Elections for the Associated Students of Michigan State University’s 2019-20 General Assembly — the student government’s 56th session — closed on Monday with a total of 2,951 votes, the highest turnout there has ever been during a non-tax voting year.
Along with the high voter turnout, there was also a record number of General Assembly, or GA, candidates on the ballot — totaling at 45, ASMSU Undergraduate Elections Commission Chair Johanna Pendley said.
“I think this year, we did a better job of educating students beforehand (on) what they would be voting on and getting the information out there sooner,” ASMSU marketing director Anna Waldron said. “When elections came around, they understood better what it was and they were prepared that it was coming.”
Last spring, roughly 3.8% of the undergraduate student population voted in elections for ASMSU’s 2018-19 session. This percentage increased to about 7.5% this year, according to a State News analysis.
Waldron attributes the improvement in this year’s voter turnout to the organization’s marketing strategies.
Tabling events, yard signs and posters were displayed around campus, Waldron said. The undergraduate student government also made a video with men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo encouraging students to vote for their college representatives in the elections, as well as other advertisements that were shared through social media. An email was also forwarded to the entire undergraduate student body with voting information.
“With all of those things together, you couldn’t really get away from it,” Waldron said. “Whether you voted or not, you knew elections were happening.”
Pendley also attributed the increase in turnout to the attention ASMSU has received in recent media.
“I think that our organization is getting more visibility with everything that has been happening in our university,” Pendley said. “We had a couple of instances with GA reps (this past year) and so I think that people are getting more involved with that and wanting to get their voice heard.”
The new GA representatives for each college, the amount of votes they received and reactions from winners are listed below:
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Josh Grindling was re-elected to the General Assembly with a total of 103 votes. First-time winners include Ashley Prince (105 votes) and Logan Krause (104 votes).
College of Business
Olivia Long and Oscar Garner III were re-elected with a total of 257 and 212 votes. The newly-elected representatives are Tim Morris (267 votes) and Jessica Mijal (241 votes).
College of Engineering
Ryan Aridi and Alexis Haselwanter were re-elected to the General Assembly with a total of 270 and 224 votes. Christian Stack also won a seat with 274 votes.
James Madison College
Abii-Tah Chungong Bih (180 votes) and Adam Green (140 votes) will now represent James Madison College in ASMSU.
Green, a political theory and constitutional democracy junior, will be on the GA for the first time.
“I was shocked I won,” Green said in an email. “I worked extremely hard campaigning and talking to people as to inform them of my platform, but with eight total people running for the spot, I figured I wouldn’t make it. I immediately was humbled as I understood that the college put a lot of faith in me through this election.”
College of Natural Science
Kumaran Arivoli was re-elected to the General Assembly with a total of 200 votes. Shad Soldano (166 votes) and Aubrey Hanes (162 votes) were newly-elected.
Hanes is a sophomore studying neuroscience. She spoke on what she looks forward to accomplishing in student government.
“I am most looking forward to working alongside so many intelligent, passionate, and driven elected representatives,” Hanes said in an email. “I am excited to have the opportunity to work towards building a safe and inclusive campus. There are many voices to be heard and changes to be made. I would like to encourage all undergraduate students to reach out to their representatives with any ideas, questions or concerns.”
College of Nursing
Michael Prosi was elected with 35 votes.
College of Social Science
Selva Haidar was re-elected to the General Assembly with a total of 240 votes. Alyssa Ewell (254 votes) and Renold Mueller (135 votes) were also elected to represent the college.
Tadarian Rodgers won with 26 votes.
College of Music
Christine So was elected with 21 votes and Benjamin Gillman with 18.
So is a freshman studying musical theory. This will be her first time on the GA.
“Even though the College of Music had 3 representatives running and isn’t seen as competitive as another college, I was immediately running ideas through my mind of what I wanted to accomplish in the GA for the 56th session,” So said in an email. “I’m also nervous, yet eager at the same time, as a new GA member (about) what to truly expect.”
Lyman Briggs College
Anna Moody won with 74 votes and Osten Eschedor with 72.
The new General Assembly will meet for the first time on Thursday, April 11 in the International Center.
Elections for the 56th session’s Office of the President will take place on April 17 and 18 in the Student Services Building.