Elections for BYUSA’s president and vice president are ramping up again this semester by answering student submitted questions in Q&A session about their campaigns.
This year three candidates, along with their three running-mates, are all vying for the top spots in BYU’s student service organization. The three pairs are Taylor Wood and Logan Greenburg, Zach Pinter and Leah Lehmuller and Brandon Sookhoo and Rachel Densley.
All three candidates spoke on their various initiatives as well as the common concerns of the students that they submitted via social media.
Logan Greenburg, sophomore neuroscience major, wanted to make it clear to students that BYUSA is not a student government but rather a student service association.
“So we don’t have political power on campus, but we do listen to students and administration does want to work with us,” Greenburg said. “They do want to know exactly what the students are feeling, and they want our opinions so that way they can take them into consideration.”
According to Greenburg, their hope is that by electing all students to the Student Advisory Council they will provide a stronger voice on campus as well as more service opportunities in the different departments.
Taylor Wood, junior accounting major, said one of their initiatives is to advocate for more student elected voices. According to Wood this would strengthen the voice of a student body as a whole.
“We just want students to feel like this is their campus. We want them to feel like a bigger part of the BYU life,” Wood said. “And by facilitating the first initiative so that students have representatives chosen by them they feel like their voice is more heard. They will be more represented by the representatives that are the Student Advisory Counsel. Their voice will be more apparent to the administration.”
Because BYUSA is a student service association and not a student government, Zach Pinter, junior business management major, and Leah Lehmuller, senior recreation management major, wanted to focus on improving the students rather than the campus by improving BYUSA’s involvement area, located in the Wilkinson Student Center.
“Since the involvement area was created in BYUSA, what we’ve seen is that a lot of people can come into the office and talk with our placement officers about different opportunities that are out there,” Pinter said. “But then there is kind of a disconnect where they get this information from the BYUSA office but don’t know what to do with it necessarily.”
Lehmuller outlined their basic idea to solve this problem.
“You take a personality test, answer some questions about yourself, your interests, your passions, and what it will do at the end, then, is it would match you with a certain organization on campus,” Lehmuller said. “It just kind of gives you an idea of where you would feel most comfortable in an organization on campus.”
Pinter added that this system would correct the existing one by giving the contact information for the organization along with their results.
Many of the questions submitted via social media were students asking why they should care about BYUSA. According to current BYUSA President Brandon Beck, 78 percent of the student body did not vote in the last election. This statistic would indicate to some that the student body as a whole does not find BYUSA’s role on campus to be an important one.
Brandon Sookhoo, junior, felt there were many reasons for this apathy among students. One is that he felt that BYUSA does not reach out to students. Another reason is that he felt many candidates made promises that were too specific to only a group of students.
“The other reason is a lot of the times candidates will come up with issues that a lot of students don’t care about, or the issue is so focused on just one particular party,” Sookhoo said. “They’re really interested, but most people still aren’t. So to address that, we’ve really tried to pick initiatives that affect everybody.”
For this reason Sookhoo and Densley plan on advocating for greater WiFi coverage, vending machines in the library and for more convenient class registration by adding a search option to MyMap.
BYUSA will hold a student body Q&A Thursday, Feb. 27, at 11 a.m. in the Varsity Theatre so students can learn more about the individual candidates’ initiatives.