By: Sasha Murphy
The Student Government Association’s elections closed with only a few hundred students at the voting polls.
The SGA candidates needed 500 votes from a student body population of 12,000 to secure their seats. However, the struggle to receive such a small number of votes had become an immense task.
The campaigning period – which ended April 26 – took Tuesday April 23 until Thursday April 26 Tuesday April 23 until Thursday April weeks of grueling outreach as candidates spent hours handing out flyers and talking to students.
The fruits of their labor lie on the voting results which are typically underwhelming, and this pattern begs the question of why Lehman students don’t vote.
“Being a part of the President’s Service Corps one of my jobs is to raise school spirit. I think that is what is missing here at Lehman. We lack school spirit,” said Kevin Nieves, a first time voter.
Lehman is not cultivating students’ interest in the voting process for several reasons; one of the problems being the lack of student awareness regarding the SGA.
This was the answer of several students when asked why they did not vote. In fact many students had not even heard of the SGA at all.
On the other hand, students who have previously voted typically did so because they knew the candidates. Monica M., a sophomore, said, “I only voted in a previous election because I was in a club with a friend who was running.”
Not all of the hours given to campaigning by candidates went unnoticed. Jeanette Cupid, a sophomore, has voted in two elections since her enrollment at Lehman. “I heard about this election from one of the candidates walking into one of my classes talking about it,” she said.
Finding ways to reach the vast student body can seem like a daunting task, though the new SGA elects have developed a platform and action plan as a start.
Denise Maldonado, a senator in the Student Legislative Assembly, said that she hopes that the platform that their slate is running on can make a difference in voting participation.
“We want to offer more support to evening, SEEK, freshman, and other underrepresented students,” Maldonado said. “Social media like Facebook and Twitter can help us reach out to students as well.”
The We Are Lehman slate platform addresses several ways to interact with the student body. Their platform includes creating transparency with online monthly performance reports, surveys, and increasing school spirit by creating a mascot, and hosting homecoming parties.
Events and personal interactions seem to be key in reaching more students for the new SGA.
The turnout for this year’s elections was bigger than last year. If the SGA wants to continue that pattern next election, more students need a better feel of what the SGA is, and what it does.
Students care and want to vote, but they need the means and accountability to do so.
“I vote because is it a good thing to have a say in decisions that affect our school,” said Cupid. “I’m sure more students would vote if they knew what the SGA did.”
Chief Financial Officer: Linda Paljevic
Research and Development: Syed Ahmed
Student Services Officer: Ayanna Alcid
Student Outreach Officer: Anthony rambarran
Technology and Design Officer: Donya Lewis
Vice-Chair of the Student Legislative Assembly:Madelyn Gil
Legislative Coordinator: Geovanny Arredondo