Student elections wrap up with improved voter turnout

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A new Associated Students (AS) executive board was appointed by the student body over the course of this past week, with only about 3.1 percent of students voting in the election.

As the voice of the student body, AS is responsible for representing students, both in shared governance and to the administration. They put on events, host workshops and provide services that add to every student’s individual campus experience.

In order to qualify for membership, a candidate was required to have already completed at least 12 units, maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average, be enrolled in good academic standing and currently be enrolled in at least nine units.

After last year’s voter turnout of a mere 400 students out of about 28,000 students, Dean of Student Life Rebecca Cobb and Student Affairs Advisor Carrie Afuso hoped to inspire more students to vote through outreach by way of clubs and organizations, as well as through social media.

We usually have anywhere between 500 to 1000 students cast their votes,” said Afuso. This year is exciting because most of the positions are contested. When that happens more students usually vote.”

Voting took place on May 24 and 25 via a link sent out to the student body over e-mail. This year there were 930 total votes cast in total, an overall increase from last year’s AS election.

Current Vice President of Cultural Diversity Kiely Lam will serve as next year’s AS President after running unopposed and will become the only member of the new board to have prior experience as an AS board member.

“[As president,] I’m really excited to see the new energy and dynamic the new board will have,” said Lam. “All the candidates have such high hopes, energy and goals for their positions and I am excited to see how it will translate in their work and to the students.”

Other elected (and unopposed) board members are Executive Vice President Christopher Morales, V.P. for Student Services Dominic Ypil and Yulian Zhang for V.P. for Campus Activities.

“I feel very optimistic about our newly elected board,” said Morales. “Everyone on our team has a unique personality that will effectively contribute to our common goal of serving the student body. We are truly goal-oriented and I believe that we will be successful towards everything we strive for.”

As for the contested positions, the results are as follows:

  • Jude Khatib, V.P. for Academic Affairs
  • Gabrielle Guo, V.P. for External Affairs
  • Yahia Haggag, V.P. for Cultural Diversity
  • Tara Agahi, V.P. for Sustainability
  • Alejandro Chavez, V.P. for Business Affairs
  • Adrian Casillas, Chief Justice of the Supreme Council
  • Emily Ekshian, Student Trustee

Candidates had two weeks prior to the election in order to campaign on behalf of themselves and the slates that they belonged to, either Lancers for Liberty or United Students for Equity.

“The biggest thing [in terms of campaigning] was reaching out to students in a way where they wouldn’t feel annoyed or pressured into listening to us speak,” said Lam. “While campaigning, I felt that it was crucial to meet people face to face and talk, rather than focusing most of our stuff on social media. On social media, it’s easy to pick and choose what you want to direct your attention too but in person, it’s a different story. In the end though, a lot of the students really appreciated that we took our time to get to know them.”

Lam plans to focus on college affordability and promoting equity on campus over the next academic year and urges her fellow newly-elected board members to keep these goals in mind when advocating for students, planning events and engaging the campus.

I hope and anticipate that the incoming board will continue to serve PCC students with the same commitment, enthusiasm and integrity,” said Afuso.

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