Keene State College student government is struggling to get first-years to submit petitions to run for office. The class of 2022 is currently in need of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and four class representatives that will sit on assembly. All positions are up for election.
Student government had Vice President for Student Affairs Kemal Atkins sent an email to the student body on Friday October 19 encouraging students to consider the open positions. Attached to the email was the petition that interested students would need to fill out for election.
Chair of the Student Government Elections Committee and KSC junior Sarah Willson said it’s a mystery as to why interest is down among first-year students this year.
“I’m not really sure why. In the past we’ve done the involvement fair and that’s been enough to get people interested enough to apply. We’ve put it out on Facebook, Instagram and I’ve emailed petitions to certain people who said they were interested,” Willson said.
Willson joined student government her first year. As for why she originally joined and has decided to stay involved, she said, “I think it’s a really good mix of organizing things like dances and student events, and also okay-ing policies and budget reviews. It’s a good way to get involved in a different side of campus you don’t normally see. You get to have a say in things that happen to the College.”
Recently, one first-year student has begun petitioning for the Secretary position. KSC first-year and history and secondary education major Lydia Mardin said she is running for Secretary because she wants to help give the class of 2022 a voice, and because she has always had an interest in politics.
As for why her fellow classmates aren’t running for political positions alongside her, Mardin believes it is due to a few different factors.
“I think that freshmen aren’t running right now because, plain and simple, there is a lack of interest. I also think it might have to do with the fact that most of us are new to the area and are nervous to put ourselves out there,” Mardin said.
According to Mardin, the recent polarizing political climate in America may also be creating the lack of first-years in student government.
“Given the midterms and state elections coming up in early November, I believe most people my age aren’t running because they want to distance themselves from government. Our country as a whole is very divided right now, and I think this also rings true on campus,” Mardin said.
However, running for student government has benefits for first year students, according to Willson. “For me, it really helped me meet people outside of people I had already met. It’s a great way to make connections and get to organize events for your classmates. Any way you can get involved on campus is always great,” Willson said.
Whatever the reason may be that first-years aren’t rushing to join student government, Willson said that the petitions are able to be passed in until 4 P.M. on Monday, October 29 on the third floor of the Student Center.
Sydney Olson and Sarah Dugas did not respond for comment.
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