Changes to Student Government Election Format

This year, the two teams running for student government will see a change that will impact their approach to campaigning — silent campaigning.

“Basically what we’re letting the teams do this year is let them put up 11″ x 17″ posters on the cork boards throughout campus and allow them to put up a website the week before their hard campaigning begins,” said Joseph Watkins, election committee chair and current Student Body President.

“What we want is to have a week-long period before the true campaign begins so students will see signs up and know that elections are coming,” Watkins added. “The purpose is to get a buzz going around.”

Watkins said that during the silent campaign, or the first week of elections, each team also has the opportunity to set up a website, use Facebook or any other electronic means to get the word out, including using email to inform students of their platforms.

This format differs from the past elections where each team had one solid week of campaigning from the time they put posters up to the time they announce the winning team.

The idea for the change came from a close look at how other Utah colleges and universities format their election procedures.

During the second week of the campaign, each team will begin hard campaigning. This includes large banners, pass-out cards and tables set up for each team to campaign from.

Watkins said that the changes will also give students a “heads up” that a debate will be taking place that week.

“The last few years, we have scheduled the debates the week before the actual elections week,” Watkins said. “This year we have decided to put it right in the middle.”

Monday will be the first day of campaigning. The debate is scheduled for Tuesday at noon at Center Stage in the Sorensen Student Center.

“I don’t know if you have ever been to a student election debate, but they are very sparsely attended,” Watkins said. “We want to change that because these are students will decide what the fees are, what policies will change; all sorts of important stuff and their platforms are important.”

Watkins added that their intention is to give students a reason to show up and let them know it coming.

“We are going to do publicity a couple weeks before,” he said. “We want to give both teams a chance to tell students about the debate.”

In addition to these changes, the elections committee has partnered up with EZ Burger, who will give away 300 burgers at the Tuesday debate.

“The main thing I would like to convey to students is to get out and vote.” Watkins said.

Students can vote using their UV Link Account, on campus or at home, Monday March 2 through Wednesday March 4.

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