ASWU Elections: Many candidates ran unopposed, but campus had high voter turnout

By Isaac Price

On Monday, April 11, the campus body voted to elect three new executives and nine new senators to the ASWU team for the 2022-2023 academic year. The results include Georgia Goff ’24 for president and Christian Aguilar ’24 for vice president. The finance director’s position moved to a runoff election on Thursday, April 14, between Emma John ’24 and Michael Stavridis ’25, and the results ended in favor of Stavridis.  

Elections were overseen by the student elections committee, this year including five current ASWU members: communications director Grant Hill, traditional events coordinator Sienna Buster, club coordinator Jamie Copeland, Oliver senator Grace Johnson, and Duvall senator Larkin Dean.   

A couple of things stood out about this spring’s elections. 

First, according to current ASWU Vice President Christopher Clay ‘22 who chaired the Student Elections Committee that oversaw the elections, fewer candidates applied to run this year compared to previous years. “In total we had around 20 [applicants]; . . . financial director, off campus senator, and Oliver senator all had competition,” Clay said. 

This led to multiple positions running unopposed, including president and vice president, which is especially unusual on the executive level. However, Clay emphasized that even so, the candidates that did enter are suited for the job. 

“One thing we can assure our campus of is that the people who ran unopposed are very passionate about ASWU; they have student leadership experience that will translate well into ASWU,” Clay said. 

Even with fewer applicants, voter turnout was higher than normal. This stemmed from ASWU’s strong efforts to engage differently with campus to get the student body more involved. 

“We held a raffle with Sodexo to show how elections work. . . we were also going to do snowcones in front of the HUB, however it was too cold so we decided to do hot chocolate and cookies in the HUB [instead].  . . . The engagement was definitely a lot more than expected,” Clay said. 

Importantly to Clay, this year’s team will share with next year’s team their experience with leadership during this uncertain time of COVID, which means they will know how to support students well. 

“We have a veteran styled leadership this year, with 14 graduating seniors; next year’s team is younger, but they already understand the logistical aspects of how ASWU has operated as a whole, and they will be able to meet the direct experience of students on campus because they have had that exact experience,” Clay said. 

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