SGB talks 2017 election, student involvement for future

SGB plans to increase advertising for elections to avoid an unchallenged ballot and increase student involvement with the organization. Jeff Ahearn | Senior Staff Photographer

With more publicity and more communication, this year’s Student Government Board wants to break the three-year streak of candidates running unopposed.

To encourage more students to run for positions in the election in February, SGB will host the first elections mixer on Jan. 20. The mixer, which will be held in room 548 of the William Pitt Union, provides students the opportunity to ask current Board members questions about the campaign process, ranging from creating a platform to forming a slate — a group of like-minded students to campaign with.

“It will be really laid back,” Natalie Dall, SGB’s president, said. “It’s an opportunity for students without a slate to find one and ask questions.”

Interested students can pick up an election packet on the eighth floor of the Union anytime before the Jan. 25 due date.

In order to run for a position on the board, students must garner 200 signatures while candidates running for president need 250 signatures. All candidates also need to declare a campaign staff, have a 2.75 GPA and either a slate to run with or declare themselves solo before turning in their packet.

To avoid an unchallenged ballot for the third election in a row, SGB also plans to increase advertising for elections. This year they will practice what Dall calls “reverse campaigning,” meaning they will speak to student groups to encourage them to vote and run, instead of SGB candidates visiting student groups to talk about their platform.

Dall and Elections Chair Julia Lee reached out to all the student organizations who attended the Panther GOLD retreat, an annual retreat over the summer for student organizations to receive leadership training, and asked if Board members could speak at general meetings to give students advice about running.

“We want to give people a clear picture of the process,” Lee said. “So hopefully we’ll be able to encourage people to run and get more involved.”

So far, only the Blue and Gold Society and Nursing Students Association have replied.

By reaching out to the different organizations, Lee said they will be able to engage more people and have a bigger turnout on all levels.

“It’s getting more people to run and even more people to vote,” Lee said. “Whether it’s a committee or any of our initiatives, we want to get more people involved.”

In SGB’s 2016 election, 2,665 students voted to elect Dall and her running mates, a drop from the 2015 election, in which 4,127 students voted.

First-year Board member Sam Jankowitz said that the extra push will pay off for SGB by increasing the number of people who want to work with the Board.

“I’m hoping more people will turn out,” Jankowitz said. “With SGB’s increase in PR from the communications department and student organization meetings, I think more people will get involved.”



There were no allocation requests presented at this meeting.


Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this story, The Pitt News reported that a student must garner 20 signatures while running for Student Government Board president. A student running for president must garner 250 signatures. The story has been updated to reflect these changes.

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