Kicking off the Undergraduate Council of Students and Undergraduate Finance Board spring election process, the UCS elections board held three informational sessions for prospective candidates this week.
In order to run for a position, students are required to attend one of the three information sessions. Next, students must collect signatures from the student body to support their candidacy, after which candidates will be confirmed March 8.
Students hoping to run for the UCS President, UCS Vice President, UFB Chair and UFB Vice Chair positions must collect 200 signatures from students either on paper or using a new online platform. All other positions will require students to collect 100 signatures to be eligible for candidacy.
“One of the changes we’ve made is that now we’ve allowed students that are considering running to get signatures through an online platform,” said Elections Board Co-Chair Mary Stack ’21, emphasizing the increased accessibility of the new system. Previously, students were required to gather signatures on paper.
Stack added that the elections board has increased the voting period from two to three days, with the intention of increasing voter turnout. Additionally, student groups now have three days after the candidate debate to endorse candidates, up from the previous period of less than one day.
“We definitely want to engage more of the student body,” said Elections Board Co-Chair Alex Song ’20. “Brown certainly is not last but certainly not leading in student engagement, and that’s really important for us,” he added, referencing a previous Herald article that showed that the University’s student voter turnout in the 2018 UCS presidential elections was the second lowest in the Ivy League. He also emphasized that the newly lengthened student group endorsement period is intended to increase accountability within groups, as the prior period left little time for groups to have longer discussions and make more informed endorsements.
A student who attended one of the info sessions and expressed interest in a candidacy for a UFB position cited their experience working within other student groups on campus as a motivator for their interest in the position. “I realized there were some things in UFB that I wanted to work toward improving, specifically … transparency,” they said. Due to UCS restrictions on announcing prospective candidacies, the student could not be named.
Although the student expressed a strong desire to improve many UFB policies, they ultimately decided not to move forward with their candidacy due to the large time requirement of the role. “I did a lot of thinking over the past few weeks and decided that I could not commit to that to that time for the next school year,” they said.
An open-to-the-public debate between candidates for the UCS President, UCS Vice President, UFB Chair and UFB Vice Chair positions will be held March 13. Online voting for the undergraduate student body will take place from March 16-19, with the winning candidates taking office after the conclusion of the spring semester.