Twenty CSUN dorm residents were voted into new community council and building senator positions last week during Residence Halls Association’s annual election, which selects leaders to represent students living in the dorms.
The elections, which took place Sept. 14 and 15, featured 23 candidates for 35 open leadership positions, including 14 building senators, 20 community council seats, and one senator representing the University Village Apartments.
Of the roughly 2,100 residents who live in the UPA, 255 voted in the elections, around 12 percent. Members of RHA said they were pleased at the results.
“This year’s RHA community council and senate elections had a greater turnout, and our association is very pleased with the outcome,” said Peter Gallego, vice president of finance for RHA. “Now our next task will be to get the four councils and senate going to assure that our government is serving the residents effectively.”
RHA informed residents about the elections with e-mails, posters and flyers in the last several weeks. The group also held an open forum for candidates on Sept. 12, and RHA members said more than 60 residents came to listen to the candidates’ speeches.
The UPA is divided into four community councils, one for Park North, South, East and West. Along with RHA, the community councils address advocacy and programming needs of the residents of their respective areas. The councils get their funding from the RHA budget, which is compiled through optional student fees.
The building senator position was brought back this year following a two-year absence created when the community council system was implemented.
The new chairs of the four community councils are Rachel King from Park North, Gil Dwayne Jackson from Park South, Kimberly Scheyving from Park East, and Micaela Griffin from Park West.
“A lot of people are complaining there’s nothing to do or there’s not enough to do,” Aretha McGee, a junior and resident adviser in the UPA. “So it’s important (that) people come out and vote to get their voice heard.”
Melissa Giles, associate director for Residential Life, pointed out the difficulty of advertising event such as RHA elections in housing, and said organizers had frequently discussed ways to increase voter turnout.
Giles also said community council members and senators would serve as the voice of residents and create educational and social activities for all residents.
Members of RHA said they were excited about the new members.
“We are looking for difference and change here in (the) UPA and UVA,” Gallego said.
“It was nice that more people got involved during the elections,” said Bianca Magdaleno, sophomore journalism major and president of RHA.
RHA is also still looking to fill two positions on its current executive board.
“Our ultimate goal is to get those positions filled,” Gallego said. “We’ll do interviews. We’ll have applications out throughout the semester.”
Steve Cho, freshman business major, said he would go to fill out application for a vacant building senator position after he voted at his polling location.
“It’s not really a community unless you make (an) effort to get everybody involved,” Cho said.
RHA held a training day for the new community council members and senators on Sept. 17, where they discussed their new responsibilities and duties.
Aya Oikawa can be reached at email@example.com.