Updated: Mar 23, 2021
The ASU Executive Council is optimistic about student participation.
By Jack Kelly, Staff Writer
Campus flyers will be traded for Canvas posts in this year’s Associated Student Union Executive Council elections.
Beginning April 3, candidates will jockey for votes in online classrooms and on social media, culminating in elections week on April 26-30. While candidates lack a physical location to campaign for votes, the ASU Executive Council members ensure there is no need to worry.
“We actually had more students vote last year when we were online than other years when we were in-person,” said ASU advisor Monica Flores. “Everybody is in front of their computer and logging in.”
Flores, who joined Valley as the Office of Student Life Staff counselor in January 2020, administers the annual elections as a nonvoting party. She oversees the entire process from registering candidates to tabulating votes, but the council is responsible for student engagement.
The 12 ASU council members have made efforts to increase student participation in elections this year, including waiving the 30-signature candidacy requirement. They also plan to create a website with all the candidates’ information in one location.
Flores has enjoyed advising the current Executive Council and she is confident in their abilities. She believes they have great ideas and know how to connect to students.
The council still faces a difficult road ahead. According to Flores, the blockbuster voter turnout last spring was 271, a fraction of Valley’s 11,000 full-time population who are all eligible to vote.
ASU Treasurer Erica Fletcher has an idea why so few students have participated in previous elections. When she asked the business office her first semester why she was paying a $10 ASU membership fee, they could not tell her. In Fall 2020, the council was looking for a treasurer and Fletcher applied because, while she still did not know about ASU, she understood what a treasurer does.
“[Since joining the Executive Council,] I learned what ASU is and what they do,” said Fletcher, who was appointed in September. “Before then, I had no idea and I’m sure other students feel the same way.”
The ASU represents the interests of Valley students. They coordinate with campus clubs to create events as well as hosting their own. Executive Council members advocate on behalf of students on various governance committees at Valley, like Diversity and Inclusion, Work Environment and Student Affairs. They must also attend bi-weekly ASU meetings and hold weekly office hours.
Eligible students interested in an Executive Council seat must apply to run on ASU’s website by March 22. Those who miss the deadline may have an opportunity for an appointed position in the fall as seats have historically remained vacant after elections, according to Flores.
Fletcher encourages any student with even the smallest interest in ASU to run for a position, citing many benefits like building time management skills and learning how a college operates.
“It’s so crazy that the college president will ask me what I think as a student leader, and every time, I’m amazed,” Fletcher said. “I have a voice and I can help other students.”