A few of the campaign posters taped up around the Smith Union this week
On Friday, campus polls open for the student body to elect new members to the first-year and senior-year class councils. This year, 34 students are running for 10 open seats. The online election closes Sunday at 8 p.m.
“It’s an unusually large number,” Reed Fernandez ’17 noted. As vice president of the Bowdoin Student Government General Assembly, Fernandez oversees student elections. He said that the inaugural class council election, held each year in September, typically draws many first-year candidates. But this year, the numbers are slightly above average, with 23 first-year students vying to be president, vice president, treasurer, or one of two class representatives. (Six are running for president, five for vice president, five for treasurer, and seven for class rep.)
“The first-year council shapes the first-year experience,” Fernandez said, adding that this might explain in part why these elected positions draw so many candidates. “They organize social events and bonding events, and other programming.”
What’s more unusual this year is the number of seniors who’ve thrown in their hat for one of the senior class council seats. In past elections, it’s not unheard of for candidates to sometimes run unopposed. This year, four candidates are vying for president, two for vice president, and three for treasurer. Two are running for the two class representative positions.
Fernandez speculated that the spike in interest may have to do with students wanting to expand the diversity of opinion in student government, and to contribute to the larger campus push to engage in more open dialogue about difficult issues.
Allen Delong, associate dean of student affairs, said that he believes more students are running this year than in the 12 years he’s been at Bowdoin. “Is it because it’s an election year, and this is on students’ minds? Or is it about student governance? I’m not sure, but it makes for a vibrant campus culture.”
Bowdoin Student Government is made up of two bodies: the class councils and the General Assembly. The four class councils oversee class-specific programming and social events, while the Assembly is more involved in campus governance. Every spring, the six-person executive committee of the BSG is elected by the student body, including the BSG president.