Students elect USG members

Jenna Staul

Low voter turnout – half of last year’s – disappoints members of new government

Newly elected Director of Student Involvement Emily Kiracofe (right) and new Senator of the College of Arts Michelle Wilkes (third from right) show their excitement after being told of their win. DANIEL DOHERTY | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

Undergraduate Student Government came one step closer to realization yesterday after its election, which saw voter turnout down by nearly half from last year.

Hopeful candidates gathered in the Student Center yesterday to watch the election results on Undergraduate Student Senate’s plasma television. Only 1,295 students cast their vote Monday and Tuesday, compared to 2,328 last year.

“It was depressing looking at the numbers,” said Ryan Bernstein, who despite winning the position of senator for the College of Business Administration, felt the election’s low turnout hampered his victory. “I’m really excited all my hard work paid off, but it kind of disturbed me to see those numbers.”

Jonathan Bey, USG’s newly elected executive director, who ran unopposed, said he was happy with the results but not surprised.

“It’s how I thought it would play out,” Bey said. “I saw the people who won out campaigning a lot more.”

Emily Kiracofe, who won the contested Director of Student Involvement seat, came to hear the election results with a group of friends who erupted in shrieks upon hearing her win.

“I was trying to calm them down,” said Kiracofe, who celebrated her win by going to dinner with her parents. “It was so inappropriate. But I was so excited.”

Kiracofe said she was baffled by the dismal voter turnout.

“I think people just don’t care,” Kiracofe said. “I don’t know what else you can do. Maybe if we started earlier, or if there was more opposition, because people like controversy.”

For Josh Lea, newly elected senator for the College of Nursing, winning an unopposed seat with 69 votes didn’t curb the thrill of winning.

“I’m very amped,” Lea said. “I’m thoroughly excited. It was cool being there (the Student Center) with all the energy.”

Andrew Fontanarosa, who lost the position of Director of Community Affairs, said the low number of voters can be attributed to students’ apathy toward student government.

“I don’t know if they really do anything for the average student,” said Fontanarosa, who said he is optimistic that USG will be successful in its first year. “I think I did everything I could. I don’t have a large network here. I’m not in a fraternity, so that probably hurt me.”

Robert Haas said losing the position of Director of Communications hasn’t deterred him from getting involved.

“I’m definitely going to run next year,” Haas said. “I’m going to see how this year goes and plan my platform from that.”

Haas said he is disappointed that his campaign efforts fell short.

“I was really anxious,” Haas said. “I had a lot of people helping me campaign. But in the end it wasn’t enough.”

Katie Hale, USS’s current executive director, shared the excitement of many of the newly elected USG members.

“I think I’m going out for a drink,” Hale said, who added she was relieved that the election had come to an end. “It was a lot less turnout then last year, but it went smoothly. So, it’s the next step.”

Applications for six appointed senator positions are due by 5 p.m. today in the student organizations offices.

Contact student politics reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].

Where Your Vote Went

Total Number of Voters: 1,295

Executive Cabinet

• Executive Director

Jonathan Bey, 687 votes,

junior finance major

• Director of Community Affairs

Adam Patterson, 556 votes,

sophomore nursing major,

Rachel Bower, 272 votes,

junior architecture major

Andrew Fontanarosa, 90 votes,

junior classics major

• Director of Governmental Affairs

Ronnie McArdle, 672 votes,

junior political science major

• Director of Academic Affairs

Sean Mostov, 691 votes,

sophomore middle childhood education major

• Director of Student Involvement

Emily Kiracofe, 473 votes,

freshman fashion merchandising

Bill Hilbert, 434 votes,

junior business management

• Director of Communications

Adam Smithsberger, 446 votes,

junior advertising major

Robert Haas, 325 votes,

sophomore business management major,

• Director of Programming

Michael Szabo, 498 votes,

junior marketing major

Marie Daher, 352 votes,

junior communications major

• Director of Business and Finance

Nikole Keslar, 756 votes,

junior biological chemistry and pre-dentistry major

• Director of Student Advancement

Scott Sherwood, 730 votes,

sophomore biology major


• Senator for the College of the Arts

Michelle Wilkes, 77 votes,

freshman fashion merchandising major

• Senator for the College of Business Administration

Ryan Bernstein, 126 votes,

junior marketing major

Sean Brady, 50 votes,

junior accounting major

• Senator for the College of Communication

Jessica Lumpp, 50 votes,

sophomore magazine journalism

• College of Education, Health and Human Services

Richard Fallon, 132 votes,

sophomore physical education major

• Senator for the College of Arts and Sciences

Heather Seedhouse, 97 votes,

sophomore biology and pre-medicine major

Joe Derkin, 71 votes,

sophomore political science major

• Senator for the College of Nursing

Josh Lea, 69 votes,

junior nursing major

• Senator for the College of Technology

Neal Konesky, 21 votes,

senior construction management major

Anna Weist, 20 votes,

junior flight technology major

• Senator for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Samuel Marcum, 41 votes,

senior architecture major

Annissa Pontikos, 32 votes,

junior architecture major

Michael Turk, 31 votes,

sophomore architecture major

Nicholas Hurst, 18 votes,

sophomore architecture major

• Senator for the Honors College

Tim Muir, 84 votes,

junior electronic media production major