Student Senate, ICC move to online campaigning

The Student Senate is one of two student organizations who have moved to online campaigning processes, with campus being closed due to COVID-19.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, classes are not the only thing moving online. Campaigning processes for Interclass Council (ICC) and the Student Senate, traditionally done in-person, are moving completely to social media platforms.

On the Senate side, there are 16 open general senate seats and one seat is open for student body president. Students running for the general spots typically need to collect 50 signatures from other students in order to run. Those running for open ICC spots usually have to collect the same number of signatures as well. With campus closed for the rest of the semester, this requirement has been removed.  

ICC Chair Haley Watt said the signatures are not an essential piece of the application process. Despite the new virtual circumstances, she does not think the dedication of those running will be lost. 

“What has always mattered and still matters is the student’s passion and intent for running,” Watt said.

Students candidates will utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to gain student support and encourage students to vote for them. When students sign up to run, they are required to submit the accounts they will be using, so the Election Committee can monitor all activity. Online campaigning will take place from March 25 to March 31.

Junior Tatevik Khachatryan, current Senate secretary and one of the three students running for student body president, has enjoyed gathering signatures in the past and thought it allowed a bridge to fill the gap between the Senate and the student body. But she is fine with the transition to online campaigning, saying it’s not difficult to post on social media platforms and candidates might be able to reach more people.

“I think we have to accommodate to what’s happening under the circumstances and I think this was a nice way of going online and going with the flow of what’s going on with the university,” Khachatryan said.

Current Student Body President Chris Costa said it will definitely be an interesting change but that people will still be able to get their names out to the students. Looking ahead, he is hopeful in regards to this method. 

“We want a positive campaigning process,” Costa said.

Sophomore Ava Wilkens is running for ICC Vice President for the Class of 2022. She said the Class of 2022 has multiple social media platforms such as its Facebook page and personal Instagram accounts, so they are able to effectively get the word out.

“The online campaigning is working out really well in my opinion because I feel like more and more people are seeing my flyer,” Wilkens said.

She added that students are likely checking their emails more for updates from online classes so she thinks more students may end up voting.

As of around 4 p.m on March 26, there were 12 people running for positions between Senate and ICC, according to Costa. Students will be able to vote on Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 2 through ballots sent to their RWU gmail accounts.