By Jay Roberson
As the semester comes to a close, the Student Government Association (SGA) is holding elections to appoint new officers for the 2023-2024 academic year. In recent years, these elections were held virtually with students being able to vote through BroncNation. This year things are changing as in-person voting sessions were held on April 3 and 4, with upcoming days scheduled for April 6, 7 and 12, in addition to the traditional online format.
Senior political science major and SGA President Andrew Bernstein spoke about past elections and why SGA took measures to place voting in person rather than just online.
“Especially the year of COVID and coming out of COVID, I think it was more so just encouraging people to go on BroncNation, which is effective. But I think it’s better when you have that physical presence to make it more fun,” Bernstein said. “People want to be able to feel like they’ve contributed rather than just going on the computer and signing on and being done with it.”
Sophomore political science major and Sophomore Class Council Vice Chair Christina Natoli explained that in the past there were big voting turnouts, but since the switch to online, it hasn’t been the same.
“I believe that there was a pretty big in-person voting presence, like pretty far back in the past. But then for convenience, SGA switched to only putting voting on BroncNation,” said Natoli. “I think the motivation to change to, or at least to provide an in-person option to diversify the options students have and make them feel more involved in the voting process.”
Throughout the voting period, SGA will be in different locations that students frequent most often. On April 6 students will be able to vote in Cranberry’s from 12:30-3:30 p.m., on April 7 voting will be open in the Student Recreation Center (SRC) from 11:00 a.m.-1 p.m. Lastly, students will be able to cast their ballots at Daly Dining Hall on April 12, the final day voting is open, from 3-4 p.m.
Since students tend to get busy at the end of the semester and forget about elections, SGA is hoping that the physical placement of voting booths will encourage participation.
“If they haven’t heard about it, you know, going on BroncNation, or a friend or a classmate, they’ll see us, or have to run into us and be like ‘Maybe I do want to do that,’ whereas before, they might not have heard about it,” said Bernstein.
Another way that SGA is making voting more fun and interactive is by giving out pins and pens to students who vote in person.
“This at least provides them a little bit of outlet to physically do it and then once they do we have like SGA ‘I voted’ pins and little pens and all that. It’s going to get more engaging hopefully and more exciting,” Bernstein said.
Junior film and television major Jacob Serrano emphasized how important it is for students to recognize SGA’s role on campus and why their vote matters.
“When we go back into the past and think about things we’ve upgraded like facilities and the SRC, those are things that SGA has done. Create the Zen Den, we do actual work here on campus,” Serrano said. “I think it’s important that students know that it’s not just a position … Once you’re in [SGA] you have a voice.”
Natoli noted that she is excited for students to get more involved in the voting process and hopes that students see SGA’s presence is important on campus.
“Something that I’m personally excited about is not only to get more students to vote, but also to show like the legitimacy of the election and of SGA,” Natoli said. “I hope that the in-person voting is an option that stays with students.”