Mon. Aug 10th, 2020

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Online platforms used for club elections

3 min read

UMW clubs are using online methods to elect their executive boards for fall of 2020. | Pexels

by VICTORIA PERCHERKE & EMILY SEFF

Staff Writers

Campus clubs are adapting to social distancing by holding elections through Google Forms, Zoom and Presence.

Normally, when students are present on campus, Student Activities and Engagement (SAE) helps run the club elections in person through interviews. This year, due to COVID-19, the elections were held virtually.

“Candidates were able to campaign on social media for the positions that they were running for,” said Crystal Rawls, assistant director of SAE. “Once the campaigning period was over, students were then able to vote on Presence. Winners were announced through email and social media.”

Rawls experienced no difficulties in this process, and explained that after the pandemic if any club did have issues, SAE would keep open ears for the concerns of all student clubs and student leaders. “If any changes are needed, the election process will be reviewed, and worked on in the next coming weeks or months,” said Rawls.

The service fraternity Alpha Mu Sigma is one club that has had to adapt to another way of choosing their upcoming positions. Using Presence, Alpha Mu Sigma interviewed their members for positions.

Megan Suprise, the president of Alpha Mu Sigma, said, “For the elected members, [they] made a form on Presence that included all of the candidate’s blurbs about who they are and why they wanted that position. This was open to active members and those who ran in the election. After we got the results from the elected position form, those five members that were elected participated in a Zoom meeting with myself and our vice president, where we anonymously read the blurbs and the elected members listened, then the newly elected came to a unanimous decision on who would be appointed for each position.”

Suprise also said that Alpha Mu Sigma has been especially close-knit during this pandemic, using their Facebook group to spread positivity and hope among members.

Most clubs seemed to have a simple transition to online elections, including the Canine Companions for Independence club. They ran their election through a Google poll, with candidates writing a short paragraph about why they wanted the position they were running for and members voting through the form.

For other clubs, the transition was not as easy. Bee Club, officially recognized just last semester, was not so lucky with timing of the campus closure. Due to the nature of the club, a lot of planned activities were disrupted by the change in schedule.

“March to April is the time you would be getting and installing new hives, and since we never got to construct the apiary and are not on campus to take care of them, we could not get them this semester,” said club president and sophomore biology major Curtis Kasiski. “This has put all club activities at a standstill.”

Elections seemed to be the only club activity that did not pose an issue for its members, given its status as a new club, those currently holding positions haven’t served a full term, so they plan to stay in their positions until next semester. For the rest of this semester, the club is focusing on using social media to share information about their goals and how you can help the bees from home.

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