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Campaign season begins for Illinois Student Government

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Campaign season begins for Illinois Student Government

The Illinois Student Government meets in the Pine Room in the Illini Union.

The Illinois Student Government meets in the Pine Room in the Illini Union.

Patrick Li

The Illinois Student Government meets in the Pine Room in the Illini Union.

Patrick Li

Patrick Li

The Illinois Student Government meets in the Pine Room in the Illini Union.

By Gillian Dunlop, Staff Writer

Spring turnover is quickly approaching for University student government organizations, and as potential candidates start filing paperwork, the recently enacted student government constitution is changing up campaign methods.

Previously, the Illinois Student Senate president was elected by the senators. But with the creation of the Illinois Student Government, and the new constitution, the president will be elected directly by the students.

“It’ll force the candidates to really engage more with the students,” Spencer Haydary, student government chief of staff said. “Before they’d lobby a certain amount of senators to vote for them.”

Additionally, the president and vice president candidates will be running on the same ticket.

“(The president and vice president) will be a joint force now,” Haydary said. “And (being popularly elected) is going to make the candidates really focus on the issues for the student body.”

Although candidates for president and vice president of the Illinois Student Government have many campus issues to address, Haydary believes they will stick to a few key ones.

“(I believe they’ll focus on) pretty much the issues that have constantly been going around this campus,” he said. “Mental health, sexual assault, state budget and probably with the recent election, some initiatives about uniting a divided campus.”

Sarah Banducci, chair of Campus Student Election Commission, thinks that there is not one type of candidate that students are looking for.

“I don’t think there is one ‘ideal candidate’ for any of these positions,” Banducci said in an email. “The biggest thing is to be passionate and committed to seeing positive change on campus.”

For any student wishing to be a part of student government, there are more steps to campaigning than making a poster. Students need to collect enough signatures on a petition before they are officially on the ballot. Anyone seeking to be a senator needs about 50 signatures while anyone wishing to be president or vice president needs 150.

Two applications will be going on simultaneously. One is for the Illinois Student Government and the other is for the  Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus, which is comprised of both students and faculty.

Although there is only one president and vice president within the student government, there are multiple positions for senators. Each senator represents a different college within the University. The number of senators for each college depends on the size of the college.

Voter turnout is usually low, with around 2,000 signatures, but both Banducci and Haydary are hoping to see a spike this year, Banducci said.

“I think (voter turnout) will be high, because you’re going to have the president and vice president going around campus,” Haydary said.

The number of candidates varies from college to college.

“Right now we have two tickets completing petitions for the president and vice president offices,” Banducci said. “For senate positions, some colleges are always more competitive than others so it could be one, it could be 10.”

Voting will be held online during March 8 and 9.

“It’s always exciting to be on this side of an election,” Banducci said. “There are a lot of moving parts behind the scenes so it keeps us busy. It’s inspiring to see so many students proactively seeking out leadership positions at the University.”

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