the first recommendations in a chain, where final approval is made by the Board of Regents.
The would-be debate turned into Q-and-A, due to the fact that the running team, Team Innovate, had no opponents.
Chief Justice Nefi Acosta led the candidate forum, providing the incumbents with the opportunity for an opening statement and introductions.
Chris Loumeau was running for student body president with Sam Hadlock up for the position of executive vice president, David Millet running for vice president of academics and Joe Jurisic aspiring to vice president of student life.
“I am excited to work with this team; we’ve chosen the name Innovate because we, as a university and an organization, are in a unique situation,” Hadlock said. “We really have to be innovative in our solutions and the way we approach the issues on the table.”
After brief introductions, an overview of the team’s platform was presented, which included increasing attendance at speaker events, building school spirit through athletics and a push for students to learn the school’s fight song, improving the campus’s image through branding and adapting student life to a podcast.
Audience members then had the opportunity to turn in questions to be asked of Team Innovate. One question regarded what made Team Innovate the best team for the job, regardless of the fact that they were the only team running.
“We know how to fight for the students through years of experience,” Loumeau said.
When asked what sets UVU apart from other universities, Jurisic said, “I can grow a beard and wear shorts here.”
According to Hadlock, what sets UVU apart is the unique demographic and unique state it’s in. While the university status is new, the school has a long history, as it has been around for about 70 years.
“It feels fresh here,” Hadlock said. “People are coming here, there’s a good energy here and it’s a great opportunity and time, we are in a place where growth can be facilitated so much.”
Loumeau stated that it is the trust and power of the students that sets UVU apart.
“So much is run by the students, be it activities, be it with speakers or service events,” Loumeau said. “It’s been really amazing to see the trust that student government has; that’s really unique to us.”
On the academic side of things, according to Millet, it is the class sizes and quality of the education received that sets UVU apart.
When asked about the low turnout and the general lack of caring from students, Loumeau said that events overall had seen an increase in attendance.
Millet said the Council would work towards taking their passion and putting that into the students by being in the halls and passing out flyers.
According to Hadlock, the way to decrease apathy and make the university more active is by “being real.”
“We’re all feeling a sense of apathy today,” Hadlock said. “As I’ve stood in the halls this week … and as I’ve taken the time to sit and connect with the people I was talking to, things started changing, as I’ve been real with them and facilitated this market to discuss issues with the students. It starts with us, it starts with Joe, Chris, David and myself to facilitate a rapport, a connection with people and listening and being real.”