Anusha Mannam, student government’s current vice president, and Adriana Caballero, were elected as new president and vice president of SGLC (Student Government of Loyola Chicago), the organization announced Monday. Student voter turnout, however, dropped for the fourth year in a row.
Voting for the SGLC 2018 spring elections took place from March 22-25.
Students received an email ballot to vote in the spring elections, as they do each year. Clicking on each candidate’s name allowed students to read the candidates’ mission statements.
There was only an 18 percent student voting rate in the 2018 SGLC Spring Elections, meaning fewer than 3,000 of around 16,000 undergraduate students voted, according to the assistant dean of students, Kimberly A. Moore.
In recent years, participation rates have been similarly low, with a 23.5 percent participation rate in 2017, 28 percent participation rate in 2016 and 27 percent participation rate in 2015, The PHOENIX previously reported.
SGLC’s desire for participation is met with consistently low voter turnout. Awareness of SGLC’s role on campus is also low, with some students, such as sophomore Stephen Spalding, not knowing what SGLC is or what it does.
First-year environmental policy major Sarah Gonda said she didn’t know about SGLC, but students have the responsibility to vote.
“I think if I was more aware of [SGLC], I would be more likely to vote,” the 19-year-old said. “It’s something people should care about, but you have to be informed [about it]. It’s our civic duty as students and it’s important to contribute our perspectives.”
Gonda compared Loyola’s low voting turnout to the low youth turnout in the Illinois primary elections March 20.
According to Marisel Hernandez, chairwoman of the Chicago Board of Elections, just over 280,000 of the approximately 1.5 million voters in Chicago cast ballots.
“Less than 3 percent of [millennials] have actually voted today,” Hernandez said on March 20. “When you look at the number of [ages] 18 to 45, it’s at 27 percent. The vast majority of people who are voting are 45 and older.”
Kate Choenberger, a junior computer science major, voted in the 2017 SGLC election and said she planned to vote in the 2018 election but she thinks SGLC should be promoted more.
“[SGLC] needs to find an element we can share in common to bring us together … [there are] a wide range of views at Loyola … I want us to feel more connected,” Choenberger said.
Senior criminal justice major, Giancarlo Parodi, went to all the debates and events this year for SGLC and said it’s “a sad turn out.”
“It’s a sad and disappointing thing to see no one cares about student government … what’s a student government without its students?” Parodi said. “Either students are just picking whoever just because or they are picking their friend.”
“If students don’t vote, they lose out on an opportunity to influence and affect change through the system of governance on campus,”said Moore.
Adam Roberts, a senior journalism and sociology double major, is the current chair of the Spring Elections Board and former vice president of SGLC.
“Education and empowerment are key factors to increased voter turnout. Each student vote strengthens the one before it,” Roberts said.
Roberts said voting in the election is especially important because “[it] allows students to have a direct say in their education, campus community and university as a whole. Understanding each of us has the power to make change on campus is essential.”
Mannam, a junior political science and global and international studies double major, has been a member of SGLC for three years and will begin her presidency on April 3.
Mannam defeated candidate David Kwok in the election, a sophomore majoring in economics and finance.
Adriana Caballero, a junior global and international studies major, will be the new vice president.
Mannam and Caballero will be sworn in at the next Senate meeting on April 3, after which they will begin their administration.
SGLC holds Senate meetings every Tuesday at 4 p.m. to discuss the progress being made in each of the committees. All students, faculty and administration are invited to attend.
The SGLC members welcome any questions or opinions students might have, which can be voiced by going to their office in Damen Student Center room 210, or by visiting the “Get Involved” page to find out how to participate.