ASU’s Undergraduate Student Government is developing a new approach that will utilize social media and individualized emails to get the student body more involved in undergraduate politics.
The initiative is in response to the number of USG members who have run uncontested or were appointed to their positions.
Wayne Unger, elections commissioner for Associated Students of Arizona State University Elections Department, said previous election committees have done good work, but there is room for improvement.
“This year’s approach is multifaceted,” Unger said. “Hopefully we can recruit more and better candidates.”
ASASU oversees the elections of the four campus undergraduate student governments as well as the Graduate and Professional Students Association. The applications for this year’s elections have been released, and elections will be held April 3 and 4.
“The effort we are in right now is recruiting candidates as best we can,” Unger said. “After which, our elections committee will get more people to vote.”
Unger said ASASU is studying previous elections and hoping to keep what has been effective while placing a greater emphasis on resources such as social media and mass emails.
“The message we really want to convey is, at the end of the day, it is ultimately your voice, your vote and your school,” Unger said.
ASU Chief of Staff Destry Fields said fault with the election process does not sit with ASASU but with potential applicants.
“If you want to run for a student government position, and you can’t even fill out the paperwork, then maybe you aren’t qualified,” Fields said.
Fields said many USG members run uncontested because a large number of applicants get disqualified for incorrectly filling out the application paperwork.
“It’s frustrating that we’re discounting what these student leaders are doing when they decided to run and did everything right,” Fields said.
Fields said the college councils that represent specific colleges at ASU should take responsibility and encourage members of their college to become more active in USG.
“The next best thing that could happen is college councils could start holding debates,” Fields said. “I also would like to see college councils advertising for elections more.”
Communications sophomore Eric Salwasser said USG has not done a good enough job reaching out to students at ASU. He could not name any members of USG nor did he know when elections would take place.
“If they had a table by the MU, and if I had time, I would go talk to them and people would be more interested,” Salwasser said.
Salwasser lives off-campus this year but said even when he lived on campus as a freshman, he was unaware of events relating to USG.
“Just looking back at my freshman year, I didn’t see any signs or anything,” he said.
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Editor’s note: Wayne Unger is a member of ASU’s Student Media Advisory Board, which oversees The State Press. He was not involved with the reporting or editing of this story.