The official list of Associated Students (AS) candidates was posted on Monday and like a shot out of the starting gate, the Spring General Election campaigning has begun and those who have qualified are off and running.
15 eligible candidates set off eager to begin their campaigns on Monday morning, with Tuesday being the first day of candidate forums in the quad.
Adviser of the Office of Student Life, Carrie Afuso, held a meeting on Friday to go over the packet of governing documents, checklists, forms, and timelines necessary for candidates to meet requirements.
The student candidates received directly all of the information they will need prior to campaigning, where the gravity of pending responsibilities was stressed.
The election committee is composed of six members–the President of the Associated Students, Irving Morales, who nominates two students at large, the chair and dean of the department Rebecca L. Cobb, who nominates one student at large and one faculty at large, and Carrie Afuso as ex offcio and note taker.
The candidates who made the cut were Huang Luu, Leila Paredes and current V.P. for Student Services Julia Russo, who are running for A.S. President. Current Student Trustee Kelly Banh and student Sammy Wu, are running for V.P of Academic Affairs. Kevin Abrahami and Natalie Batista are running for V.P. of Sustainability. And Joanna Anaya, Vannessa Estrada, and Phoebe Fang are running for V.P. Student services.
Running uncontested are Jasmeet Dhillon for V.P. of Business Affairs, Kiely Lam, for V.P. of Cultural Affairs, Student Lobby committee member Dean Wyrzykowski for V.P. of External Affairs, Alexis Rivera-Andrade for V.P. of Internal Affairs, and Nune Garipian is running for Student Trustee this year.
“The expectations, it’s a lot of work!,” Associated Student President Irving G. Morales said. “If you think you are going to come to the office and just chill and work on your personal statement and homework, that is a big ‘No!'”
The official list went up late Friday afternoon and campaigning did not officially begin until 7 a.m. on Monday. Candidates are limited to spending $150 total on campaign expenses, including materials down to the specific tape they are allowed to use, copies they make outside of what the office of student life will provide, and are required to submit all of their publicity materials to be stamped for approval prior to posting on campus.
Even these postings have restrictions, and breaking the rules is one of several that can be grounds for disqualification.
Additionally, candidates are required to get 60 signatures in PCC student individual support, must provide a typed written statement either via hard copy or on a flash drive, and are to maintain and tally all receipts for their promotional materials and any other expenditures, including websites and other services used during their campaign.
The governing documents outline the duties required and overall expectations for each position, where the constitution provides a “framework and is general,” Afuso said.
“The by-laws are much more specific because it tells people how they are supposed to behave and act,” she continued. “The reason you are here, and I want to make this very clear … you are the voice of students. You represent 20,000 students out there.”
The candidates were asked to run their campaigns in the “spirit of competition and good will,” noting that many of them will ultimately be working together as a team. With unfilled positions, Afuso said that it is not uncommon to fill these positions based on the election outcome.
“So even if you ran on opposing slates,” Afuso said to the candidates. “You will be sitting next to each other, at a desk, working downstairs.”
The office of President as outlined in the Associated Student Governing Documents states that the position demands at least ten hours a week in meeting and office hours.
“I’m going to be honest with you … as President, it’s like a 24/7 job. You are the student voice, so do expect those messages,” Morales said of the time required to respond to the emails, texts and calls that an AS President can get on a daily basis.
Once in their positions, each member of the new AS board will need to attend a two-hour meeting every Wednesday, and at least one other meeting either “once a week or twice a month.”
Students will have the opportunity to sit in hiring committees, an important “key role” because they get to shape the professors that are coming into the college. Meetings could take up to 20 hours of their time per week, but Afuso said that they would receive a small stipend of “about $200.”
Overall, the candidates are to balance work, school, family, the requirements of their position, and still maintain their strong GPA’s.
Afuso stressed that the candidates should keep positive and strong in the process, and she highlighted one of the major pluses to serving on the AS executive board.
“You will have wonderful opportunities to travel,” she said. “And do many great things.”
The final ballot count is Friday, April 22.