ASI holds elections virtually

ASI+held+several+events+of+the+last+few+weeks+in+preparation+for+their+upcoming+elections.

Carolyn Cheng

ASI held several events of the last few weeks in preparation for their upcoming elections.

Adrianna Adame, Managing Editor

The ASI elections for the 2021-22 academic year will be held solely online.

In past years, candidates for ASI positions campaigned both on campus and virtually through platforms such as Instagram. Due to COVID-19, candidates aren’t able to campaign in-person and can only campaign online.

Last year, many events that usually occur during the ASI election season were cancelled because campus shut down because of the pandemic. This year, ASI has taken the preparations needed for a fully online election.

“We have the framework already for how to run those sorts of things [ASI elections], we unfortunately didn’t get to throw many of those events last year because it was during that transition time,” said Jacqueline Montaño, the chair of the ASI Elections Committee. 

ASI Board-approved candidates officially began campaigning on Mar. 4, the date on which their photos and bios were posted onto the ASI elections page.

Dylan Crivello, a political science major and sociology minor, is the only candidate running for ASI President. Marbella Ramirez, a communication major, and Andrew Gamboa, a second-year political science major and business minor, are candidates for ASI Executive Vice President. 

Julia Glorioso, a second-year political science major and geography and border studies minor, is running for ASI Vice President of Student & University Affairs. Stephania Rey, a junior software engineering major, is running for ASI College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Representative. 

According to ASI Bylaws, prior to the pandemic, only a brief bio and three questions could be posted to the website. This year ASI allowed one-minute videos that candidates made to be posted on the ASI Instagram page. In the videos, candidates introduce themselves and explain what position they are running for and why they should be elected.

Compared to the 2018-19 ASI election, there has also been a decline of student participation throughout the events prior to voting.

Montaño said that ASI is “hoping that [the election] would gain more traction with student interaction this year.”

She attributes the lack of student participation partly to students not knowing about the elections and partly about being tired of being online.

ASI has also been attempting to partially resolve the issue of Zoom fatigue by incorporating more interactive activities within the Zoom ASI election events. “For example, we always had to make sure that the events themselves are interactive enough with students so that they don’t just feel like they are staring at a screen for one or two hours, so that it doesn’t feel like a lecture and actually feels like an event,” said Montaño.

Last year’s election was also less competitive than the year before, with several positions left available even after the election. Montaño explained that participation depends on how competitive an election is. “The more contentious an election is, the more that the candidates themselves will try to get people to vote and interact with students so that they can secure those votes,” she said.

For this year’s ASI election, the candidates for ASI President, ASI Vice President of Student & University Affairs and ASI College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Representative are running unopposed. 

One of the benefits of the ASI elections being held online this year is that it’s more accessible to students. Many students who go to CSUSM don’t live close to campus, sometimes living in Riverside County or outside of Southern California.

“I’ll always stand by the fact that the Zoom has always made things more accessible. Students are more curious about it and just interested in learning, whether that be going to a meeting or running for an election,” said Montaño.

ASI elections will occur from March 15-17, with ballots being sent to students’ emails. ASI will continue to update the website and their Instagram for more information regarding the results of the election. 

For further information on the elections process and candidate bios, check out csusm.edu/asi/vote/candidates/index.html.

Adrianna Adame is a senior at CSUSM majoring in history and minoring in communication. When not writing articles or studying, she spends her time reading books and watching Netflix dramas. Once she graduates, she hopes to go to graduate school and eventually become a news reporter.

The Cougar Chronicle: The independent student news site of California State University, San Marcos