Following last spring’s Associated Students election, newly-elected student representatives were tasked with the job of filling the vacant positions of Executive Vice President, School of Business Senator and School of Education Senator of which no student ran for.
Appointed at the end of the spring semester, Kate Chavez, political science major, serves as Executive Vice President. Whether Associated Students will find any nominees for the remaining vacant seat remains unknown.
The current Executive Vice President was elected through an appointment process, involving an open application for all students on campus with advertisements urging students to apply online during the two-week application window. A committee consisting of Mercer, the Vice President of Finance and several other Associated Students representatives reviewed the resumes and decided on a candidate, to be nominated by the President and approved by the Associated Students Senate.
Some students think that the reason for multiple vacant positions may be pinned on a lack of enthusiasm in student government by the Sonoma State students, but Associated Students President Brandon Mercer believes that isn’t the case. According to Mercer, while the number of candidates decreased, voting participation is as strong as ever.
“It’s just a fluke this year that isn’t going to be repeated in the next couple years. It’s just an anomaly issue,” said Mercer.
However, the views of the students don’t necessarily match the views of the student government. When asked for his opinion on Associated Students, sophomore Danny Avery said, “I didn’t even know that they existed.”
On the other hand, many incoming freshman expressed excitement to see such an active student body and an eagerness to get involved. Many of these students had fond memories of leadership and student government in high school, invigorating a passion for student government that they wish to carry through college.
“I went to the student government meeting and ASP meeting and am looking to get involved,” said Freshman Carly Solberg who served class president of her high school. “The student government seemed very, very, active – a lot more active than high school.”
According to Mercer, Chavez stood out as a candidate due to her previous experience on the Executive Board of her Sorority and with Sonoma State’s Lobby Corps. In addition, she has been apart of several political campaigns, and according to Mercer, boasts a calm, yet innovative attitude.
The two other vacant seats, the School of Business Senator and the School of Education Senator, are expected be addressed in a similar fashion, with the same open application process as before. Any student can apply for these positions as of Sept. 2.
The only difference is that the internal affairs committee run by the Chair of the Senate will appoint the nominee rather than the president. Whether this process will be as successful as the Executive Vice President election process remains in the hands of the students and how many decide to apply.
Associated Students plans to avoid another drop in participation through their invigoration campaign: “make bold changes.” This campaign involves focusing on making huge impacts on students, such as reducing the price of student parking passes and reevaluating how the Green Music Center should get funded.
“I think we’re going to see this first semester, how [the campaign] grapples with students,” said Mercer. “But so far, my emails been blowing up the last few days with students that want to get involved, students that are seeing the Associated Students in a different light this semester and they want to be part of it.”
To apply for the vacant Associated Students position, students can visit orgsync.com/116121/chapter.