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Students show little interest during ASMSU election week




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James madison sophomore Kaitlyn Beyer texts while manning a voting booth during the ASMSU carnival April 7, 2013, in a parking lot adjacent to the Breslin Center. The carnival was hosted in order to encourage undergraduate students to vote for the general assembly candidates. Danyelle Morrow/The State News



It’s been a rough week, and even ASMSU can’t deny it.

Between low turnout at a $25,500 carnival and the cancelation of the Ne-Yo concert, MSU’s undergraduate student government’s election week — meant to promote the group and engage students — didn’t go as planned.

“I think that the week has been a cumulation of a lot of planning and hard work on ASMSU’s end, and it didn’t turn out as we might of hoped or expected,” ASMSU Director of Public Relations Haley Dunnigan said.

The student government kicked off their general assembly election voting Sunday morning by hosting a spring carnival with six different rides, but there was a low turnout for the event. The organization was ridiculed on The State News’ comment boards for the lack of students that attended the event, with one commenter noting, “Just watch the video! Where are the students!! I saw more carnival workers then students.”

ASMSU Event Planning Manager Rebecca Ruhlman estimated about 250-300 students attended the event throughout the day.

ASMSU was allocated $25,500 to provide the spring carnival to students, with ticket prices listed at $10 per person for unlimited rides.

The group ran into another speed bump, deciding to cancel the Ne-Yo and Hot Chelle Rae concert originally planned for Thursday. ASMSU announced via its Twitter account on Tuesday afternoon that, because of low ticket sales, the group decided it would be best for the concert to be cancelled.

ASMSU was allocated $250,000 for the concert at a Feb. 21 meeting to boost awareness of elections and get ASMSU’s name out to the community.

Dunnigan said students will receive their money back for the tickets and is unsure how much money the organization will lose from the concert falling through. Dunnigan said it does not appear the group will lose the entire sum for the concert. However, the group will lose money they spent marketing the event.

With ASMSU receiving negative comments toward the student government’s latest events, ASMSU President Evan Martinak released a statement signifying the organization is in place to serve the undergraduate students the best way they know how to do.

“ASMSU consists of over 100 students who are dedicated to bettering the undergraduate experience at Michigan State,” Martinak said in a statement. “We exist solely to serve the student population and will act in the best interest of undergraduates in the best way that we know how. If you don’t like it, get involved.”

Marketing freshman Lena Jensen said she wasn’t pleased to hear about the past week, but had to accept ASMSU’s choices.

“I’m frustrated that’s where the money is going,” she said. “But I don’t have any ideas for other things they can use it for.”

ASMSU elections will continue until April 15, when voting will close at 8 a.m. The organization has made it clear that receiving a high-voter turnout is important. But Dunnigan said the negative week isn’t causing ASMSU to put any more or less emphasis on high-voter turnout than in previous years.

“Voter turnout and elections has always been important for ASMSU because we need student input,” she said. “No matter what year it is, voter turnout is important. I don’t think because of the last week it is any more important.”


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