2017 WLU Student’s Union election prep begins

File photo by Andreas Patsiaouros
File photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

With the American presidential race winding down, Wilfrid Laurier University must now look ahead to their own upcoming election season. The Laurier student elections are held across campuses every new year, when the student body is given the opportunity to elect their own Students’ Union president, as well as the members of the Students’ Union board of directors, the members of the senate and the student representatives on the university board of governors.

While elections have been held typically during the first week of February over a two day period, the decision was made to both move ahead the voting date, as well as to stretch voting out over a three-day span. This will occur on January 24, 25 and 26.

“The University of Waterloo FEDS [Federation of Students] did a poll with their students and found out what weeks they were the least busy, and so they said that week three and week four were the least busy before they get into midterms, so we said ok let’s do week four,” said Elizabeth Thompson, assistant returning officer with the Students’ Union.  “We’re hoping to get a better audience and my thoughts are if you have time to do fun things in the first week of school, you have time to vote.”

As a result of the earlier voting dates, the deadline for nominations was additionally changed, with it falling this year on January 9, the first Monday of the winter semester.

This will ensure that candidates retain their two week campaign period prior to voting, the primary method by which students gather the information necessary to choose where to place their vote.

To accommodate these changes, information sessions are being held throughout the months of November and December in order to allow students the chance to prepare their campaigns, though there will also be a set held in the winter semester.

“We have two info sessions on the 3 and 4 [of January] at 10 p.m., but hopefully by having them in November and December, as well, more people will want to participate,” said Nick DeSumma, chair of the board and chief governance officer of the Students’ Union.

“So, over the Christmas break they at least have it on their mind and come January they’re set to go or know what they’re thinking in that process.”

We want to get more personal engagement from the people currently in those positions, to see if that’ll be able to help out.

-Nick DeSumma, chair of the board and CGO of the Students’ Union

The information sessions are additionally of greater importance this year, as the decision was made to eliminate the usual training sessions due to low candidate turn-out and instead incorporate training information into the information sessions. The Students’ Union is hoping to continue on last year’s trend of an increased number of board of directors’ candidates by seeing an increase in the number of candidates in every category by placing a greater onus on current members to make themselves accessible to students who are considering running.

“We want to get more personal engagement from the people currently in those positions, to see if that’ll be able to help out,” said DeSumma. “Hopefully with that personal connection, it allows more people to want to run.”

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