By Diana Lyuber
Now that there is a reliable voting system in place, all the SU need is candidates. Going from student to candidate is surprisingly simple: you can start by picking up a nomination package at the SU office or downloading one off their website. This handy booklet is jam-packed with information, including the responsibilities and accountabilities of every position, from faculty representative to SU President.
Any University of Calgary undergraduate can run in the General Election.
“I think students underestimate their ability to win an election race,” said Chief Returning Officer Tom O’Neill. “Take the chance, it’s not that big of a deal, and the SU will pay for your campaign. So it’s not going to cost you any money, it’ll just cost you a little bit of time.”
Provided they get at least five per cent of the vote, the SU will reimburse candidates’ campaign expenses. Alternatively, they can apply for an election expense grant by Jan. 28.
With plenty of positions available, offering varying degrees of involvement, anyone with a bit of initiative can find something to run for, according to O’Neill.
“[Students] may feel as though they don’t know enough about the issues, but how can you know a lot about the issues before you’ve actually gotten involved?” asked O’Neill. The first step is to show that you’ve got the work ethic and drive to make a difference. For a lot of these positions you can get paid too, so why not? It’s win win win all across the board.”
O’Neill encourages students to follow their interests, and be realistic.
“If you’re completely oblivious to what goes on around the school, you may not want to run for president, or vice-president”, said O’Neill. “But certainly if you’ve got an interest in, say, what’s going on with the academics, or with the events, then why not run for Events Commissioner?”
If you want to get involved but are wary of competition, O’Neill suggests running for one of the thirteen faculty representatives, since there is rarely competition for these positions.
No interest in running whatsoever, but still want to be involved? Why not help manage the election? O’Neill is currently looking for about twenty Deputy Returning Officers to man the polling stations. These are paid positions, and applications can be found at the SU office.
“The biggest criteria is availability,” concludes O’Neill.” You’ve got make yourself fairly available from February 15 to 17, and have a commitment to election integrity of course.”