10% of study body voted for USG leaders

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Brian Kochheiser and Nicole Neely were officially confirmed as Undergraduate Student Government president and vice president respectively when the election results were announced Friday.

The two ran unopposed for USG president and vice president. The results were also announced for senate positions during lunch in the Falcon’s Nest.

“It’s an exciting moment for everyone,” Kochheiser said. “I’m ready to move on and start training.”

Neely also shared the excitement for the upcoming year.

“It’s super great; I’m so happy,” she said. “I’m ready to get in the office and start making changes.”

The ballots opened Monday, April 7 and stayed open for students to vote until Thursday, April 10. Emails were sent to every student with a customized link just for them to vote instead of voting from the University’s home page.

The number of students that voted totaled 1353, which is about 10 percent of the student body. This number is higher than last year’s election, which totaled 660 votes and was less than 6 percent of the student body.

Dean of Students Jodi Webb said she thinks the number of voters increased this year due to the new voting system.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” she said. “I feel really good about the email ballot. It’s a better way to grab the students’ attention.”

Chief of Staff Danielle Parker was impressed with the results of the election.

“It’s something to be proud of because of all the hard work we put into this,” she said. “I’m just very grateful so many students voted and I think it had a lot to do with the emails. It made voting more personable to students, they could do it wherever they wanted in comfort.”

Neely also agreed the email helped raise the number of voters.

“I’m excited it was such a good voting turnout,” she said. “I think the new email really helped.”

Of the 32 senate positions that were open for election, 26 of them were filled.

One of the students that were voted in as a senator at large is Kasie Durkit, current academic affairs chair.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Durkit said. “I’m glad there as a high turn out this year, [the elections] were more on people’s radars.”

However, Durkit isn’t planning on sticking to just her newly elected position.

“I hope to be speaker for next year, so we will have to wait and see,” she said.

Both Kochheiser and Neely are proud of their newly elected senate.

“We have a strong senate for next year,” Kochheiser said. “Now we have to reach out and make the cabinet elections open for anyone that wants to run.”

For former President Alex Solis, the elections were bitter-sweet.

“I’m a mix of emotions,” he said. “I’m excited to see what they can do from the student point. They were on my cabinet this year, so they have a good idea of what the students want.”

Sophomore Kayla Effinger was in the Falcons Nest when the elections were being announced; unaware that it was the day for the results.

“I knew it was going to happen, but didn’t know it was today,” she said.

Even though she didn’t vote, she was happy for the elected.

“I’m indifferent towards the whole thing,” she said. “I don’t know them but I am happy for them and for next year.”