On April 22, students elected a new group to the Associated Students executive board with a turnout much lower than anticipated. Just under 400 students out of the 28K student body cast ballots, with some familiar faces returning to the board.
Current VP of Student Services, Julia Russo was elected President with an overwhelming 63 percent of the vote. Russo’s landslide victory came after one of her competitors was disqualified due to election violations for failing to submit financial documents.
Russo spoke to the Courier by email regarding her plans to increase voter turnout in future elections.
“Voter turnout has been a major concern in the Associated Students election process. This year we had an increase, however minimal, in voter turnout. We believe this is due to the accessibility of online voting,” Russo wrote.
“We will continue to send out the ballot via email and we will also ensure that a link will be shareable among students which will be easily accessible online. In the future, we recognize that promotion must be far greater and brought to the attention of our students earlier.”
Also returning to the board is former student trustee Kelly Banh who was elected to the position of VP of Student Affairs. Newcomers include Alexis Rivera-Andrade as vp of internal affairs, Jasmeet Dhillon as vp of business affairs, Dean Wyrzykowski as vp of external affairs, Kiely Lam as vp of campus diversity, Natalia Batista as vp of sustainability and Phoebe Fang as vp of student services.
Fang spoke to the Courier about what changes she hopes to bring to PCC in her position.
“I hope to bring a more comfortable environment for students to use the campus resources, and for them to use the ones that we have because some resources might feel intimidating for them, but they’re really not,” Fang said.
“I’m planning to make quick, easy surveys they can take online so that I know what they use most and what they don’t and how often. I would gather those results and create an event in the quad to have those services come out to the quad, introduce themselves and make students more informed and aware of these resources.”
President-elect Russo went into further detail about changes and improvements she hopes to make in the upcoming semester including strengthening the ties between students and the administration.
Russo plans to have regular meetings with campus departments, the Board of Trustees and President Rajen Vurdien to make the students voices and concerns known and hold everyone accountable.
“Specific issues include our efforts to negotiate affordable transportation for both full- and part-time students, as well as see that state law is passed in order to minimize costs for our students in the future,” Russo wrote. “In addition, efforts will be explored to lower textbook costs by using online textbooks and textbook sharing services and we hope to improve transportation options and communication between our Rosemead campus.”
Russo believes her experience servings as vp for student services gave her the opportunity to work directly with students, while collaborating with multiple departments on campus.
“These relationships that I’ve formed as vice president for student services, the knowledge I gained while working with our faculty and staff, and the time I spent working alongside our students, will be invaluable in assisting me in my new role as president,” Russo wrote.
Along with the election of the AS board, 13 amendments were also on the ballot to be voted on, including issues regarding the posting period for legislation, clarification of the student vote, and special meetings processes.
All 13 amendments passed in the vote and full descriptions can be found online at http://aspccjmentrup.wix.com/voteaspcc for any students with questions.