The campaign has ended, and the electronic ballots have been counted. A record number of students elected a full slate of representatives for the student senate for the 2015-2016 year. The official results are:
Building Construction and Design: Shawn Fairbridge and Karen Huang
Business and Administration: Shamaim Arshad and Calli Barker
Culinary and Hospitality: Genevieve Mirezu and Clayton Stevens
Engineering Technologies and Academic Upgrading: Mikayla Luchkow and Kanku Ndumbi
Environmental and Natural Resources Management: Tobe Konyerem Achimole-Ibe and Chelsea Gates
Health Sciences: Joshua Schaefer and Amy Sulz Information
Technology and Electronics: Ace Bellikka and Aaron Champagne
Media Design: Gier Buterman and Cory Sellar Skilled
Trades and Apprenticeships: Mark Braun and Daniel Inkpen.
Media and Design had the highest voter turnout, at 25.6 per cent, which is twice the turnout compared to last year. Building Construction and Design had the largest increase in voter turnout compared to last year. Twenty two per cent of those students voted, three times higher than in the previous senate election.
Overall, each constituency saw an increase of voter turnout compared to last year. Allanah Wrobel, NAITSA VP External and the deputy returning officer for the election, said that the voter turnout hasn’t been this high in a number of years. Wrobel attributed the increase in many constituencies to increased numbers of candidates.
“The more students they have running, the more people know, thus the more people will vote,” she said. “They had that option and, when that happens, the word of mouth spreads.”
The senators got right to work. This past Thursday evening, they met for the first time to learn how to be senators. They attended a mandatory training session wherein they learned some basics in Robert’s Rules of Order, how to address each other during the meeting and met the chair of the senate. The rules the senators must follow are important so that meetings can be efficient and productive. This election saw four incumbents return, which will help expedite the learning curve for the 14 new senators in stepping into their roles.
“They will help build the momentum and build it faster,” Wrobel said. “They are going to be able to challenge us as executives more, at a higher level and faster.” Despite the excellent turnout and all the positivity of the coming year, Wrobel recognizes that there is always room for improvement in getting the word out to students about the election. “The fact that we have the numbers we do is fantastic, but they can always be better,” she said. “We want those numbers to go higher; the more students who know, the better.” Wrobel said NAITSA will focus on raising awareness about the senate and the annual fall elections, especially for first-year students.
The senators move on from their training to their first meeting and will meet once a month (twice in February and March) for the remainder of the 2015-16 year.