Following low turnout at UPUA’s first Meet the Candidates session last week, elections commissioners have said they hope to increase the number of student constituents that attend the second session, slated for today.
Following last week’s event, Justin Laskowski(senior-philosophy), deputy commissioner of events, cited spring break — and difficulty advertising during it — as a reason for low turnout.
Hannah Kendig, deputy commissioner for publicity, said she utilized Facebook to publicize today’s session, though she added that she “probably should have done more.”
As per the elections code, attending at least one Meet the Candidates session is mandatory for all those seeking to hold office in the University Park Undergraduate Association. The session will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first floor of the HUB.
Presidential candidate Katelyn Mullen attended last week’s event and will be in the HUB today. She sees the session as an opportunity for “more engagement with students.”
Mullen — UPUA’s current vice president — and her running mate, Brenden Dooley, are unopposed in the executive race. This is the first time a presidential ticket has run unopposed in UPUA’s history.
The Mullen-Dooley ticket will also use the event to gather feedback from student voters, but the pair doesn’t plan to change its platform, as its point is to “hold us accountable,” Mullen (junior-supply chain and information systems) said.
But Mullen said she plans to incorporate student feedback into her personal agenda for next year’s assembly.
David Harrington, deputy commissioner for candidacy, said Meet the Candidates sessions are a good way for candidates to prepare for working in the assembly. The sessions give candidates a chance to “practice constituency outreach,” Harrington (senior-political science) said.
Kevin Horne, an off-campus representative candidate, said he will use the session to answer student questions regarding his platform. Horne (junior-print journalism) said one of the “most feasible” items on both his platform and Mullen’s platform is the creation of a permanent, voting student position on the Board of Trustees.
Anthony Panichelli, an at-large representative candidate, said he hopes to promote collaboration between student organizations as one of the main tenets of his platform. Panichelli (junior-political science) referenced the feeling of unity among the student body that was present during the fall semester.
“Having one team is better than having three teams or four teams,” he said, adding that he will incorporate this mentality into his platform.
Both Panichelli and Dutch Markward, a current off-campus representative running for the same position, said they hope to increase awareness around the issues of sexual violence. Markward (sophomore-accounting) said he hopes to expand World in Conversation as a way to promote awareness of sexual assault.
The commissioners are also working to encourage the student body to vote in the election.
Kendig (senior-political science and economics) said the campus-wide listserv will be the “biggest asset” when it comes to promoting voter turnout this year.
“I hope there’s a large turnout, and we’ll do everything we can to make it that way,” Harrington said.