Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) held its first elections of the school year this week. Students elected the positions of North and South Campus representative, as well as first-year and sophomore class president. Voting took place on the ASPC website over the course of 24 hours, starting at 9 p.m. Monday.
Tracy Zhao PO '13, Alex Samuels PO '15, Reina Buenconsejo PO '15 and Nico Kass PO '16 won the positions of North Campus representative, South Campus representative, sophomore class president and first-year class president, respectively.
Kass said, “I hope to represent my class well, and that at the end of the year, all of the freshmen feel satisfied with the job I've done.”
“I'd first like to fulfill some of the promises I made during the campaign, the first being a way for the sophomore class to track what ASPC is doing and track our progress throughout the semester,” Buenconsejo said.
She also expressed interest in forming a seminar in which sophomores could express views and concerns.
Samuels said, “I guess my biggest platform was the disconnect I felt last year between administration and students. There are just a lot of little things around campus that I feel like would be super easy to fix, but no one actually goes around fixing them, and that's unfortunate.”
In an e-mail to TSL, Zhao wrote, “I think that honest and open communication with other senators about our goals and objectives will enable Senate to represent and advocate for students.”
Seven candidates registered for the South Campus representative race, six for the sophomore class president race and 11 for the first-year class president race. Zhao did not officially register for the elections, but entered as a write-in candidate.
Sarah Appelbaum PO '13, the current ASPC president, said she thought the election was conducted well.
“It was great to not have used so much paper in the election as in past years, although I think Senate and future candidates could stand to do some brainstorming about potential paperless campaign methods,” she said.
Candidates campaigned with election posters as well as Facebook events and groups. A public forum was held at Frank at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
They also campaigned by word-of-mouth.
“I tried really to just talk to people and connect to people, let them know that I'm running and why,” Buenconsejo said.
“My platform was basically about getting to know the entire class on an individual basis, so I felt the only way I could show that was to go around and meet everyone,” Kass said. “I went to every dorm on campus at least twice, just walking to any open door, introducing myself, just getting to know everybody.”
“We have a very short period to campaign,” Buenconsejo said. “We had a campaign meeting on Thursday and then of course the elections opened Monday and ended Tuesday. In some ways I appreciate that the campaigning period is so short, because it then forces students to really pay attention to what's going on.”
“I feel like it was a little rushed, but at the same time, there's not a lot you can do,” Samuels said. “Any more time would have been kind of counterproductive.”
Students voted via a ranking system in which they listed their preferences for each position. If no student received a majority, the student receiving the fewest first-choice votes was eliminated. In the event that a voter's first choice was eliminated, his or her second choice became first, third became second and so on until one candidate received a majority.
Appelbaum is now working to integrate the new faces with the existing government. She said that transparency and relations between senators and the student body are important.
“Formally, there's some training that happens for new senators, but informally, I'm hoping that we'll have opportunities to build community within Senate, in the meetings and outside of them,” she added. “Beyond that, I'll be looking to senators for ways that we can be as cohesive of a team as possible.”