After three rounds of the Associated Students California Lutheran University Government elections for Senate Director and Programs Board Director, the results are in. The new 2018-19 ASCLUG Senate Director will be Alexis Ghattas, and Programs Board director will be Heather Wilson-Hooker.
Ghattas is currently a junior representative and has been involved with the student government since her freshman year. Ghattas said she initially joined because she has a strong sense for advocating for people to get jobs done.
“I’m so passionate about it and I’m very excited for what my board wants to do and the ideas they put through – I believe whole-heartedly we can get them done,” Ghattas said.
Wilson-Hooker is a junior and first joined ASCLUG this academic year. Wilson-Hooker said the reason why she wanted to join Programs Board and eventually become director was because of the positivity it brought to her college experience.
“I really wanted to be on student government. I’ve been super involved on campus since my freshman year and I was always going to student government events; I think that’s really what affected my view of Cal Lutheran, the events I was going to,” Wilson-Hooker said.
Because Executive Cabinet election policies require at least one candidate to receive a 50 percent plus one majority vote in order to win, Senate went into a runoff election with Ghattas and Freshman Representative Garrett Mueller. Programs Board went through three election cycles after Wilson-Hooker was disqualified, contested the decision, ran again against three other candidates and finally won the runoff against Junior Representative Kalin Woodward. In order to get students to keep voting through all three rounds, the elections committee used incentives like giving away free cupcakes and pizza to the students who showed their receipt of voting on Blackboard.
Another way some candidates were campaigning for votes was through the Snapchat application on smartphones by creating a filter that users could see around the Cal Lutheran campus.
“The fact that less people are going to vote each time just strengthens the power of your individual vote,” Senate Director and Elections Committee Chair Daniel Buonauro said.
Buonauro said that usually each election season there are around 400 votes from undergraduate students. With 2,963 enrolled undergraduates at Cal Lutheran, which is around 13 percent of the undergraduate student body.
“Outreach is the biggest issue because some people are going to want to be involved and be in the know, and other people just don’t care. How do you get that message out to the people that don’t care?” Ghattas said.
Ghattas said as a candidate, it was more efficient for her to go door-to-door in the residence halls because the personal touch gives voters a closer interaction, which can lead them to feel like their voices will be heard if they participate.
Ghattas said she is both excited and nervous for her new role as Senate director.
“It was surreal just because I’ve waited for such a long time, I mean I’ve been on Senate for three years so [it’s been] long waited for,” Ghattas said.
Wilson-Hooker said she was in her acting class when she got the call to find out she had won the Programs Board director position.
“I legitimately squealed in front of Gumby; it was just so heart-warming. I went through this election with three rounds of voting, so just to get a call, my heart was pounding,” Wilson-Hooker said.
Current Programs Board Director Samantha Schindler stressed the importance in participating in voting for the elections and why she first joined ASCLUG.
“I like being a part of the student government, it’s an organization that feels like a family. I also like to think of it as giving back to the Cal Lutheran community,” Schindler said.
The new ASCLUG members went on a retreat in Moorpark this past weekend to learn about their future positions, as well as get some bonding time with the entire board. They prepared for this transition retreat by reviewing a packet with a calendar of events for next year.