Freshman Senate elections see 50 percent voter turnout

By C.J. Conklin

The polls closed at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, and the Freshman Senate election wrapped up after gathering votes from about 2,000 freshmen, roughly half of the class.

The following morning, the names of the new Freshman Senate members were posted outside the Student Government office. Of the 17 candidates, the four winners were Kelsey Hayes, Greg Robinson, Julie Colgate and George King, all of whom ran on the same ticket.

The election set a record for the number of candidates running for Freshman Senate, said Melissa Hill, the Elections Board supervisor. Last year, only seven candidates ran.

“Being part of this once makes students want to get a lot more involved, and it’s clear that the freshmen are excited to get involved since so many of them are running,” said SG Vice President Brittany Langdon. “Hopefully they will accomplish more than any freshman senators before them.”

At the beginning of the year freshmen have very little input, Langdon said. After the election, though, the class begins to have a voice and its outlook is known, bringing a new perspective to SG.

“The freshmen are like any other members of the Senate, able to vote on all legislations and write resolutions,” said Chris Crumrine, SG’s chief of staff.

“As a freshman senator, I hope to be a great representation of the freshman class,” Colgate said. “I will not only let my voice and opinions be heard, but also those of my fellow classmates.”

Freshmen could vote online on the SG Web site or at polling locations. Polls at the W.T. Young Library and the Student Center were open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. Most students voted online, said SG communications director Barb Jackson.

The SG Senate tries to get the freshmen acquainted right away, Langdon said. The freshmen are only in office for about a month before Winter Break, so it’s often intimidating for them to be around people who feel more comfortable than they do.

“We hope that the freshman senators get involved with the Senate for all four years, this being the beginning of their roles as leaders,” Hill said.