It’s Election Season!
Well, of course it’s election season, but there’s more than one presidential election happening right now. I’m talking about the Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) elections, and we just elected our new President and Vice President of the student body, made up of around 6400 students.
As you can imagine, the process of running for the top positions in VSG is pretty extensive and elaborate. There are so many qualified students here who have spearheaded their student governments in high school, but at Vandy, the scale is so much bigger. I’m not even a part of VSG, but this organization is involved with nearly every aspect of student life at Vanderbilt that it is hard to not be invested in its election process, even as an outsider.
Before spring break, two tickets emerged: Ariana Fowler with Taylor Gutierrez as her running mate, and Jude Cohen with Andrew Brodsky. Ariana, Jude, and Andrew have been VUceptors, so I did know them from before, and I took a keen interest in this year’s VSG elections.
Campaigning began in full earnest right after spring break, and both sets of candidates released their detailed platforms to bring about improvements in VSG and showcase their vision for campus. As I mentioned before, VSG elections can be a very elaborate process because candidates need to engage with so many different facets of campus and connect with hundreds, if not thousands of undergraduate students. So both Ariana and Jude had well-structured campaign teams who worked passionately and meticulously to manage campaign meetings, publicity initiatives, and presidential debates.
It has been so rewarding to see the passion and commitment of the candidates and their teams. But it’s been even more rewarding to see the VSG elections open up a broader conversation about the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of student government on Vanderbilt’s campus. Some of the conversation was definitely not diplomatic, but it just goes to show how invested students are about their elected representatives, a sense of involvement which can also be seen on the national stage in the US presidential elections.
There was also a first-year team of Jack Newcomer and Dan Stefan from the class of 2019 running in the elections! It’s very unusual for first-years to run, but they did better than expected as write-in candidates. Kudos to them!
After two full weeks of campaigning, the elections were held yesterday and today, and with 61.4% of the votes, Ariana and Taylor were voted in as President and Vice President respectively for the 2016- 2017 academic year. I cannot wait to see them in action next semester!