Normally, student body elections bring an influx of Pit-sitting, campus campaigning and flyers in every campus building and on every library table. But this year, campaigning and voting have turned virtual.
With election day rapidly approaching on Tuesday, Feb. 23, students will be able to make their pick for leadership. We talked with representatives from Student Government about how students can vote, and why they should make it a priority.
Why is UNC Student Government important?
The University’s Student Government exists for the student body to have peer advocates.
Student Body President Reeves Moseley, said student voices can enact systemic change; but he has heard that some students lack interest in Student Government because they believe their voices will be ignored.
“I think Student Government is the platform that students should be able to use their voices to make sure that the administration listens to,” Moseley said. “The voices of students matter.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the student body’s voices are more important than ever, he said.
In response, the Student Government has played a role in recommending University wellness days, ideas on vaccine distribution and the single occupancy housing for the spring semester to the administration.
The Student Government also helped to push the administration to lift the 16-year moratorium on renaming on-campus buildings that were named after white supremacists, Moseley said.
With the help of Student Government, there are now future structures in place to continue this work, said Danny Bowen, the undergraduate chief of staff on the Executive Board of the Moseley Administration.
“The student body president has a lot of responsibilities,” Bowen said. “But mostly — they represent.”
How do I vote?
On election day, a link will be distributed to students that will take them to the voting screen. Students will have to log in with either their PID or ONYEN. From there, they can choose their ideal candidate, sophomore Claire Hutto said.
Hutto currently serves as one of the Civic Engagement Committee co-chairpersons for the executive branch of Student Government. She said that, during her time as co-chairperson, she realized the importance of Student Government as a liaison between the student body and the administration.
“Student Government communities are the ones who are most likely to vote, but it's so important to make sure that the voices from students who may not be as plugged into those networks are also resilient,” she said. “Student Government truly needs to be able to represent all students at Carolina and the best way to do that is to make sure that as many voices are heard as possible.”
Why should I vote?
The Student Government also works not only with advocating for the whole student body but also with other organizations on campus that are not directly heard by the administration, Moseley said.
“Student Government is a direct source of student advocacy,” Moseley said. “And that should be available to all students, no matter their background, it will matter to the identities.”
Student Government acts as a centralized force that advocates and speaks for student organizations, such as the Civic Engagement Action Coalition. The Coalition is in charge of emphasizing different student organizations that are passionate about student engagement.
The student body president has the ability to have conversations with the administration and to make a change, Moseley said. For the future student body, he emphasized the importance of having the voices of every single student — of every facet of the student body — heard and to be welcomed.
“We're laying the legacy right now to make it more equitable as an organization and as a student body,” he said.
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