First-year candidates revving up for today’s SG elections

Candidates for College Council have run enthusiastic campaigns in bids for representative seats.

By Kate Shepherd

For the week of the College Council (CC) elections for the class of 2012, posters and fliers in support of first-year candidates plaster bulletin boards across campus. This year’s ballot includes the names of 15 candidates running for four first-year Council seats. Polls open online at the Student Government (SG) website at 9 a.m. today and will run until 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Although SG President Matthew Kennedy said that the number of first-year candidates running for CC this year reflects average candidate turnouts in previous years, SG Vice President for Administration Julian Quintanilla noted that this year’s election is marked by the exceptionally high number of candidates who are actively campaigning.

“Of the candidates on the ballot, a higher percentage of them appear to be running campaigns than in past years,” Quintanilla said.

Kennedy praised the candidates’ enthusiasm and their thoroughness in campaigning.

“I have been particularly impressed with the campaigns I have seen this year—their posters are professional and all over campus,” he said. “At the candidates’ meeting, they seemed eager to learn more about Student Government, and many have laid out specific interest areas in their candidate statements and on their posters.”

First-year candidate Michelle Boyd said that she decided to run for College Council during Orientation Week when she heard about the SG barbecue. Although Boyd was not involved in student government during high school, before matriculating at the University she held administrative positions in school clubs and in her community.

“It sounded like fun. SG seemed like a great way to become active in the school and everything that’s going on around campus,” she said.

“It’s a great way to meet other members of my class,” she said. “I’ve also been bringing it up in my classes and in the RSOs I’ve joined, telling people about my campaign and asking people for their votes.”

Alonso Diaz, another first-year College Council candidate, said he finds campaigning both enjoyable and challenging.

“I love meeting new people, and I love the rhetoric that is necessary to woo them to your side,” he said.

First-year candidate Sohrab Kohli said he has been considering participating in student government at the University level since high school.

“I was always involved with student organizations throughout high school, and I knew that I would do my best to get involved with student government in at least some form at whichever university I decided to attend,” he said.

After committing to the University of Chicago, Kohli hesitated to make a decision about running before he fully understood SG’s role on campus. Ultimately, he decided to run because he was impressed with SG’s function as liaison between students and the administration, he said.

While impressed with SG’s responsibilities and its funding allocation for campus RSOs, Kohli said that he believes there is always room for further improvement.

“We can always push for more effective spending, whether it is by facilitating better sharing of resources for RSOs or by more proficiently assessing the financial needs of the various projects,” he said.

Improving SG–sponsored social activities, coordinating more guest speaker events, and introducing services and programs to help students transition into college are issues he plans on working on if elected, he said.

There may be a lot of students running this year, but Kohli has run a solid campaign, he said. He hung up posters, introduced himself to his classmates, and listened to students’ concerns.

Boyd recruited a few friends to help her write chalk advertisements around campus and was looking forward to the meet-and-greet event Monday night at the Reynolds Club, she said.

Diaz has been using posters, handouts, buttons, and word of mouth to promote his campaign.

In a special election held for the class of 2010, third-year Yennie Lee beat out three other candidates to win a vacated representative seat at last week’s CC meeting. The special election was held to replace third-year representative Aaron Goggans, who withdrew from the University, Kennedy said.