Freshmen prepare for Student Senate elections

Mason Student government logo
Mason Student government logo

In less than a week, freshmen and transfer students running for Student Senate will begin campaigning. The candidates will have the chance to campaign over social media and on campus to win support until voting  begins on October 15.

Every spring, the Student Senate keeps 10 spots, of the total 40, open for new students in the fall. Greg Mercer is the chairman of the Elections and Disputes Commission, which runs the student elections and handles disputes between members of student government. He knows the importance of the fast-approaching election and what it means for the student government.

“A freshman joining the Student Senate would immediately have a big impact on the way things are done at the university,” Mercer says. “There are a lot of events that go on, and they want freshman input for that. Especially in the first couple of months of the school year, you really want to engage new students on campus, so it is important to have that input.”

With the campaign period about to begin, Mercer commented on freshman outreach on campus: “I think freshmen do a very admirable job of getting out and making themselves known. Not this year, but the fall year before, we had almost 900 people voting, which is pretty good considering it’s almost entirely people who have only been here for a month.” Candidates also have a dollar limit of $350 to campaign, which is overseen by the EDC.

Once the voting period closes and candidates are chosen, the new Senate members will begin to  represent the student opinion on campus. One of the big ways they do this is through committees. There are a number of committees within the Student Senate that all host different events based on their area of expertise  (i.e., housing committee, diversity committee, etc.). Mercer says, “Once a freshman is elected, they would start looking at committees that they want to join. In addition to the Senate, every Senator sits on two committees. They can say ‘ok, what am I good at, what am I interested in, and how can I bring those together and work for the students.’”

The freshmen and transfer students that get elected in the next couple of weeks will hold their seats for the rest of the academic year. The re-election process for Student Senate is held in the spring so the Senate can plan over the summer and begin to meet as soon as classes start in the fall. 

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