September 28, 2020

By CARMEN PONCIANO

_MG_5739It’s that time of year again where student candidates have handed in their Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI) board packages and are preparing themselves for the board of director elections that run from March 23 to April 3. It is an exciting time as students have the opportunity to interact with the candidates and vote for the ones they think will best represent them.

Candidates were required to hand in their packages, which consisted of 100 signatures showing student support and a transcript stating that the applicant had at least a 70 per cent program average, by March 13. Last year CSI broke a record by having 15 students run for the seven director positions as well as having one of its highest voter turnout (eight per cent which is about 900 students).

This year a new record was set. Sixteen students returned their packages out of the 30 who picked one up.

“I am really excited for this year’s election,” said Alfred Karatha, CSI primary electoral officer. “This shows that students are well aware about the elections and that there’s an eagerness to participate and voice student concerns.”
However, despite the increase in voter turnout over the last couple of years, it is still a challenge that CSI faces every year.

“It’s a mix of students not caring, not being aware and not having the time,” said Jeff Scherer, CSI president.

Having said that, this year CSI will be changing the voting process a little bit. In addition to online voting, they are also going to offer ballot voting to try and eliminate some of the concerns raised last year. In 2014 some students did not receive CSI emails about voting because they didn’t check their Conestoga email account, while others unsubscribed from receiving CSI emails.

“What we are looking at is having an advance polling day and a polling day during voting week,” Scherer said.

To increase student awareness, CSI’s current board of directors set up a table in the F-wing to engage students and talk about the board of director elections as well as hand out election flyers. An election video has also been playing in the CSI spaces where students congregate to further raise awareness about the elections.

“Our communication team is doing a wonderful job of letting students know about the elections through our website and also via social media,” Karatha said.

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