With just six days left before student elections, volunteers are rushing to collect signatures to breathe life into a Student Union renovation, requiring a student fee increase.
Because Student Congress rejected the referendum on Jan. 18, Union officials must collect a minimum of 2,939 signatures from the student body before 5 p.m. Feb. 2 for UCommons to appear on the Feb. 8 ballot. The project is intended to transform the bottom floor into a more appealing space for students, featuring more meeting rooms and rehearsal space.
Tyler Mills, president of the Carolina Union Activities Board, said the petition had about 2,000 signatures Tuesday. Though there are nearly 1,000 signatures left to collect, Mills said he is confident the referendum will make the ballot.
“Yesterday I think we ended up collecting about 800 signatures; so, I think it’s going very well,” he said.
If officials fail to collect the signatures by 5 p.m. today, the referendum could still appear on a later ballot as long as the 2,939 signatures are presented to the student body president, said Andrew Phillips, chairman of the Board of Elections.
Mills said he is confident the bill will get the 800 votes it needs to pass even if it appears on a ballot outside the regular election.
Mills said one of the biggest obstacles for the initiative is confusion on the part of students. He said some students are confusing UCommons, which applies only to Phase 2 of the renovations, with Phase 1.
“This isn’t about Wendy’s. This is about more than that,” he said. “The Wendy’s is already happening.”
Union officials have spent at least $1,300 marketing UCommons, said Megan Johnson, assistant director of Union marketing and design.