Take a seat, we dare you

This is a call to the best and brightest students that UAA has to offer. Heck, this is a call to any UAA student with a pulse.

Want to be a student leader on campus? Now is a great time to get involved.

In two weeks the Union of Students at UAA will hold its spring elections. The spring election is bigger than its fall counterpart due to the fact that the USUAA presidential race is decided each April.

Currently, the USUAA ballot will offer students three different choices bidding to take over the reins from outgoing president Chris Hall. The fact that three pairs of students are running should result in a competitive race that will hopefully bring more voters to the polls. And more voters give the assembly a stronger voice when dealing with the UAA administration or the Alaska State Legislature.

But the new president and vice president will need an assembly to watch over, which is where UAA’s students need to step up.

This spring there are nine senate seats open in the USUAA assembly. So far there are only seven students running, four of which are attempting to retain their current spots. That means that at this point they are all assured a spot as a USUAA senator. Sure makes your vote seem valuable, doesn’t it?

Diane Kozak, student leadership coordinator, hopes more students will come forward and run to give their fellow students a choice in the senate race.

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“I just want a competitive election,” Kozak said. “Candidates should have to work for the student vote.”

Students interested in making the election interesting should get in gear soon. Kozak (see contact information below) is available to help students through the process. The final deadline for entering the race is April 12, exactly one week before the election takes place. That doesn’t leave much time to campaign but with two weeks to go there hasn’t been a single poster hung up yet.

Ideally more students should be running than there are seats available, but that isn’t the biggest problem in regards to the lack of participation.

Despite a growing student base at UAA, USUAA has not had a full senate since fall 2003. Even if two students fill in the final two spring senate seats, graduation will leave four fall seats open.

“It’s sad,” Kozak said.

The fall election will take place in November but students petitioning on via student signature drives could fill the vacant seats before the actual election.

Depending on which tandem wins the presidential election, even more senate seats could be left open. In a worst-case spring election scenario, USUAA could start the fall semester with just seven of 19 assembly seats filled. Let’s hope there are some eager freshmen ready to step in.

The Northern Light is expecting UAA students to rise to the occasion. We tell journalism students that classes can only take them so far and that there is no better place to learn than on the job with the student newspaper.

Well by that notion, USUAA should be stocked with political science majors. Future CEOs from the business department could get some valuable experience in leadership in student government. Art majors could join and remember why they became art majors in the first place.

The USUAA Election Board is drumming up interest in the elections with an ad campaign featuring a catchy slogan: It only takes a four-letter word to make change. Vote.

And every UAA student should vote because it empowers our student government. But we need candidates in order to have leaders to empower. It only takes a three-letter word to give your fellow students a choice. Run.


Student Leadership Coordinator Diane Kozak can be reached via phone (786-1371), e-mail ([email protected]) or stop by her office in Room 206 of the Student Union.