Associated Students presidential candidate Jorge Reyes, along with vice presidential candidate Sevag Alexanian and the rest of the Strength in Unity team, won the AS presidential elections held on April 1-2.
“I know I gave it all and my slate was amazing,” Reyes said. “We’ve had people from different backgrounds, different clubs, different organizations that really represented what CSUN is. Diversity, unity and strength and that’s what CSUN students should be.”
This election season saw a higher than usual number of students voting, a total of 4,558 or 12.59 percent. Candidates for the presidential and vice presidential seats said they had made it a particular goal of their campaign to increase student participation.
“Voting for student government is serious and it has an effect but it’s training wheels for the voting that a person does in their adult life which is just as important at the community level and definitely more important at the national level,” said Vladimir Arutyunov, the vice president for the Student Voices slate.
Lucas Fehring, the presidential candidate for Student Voices, said that they had reached more than 12,000 people with their parking lot campaign and attended more than 40 classes and clubs over the last two weeks.
“It’s good to see now that it’s not just within the bubble of the slate or the campaign,” said Arutyunov. “I see people outside of the campaign showing their support and it’s really comforting.”
Tiffany Zaich, the current AS president, said she was happy with the campaign and feels she has had the opportunity to see an impact since she has been in office. Her next goals are to finish some of the initiatives she had started to implement and help the new officers transition into Associated Students.
“We want to make sure that student presence is strong, student government is strong and, just as we had an increase in voter turnout, I’d really like to see it grow every year,” Zaich said. “Student feedback is the biggest thing for me.”
Zaich said that she was most proud of her work bringing the Farmer’s Market to campus since she feels it benefits students, local farmers and increases sustainability.
Her advice to the new senate members would be to make sure they are representing their constituents and that they have passion for their work and their initiatives.
Sustainability was a major issue for both campaigns and Arutyunov said he was happy to see women representing the engineering college as candidates for leadership.
“We were prepared for either outcome and, of course, it’s hard to lose but we’re happy that Jorge and Sevag are dedicated and they’ll do a good job,” Arutynov said. “Our slate was about a third as large as the other slate and got about a third of the votes, so both slates strongly resonated with students. I think we changed the conversation during the campaign.”
Arutynov and Fehring said they both wish to explore other avenues with which to put to use the research that they did for their campaign.
“I learned a lot from them,” Reyes said. “One of their sustainability initiatives was something I really admired and I really want to look into that, so maybe having that conversation here and now to see how we can get that to happen within Associated Students.”
Alexanian said their first step was going to be a “100-day initiative” where they will go to 100 classes in 100 days to talk to students about student government.
Reyes said he believes many students do not know what AS is, what they do or what they are supposed to do, which will make it harder for them to communicate their needs and hold their representatives accountable.
“We’re ready to really show what we’re doing for [students] and not letting them think that we’re just standing around and looking pretty,” Reyes said. “I know AS from left to right, from A to Z. I know our struggles, our weaknesses, our strong points. It’s time to start working, no break.”