Vote Early, Vote Often

Vote Early, Vote Often

Jess Mawhirt

When students log onto the Colgate Portal tomorrow to vote for their Student Government Association (SGA) representatives, they will find that the process has changed. Instead of voting for their representative by residence hall, they will be able to vote for all candidates in their class year.

This is because last spring the SGA adopted a new Constitution that changed its own structure. Rather than having one representative per hall, there will now be 12 representatives for each class year. Proponents of the new Constitution argued that the competition was far too great in large residence halls like Curtis and small houses had trouble even finding representatives. The argument was that the new system should encourage the participation of people who are interested and really want to be there.

All 12 seats for each class year are up for election. That means all 48 spots in the SGA Senate are open. To run for these positions, students had until 3 p.m. on Thursday to turn in their petitions. Portions of the Executive Board, which include the offices of president and vice-president — held by seniors Rob Sobelman and Jenny Dorland — were elected last spring.

Tomorrow, each student can log into the portal and vote for six of the candidates running in their class year.

The proponents of the new constitution feared that if each student was allowed to vote for 12, a relatively few number of students could effectively vote in a block of 12 and ensure that those candidates all got in. This way, Sobelman said, students’ votes will count a little more.

The changes did not come easily, however. Last year there was some opposition from smaller houses on campus who feared losing their representation.

“As with any new idea, there is some dissent, but I am confident that those who may have made different choices will be more than satisfied with the new system,” Sobelman said. He added that the old system was very reactive to the Colgate Administration, and that the new SGA is largely focused on proactive initiatives.

Some of the plans in the works for this year are improving dining services and tech services, as well as promoting environmental initiatives and campus development ideas. Sobelman was very excited about the environmental initiatives that got started with Colgate’s Green Bikes Program.

New SGA members will be working with the four policy coordinators (Tech, Environment, Dining and Campus Development) to make these initiatives successful.

While the executive leadership appoints the policy coordinators and has its own agenda, Sobelman is looking forward to the prospect of new faces on campus.

“First-years bring fresh perspective and new ideas,” he said. “I need people around me that bring creative ideas to the table and can challenge me to approach issues in new ways.”

In his view, the new structure of the SGA will allow this to happen by letting the organization set its own agenda.