By Harrison Brooks
On April 22, online polls opened for The Associated Students(AS) election. HSU students received an email in their inbox with a link to the voting page
, where they could select the students who would represent them in council, as well as vote on an increase to their student fees.
The proposed fee, a $4 increase, needed the majority of the student body to be implemented and got it with 58 percent voting yes. Student fees fund things like clubs, programming grants, student resources on campus and concerts. Part of the drive for the raise was the state’s minimum wage increase from $8 to $10 per hour.
To make sure students were aware of the election and the proposed fee increase, Associated Students tabled in places like The J cafeteria, set up an election display in the Library and put up signs and fliers. Members went into individual classrooms to raise awareness of students right to vote in the election and on the fee increase.
On top of the council’s awareness raising, individual students running in the election plastered their own fliers around campus and created Facebook pages to support their campaigns.
Jerry Dinzes, already a member of AS and a representative to the board of the California State Student Association(CSSA), was elected AS President.
When campaigning, Dinzes said he tried to “do a campaign of information” to help get students involved in decision making. On his campaign fliers, he included a list of “Not So Fun Facts Students Need To Know,” including proposed legislation that would cause financial aid to be disbursed through deceptively marketed debit cards.
“If you sound like a cheeseball they just want you to leave the classroom as soon as possible,” said Dinzes about campaigning, “but if you’re speaking to issues important to them then they want to listen.”
Yet, with all the awareness raising, on Thursday, the last day of the election, students didn’t seem to be voting.
Reba Goodwin, 18, a student living on campus said she’d heard about the election but hadn’t voted. When asked about the fee increase, she said she hadn’t heard about it yet, but would be receptive.
“If it funds clubs and things like that, four dollars between all the students would really raise a lot,” said Goodwin. “I don’t really care about $4 .”
Another student, Michael Hoff, said though he knew about the election but not the fee Increase, though he hadn’t voted either.
“Honestly, I’m pretty bad about checking my student email,” said Hoff.
When the polls came in that Friday, this was reflected in the vote count. According to the Unofficial election results, posted on the AS website, 1055 ballots were cast out of 7863 eligible voters, that’s 13.42 percent. Last year’s 2013 election saw 17 percent of the eligible students vote, in 2012 only 9.5 percent.
Ana Cortes, who was re-elected to Administrative Vice President of AS this year, said that although the low turn out for the election is unfortunate, it is not the end all be all of student engagement.
“Your participation is not over once you vote your next AS council, it continues in the fall semester when committees need to be filled,” said Cortes, “this is really important for students to know.”
On the AS website under the tab “About” there is a “Get Involved” link with Applications for students to apply for appointment to various committees on campus including The Sexual Assault Prevention Committee, the Humboldt energy Independence fund (HeIf) Committee, The Student Grievance Committee and many more.
These opportunities are available to all students, with applications being accepted and reviewed for appointment to vacant committees throughout the year. A full list of committees and vacant seats is available on the AS website under the “meet us” tab.