Student Elections Committee prepares for 2017 ASWU Elections

Austriauna Brooks | Staff Writer

With general elections coming up April 11, each candidate prepares for their campaign with posters and reminding people to vote for them. Behind the scenes the Student Elections Committee (SEC) is a committee that enforces regulation for candidates to follow during their campaigns.

The SEC is a student run committee composed of three Associated Students of Whitworth University (ASWU) assembly members, four students from the student body and the chair who is the executive vice president, Norma Heredia. The SEC is open to anyone except for students who plan to campaign for any ASWU executive or assembly office.

The job of the SEC is to conduct all elections. Conducting these elections includes establishing the elections timeline, developing campaign guidelines, approving campaign materials and counting votes according to the ASWU website under the bylaws. They are also responsible for handling issues or violations that may occur during campaigns.

Senior Breanna Lyons is the president of ASWU. Before she was president, she was a dorm senator and a member of the SEC until she started campaigning for a special events coordinator. Seeing how hard the candidates work during the campaigning process brought a new respect for the candidates and their dedication in pursuing their position, Lyons said.

Students may not be involved with student government in general because of time constraints and being involved with other communities, Lyons said. She believes students should join the SEC if they want to help with the election process instead of running for a position.

“The SEC could be seen as a way to be a part of a piece of student government without having to commit to a full year,” Lyons said. “They are only called soon during the two election cycles, but play a very important part in monitoring the integrity and fairness of the elections.”

Sophomore Maddie Gregory is the senator of Ballard and heard about the SEC. Being a biology and pre-med major is time-consuming but she joined the SEC because she loves being involved by giving back to the student body and ASWU, she said.

Gregory’s favorite part about being a member of the SEC is seeing candidates become senators for the next year. When it all comes down to it, senators informing the students about the candidates is an important factor for the students to know who they want to represent their voice, Gregory said.

"We really rely more on the [student] interactions through the senators,” she said. “People tend to respond better when you talk to them in person."

Junior Norma Heredia, who is also the ASWU executive vice president, thinks being in the public sphere and allowing student voices to be heard increases growth and opens up an individual. Heredia and her colleagues encourage senators to seek out members of the Whitworth student body as possible candidates for upcoming elections.

"It takes our leadership members to encourage the hidden talents that's out there," Heredia said. “It's a group effort. If the team is excited, the school will see that."

The SEC is a preview of what it takes to be a part of student government and being on the SEC is not easy because it makes individuals make decisions in a timely manner, Heredia said.

“It forces you to be on your toes 24/7,” she said. “This job really makes you think about rules and policies to implement before they happen. By putting ourselves in a position like this, it is allowing each and every one of us to use a skill that can always be expanded upon.”

If you have interests in joining the SEC, contact Norma Heredia at nheredia18@my.whitworth.edu.

Contact Austriauna Brooks at abrooks17@my.whitworth.edu

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