Supplemental elections fill senate seats for spring semester

Allison Mueller

Ben Strand/ Winonan

The annual supplemental Student Senate elections at Winona State University to fill the empty seats currently on the student senate board were held last week.

Students run into schedule conflicts when second semester starts and are forced to take a leave from the student senate according to Ed Conlin, vice president of the student senate.

“[Winona State] promotes a ‘school first, extra-curricular activities second’ message. They don’t want kids dropping out because student senate affected their performance in academics,” Conlin said.

In order to fill the empty seats in the senate every year, there is supplemental election held early in second semester. It is not until April when the general elections—where the student senate for next school year is voted on—are held to vote in a new student senate committee for the next school year.

Conlin said it is going to be interesting this year what kind of voter turnout there is, because they started doing more promotion for elections via social media.

“Last year was really the first year we used social media to promote the elections, and we saw a lot of positive effects,” Conlin said. “It’ll be interesting to see how much they influence the election process this year.”

Gerrick Hoekstra, who ran for a seat in the college of liberal arts, said the main reason he ran was because it is his last semester and representing students’ interests is very important to him.

“The student body needs to be well-represented,” Hoekstra said. “Before the student senate existed, universities in the MnSCU system could make uncontested, arbitrary rules, and proper representation of the students hardly existed.”

Hoekstra said it is important there is mitigation between the student body and university because a disconnect between the two could be detrimental to the university as a whole.

“The students need to have a voice, and I want to be a part of that voice,” Hoekstra said. “I want to help be a part of the change and politics that keep the school running.”

Conlin says a lot has to be organized, especially when it comes to the schedule of the elections. He said they have to make sure the timeline of the elections are on par with other peoples’ schedules.

They also have to make sure everyone that applied meets the necessary qualifications to run for student senate.

Results from the supplemental election will be available on Thursday, Feb. 19, and the spring general electionswill be held in April.