The CSB and SJU senates both reveived their highest voting turnouts in history with a total of 948 Johnnies and about 850 Bennies participating.
“I think this year we had really good, qualified candidates,” SJU Senate President Ramond Mitchell said.
Not only were there a high number of student voters but there were also a high number of candidates; 39 candidates ran for St. John’s Senate and 25 candidates ran for St. Ben’s Senate.
“PR was really big this year. Our PR Rep. really stepped it up this semester and took a lot of initiatives to get stuff both on social media, through email and on campus,” CSB Senate President Elizabeth Erickson said. “I think we really had an exciting group of women that spread the word.”
One of the things that candidates have been using more and more as a campaign strategy is the use of social media.
“I tried to use social media and use it to my advantage,” SJS Student Activities Representative Arturo Viera said, who will be new to senate this upcoming school year.
Last year, SJS provided an informational session with tips on how to campaign for elections and what it means to be on student senate. This year, SJS decided to continue that session in order to boost votes and it shows in their voting numbers. Voter turnout on Election Day have only been increasing since 2011. Last year, SJS had a 48 percent voting turnout with this year coming up at 55 percent. That is a seven percent increase from 2016-2017 SJS elections. Last year, SBS had about a 41 percent turnout. This 44 percent of Bennies voted in the election—about a three percent increase.
“It would be really fun if we made senate elections kind of like a really big deal, kind of like how the president elections are a really big deal,” Mitchell said.
The CSB and SJU senates are atypical in comparison to other universities student governments.
“It’s a different perspective that I have a counterpart and another president to lean on which I think is really unique and I think it also increases transparency,” Erickson said.
Some ideas that SJS has in mind for next year is putting up voting booths for students to come by and vote during passing. SBS plans to hold a nomination process that allows students to nominate a potential candidate to run for senate in order to increase in number of candidates.
“This was a really good competition and we are really proud that we were able to be in the history of so many students voting,” Viera said.
The CSB and SJU senates only hope to increase in their number of votes and candidates as they work on visibility and awareness in order to provide students with a meaningful college experience.