Student Government Association election campaigning begins Feb. 6, with elections allowing students to choose their president, vice president and up to 30 senators.
“The president and vice president applications are out, so people are getting signatures to get their names on the ballot,” said Leah Aeby, the SGA chief of staff. “There will be no campaigning until all the signatures are turned in and the judicial branch clarifies that all the signatures are valid.”
Students must collect 40 signatures to get their name on the ballot for Senate, while the presidential positions require 200 signatures. Campaigning will run from Feb. 9, to March 6, and students will have from March 7, to March 12, to cast votes via email. Results will be released within 24 hours after ballots close.
Aeby said there is a $200 fund set aside that will be evenly distributed among campaigning individuals. Candidates are not allowed to use outside funds so each individual is on an “even playing ground.”
“People are often worried about money, and I don’t think money makes the campaign,” Aeby said. “I think that it’s all about what you have to say.”
SGA President Chris Slattery explained the job of SGA president involves working with administration to see how state issues affect students.
“The budget dropped on Tuesday, so we’re trying to figure out how to explain it to students while getting feedback from them,” Slattery said.
Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal including the $300 million biennium budget cut to the University of Wisconsin System is one of the many situations that require on-the-fly decisions in these leadership roles.
Aeby and Slattery agree that the main quality they hope to see out of future representatives is a commitment to the students.
“It’s important to make sure students are being heard,” Slattery said. “As a representative, you will also have to be comfortable sitting in a meeting with Chancellor Patterson and Al Thompson, people who run the university, and be able to pipe up about pressing issues.”
Slattery suggests all students go to SGA’s website to explore the governing documents of the university and ensure a basic understanding of parliamentary procedure.
“To be a successful executive, you need to be passionate about finding solutions to the different issues on campus,” Slattery said. “You are going to become engrossed with every single aspect of this university.”