Editor’s note: Caitlin Burke is a writer for the opinion section.
With ASNAU elections reaching a conclusion, the new representatives are beginning to settle in. Originally only half of the senate positions were filled, which led to a special election April 3.
According to an email from current ASNAU President senior Dylan Graham, junior Ronni Marks won the presidential vote for the 2019 to 2020 school year. Marks received 584 votes, approximately 86.9% of the tally.
Lynsey McClintock was elected as the vice president of academic affairs. McClintock totaled 407 votes, roughly 60% of the poll. She is a former ASNAU senator for the College of Education.
ASNAU also passed a constitutional amendment. According to the email from Graham, the new amendment authorizes and creates the position of senate chair. This new position is designed to alleviate the responsibilities of the vice president of academic affairs.
Based on the 2019 election results, junior Caitlin Burke, sophomores Sergio Alba and Alyssa Ambrosio are the only members who kept their incumbent positions.
Burke is an ASNAU senator who represents the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her position involves coordinating student engagement events and representing various clubs. Burke said the significant adjustments brought about by the election could help ASNAU progress.
“I am most excited for the newly approved position of senate chair to bring cohesion into ASNAU moving forward,” Burke said. “We are very proud and excited that it is solidified now.”
Burke spoke about the lack of votes and student awareness during the recent election.
“ASNAU definitely wants to see a larger voter turnout,” Burke said. “Each year, [the vote count] is typically very low considering the amount of undergraduate students enrolled at NAU’s mountain campus.”
Burke said she was disappointed about the lack of awareness.
“It’s disheartening to know that there are many undergrad students who are completely unaware as to what ASNAU is,” Burke said. “We hope to see more students involved in our upcoming events next academic year.”
ASNAU holds a variety of events throughout the school year, including meet and greets, homecoming carnivals and spring concerts. Burke addressed ASNAU’s current student outreach programs.
“Currently, ASNAU reaches out to the student body through social media platforms along with sending out a weekly update email from the sitting president,” Burke said.
Burke said, social media platforms are a good way for ASNAU to maintain communication with students. She said that there are other methods and resources that can be used to improve student awareness and involvement in the future.
“ASNAU plans to increase engagement through continuing to use these platforms, along with tabling events throughout the year,” Burke said.
ASNAU also utilizes feedback and recommendation from students. Burke emphasized the importance of student suggestions and preferences within ASNAU.
“We are always open to suggestions about student preference on how they would like to see ASNAU increase our presence within the student body,” Burke said.
Although ASNAU is trying to do more to increase student engagement, many students like freshman Andrew Foss are still unaware of the organization.
Although Foss believes he is fairly involved within the NAU community, he doesn’t know much about ASNAU and its influence.
“Honestly, I have very little knowledge about what ASNAU is,” Foss said. “I have no idea how the organization is modeled, who helps to lead it or what its purpose is.”
According to ASNAU’s webpage, the primary purpose of the organization is to serve as the representative student voice on local, state and national levels. ASNAU participates in meetings and forums around campus to become informed about the various issues that NAU faces. They aim to communicate that information with the student body.
Foss said he was uninformed about the recent ASNAU elections.
“Personally, I was completely unaware of the elections,” Foss said. “In the future, I think it would be good for ASNAU to further promote and publicize these occurrences. More student votes can only help.”
ASNAU will continue to represent the study body and provide a unified voice. With the elections finalized, ASNAU executives, coordinators and senators can focus on the upcoming school year.