Incoming Student Association Board elected, referendum passes with record turnout from student voters

The Student Association (pictured above) has just found its 2019-2020 Student Association Executive Board. Students voted in favor of the referendum. Turnout reached 33.8%, which is significantly higher than previous years(Catherine White/Editor-in-chief)

The Student Association (pictured above) has just found its 2019-2020 Student Association Executive Board. Students voted in favor of the referendum. Turnout reached 33.8%, which is significantly higher than previous years(Catherine White/Editor-in-chief)

In last week’s elections for the Student Association Referendum and the Student Association Executive Board, the Geneseo student body had a record-setting voter turnout rate. In previous years, Geneseo struggled to get a 20% voter turnout rate; this year, 33.8% of the study body participated in the election. 

The record-breaking turnout rates in this year’s election can be attributed to improved interface for students to vote with. Senior Corey Wilkinson discussed the updated election software that made the voting process easier for students. 

“We purchased software for Simply Voting … that allowed us to have a website interface which was very easy to navigate,” Wilkison said. “Students just had to do a single sign-on with their Geneseo account and the ballot was right there.” 

In previous years, students could only access the ballot through an email that was sent to them individually, making them unable to participate if they deleted the email. 

Wilkinson elaborated on the Student Association’s outreach efforts.

“Previously, we relied on posters and emails and tabling and this year we stepped it up with a social media presence and events,” Wilkinson said. 

SA Director of Public Relations Rohan Bhuchar created a Public Relations committee to help aid in the outreach efforts. Before the election, the committee was tasked with creating a referendum video that called upon various student-run organizations on campus. 

“I wanted to bring [the video] more to the organizations and the people and take it from being quantitative to qualitative because … people will care more if they can feel it more,” Bhuchar said. 

In the days following the election, the new Student Association Executive Committee has been preparing for their new roles on campus by looking for ways to solve some of the campus’s most pressing issues. Junior Adam Hansen, the incoming Student Association President, emphasized the importance of transparency.

“I think transparency is our biggest issue right now, not only for the Student Association, but the campus as a whole,” Hansen said. 

Sophomore Bailey Chapin, the incoming SA Director of Inter-Residence Affairs, has been working with his incumbent, junior Emily Matura, by discussing plans to improve on-campus relations, specifically within Student Life.

“We want to continue to get feedback from RAs and see what we can do working with Student Life to aid in that,” Chapin said.

Chapin hopes to increase advocacy for RAs on campus by working toward creating an Inter-Resident Council-style representation system for RAs in which representatives can gather and discuss issues they are experiencing within residence halls and the overall efforts conducted by Student Life. 

Hansen shared some ideas he had about improving the Student Association’s communication to the student body.

“Some of the plans I have right now [are] revising our website ... a lot of students who are not on campus don’t necessarily know what we are doing on a day-to-day basis,” Hansen said. “Just increasing transparency as a whole can never hurt us [and] can only help us. I think that that will improve the trusting relationship with the average student and the Student Association. 

News editor Kara Burke contributed reporting to this article.

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