By Corinne Love & Sandra Diaz
By Corinne Love & Sandra Diaz
One of the key principles the Riverside City College Student Government would like from the student body is to get involved, to make a “difference.”
The student election process began May 1, the candidates met at the Student Government office, where Viewpoints was able to talk to two of the candidates, Elsa Rodriguez (for student senate) and Maximo Arriola (for Vice President), about the election, student involvement and voter turn-out.
Both Rodriguez and Arriola believe that the lack of student voters could be due to the lack of student involvement.
The lack of students being involved in the government has a trickle-down effect; this year there was only one candidate for each of the presidential positions, and only nine senators.
The small numbers of choices for student government was not likely to draw a huge crowd for high voter turn out, yet Rodriguez and Arriola are optimistic.
“RCC has really good potential to be a good community college,” Rodriguez said.
She also adds that the student government wants to pass a constitution, a set of rules for RCC, since the college does not have a general consensus of rules.
They both agree that students “just don’t know” about student senators, student government and policies.
Arriola and Rodriguez believe that one of the ways to increase student participation in the government is for students to become more aware of the activities sponsored by the student government.
These activities would include things like free juice Tuesdays, the movies in the cafeteria, Turkeybowl and so on.
Activities like these are supposed to garner student interest in politics, which would result in a higher turn out for voters.
However, the lack of student participation in these events does not propel students to hit the voting booths.
Arriola attributes this to the idea that students do not believe they can get much done.
Yet, he and Rodriguez are confident that more student involvement would lead to more votes and more aware students.
Either way, the student election forum May 10, emphasized the lack of student involvement.
It was a handful of students, primarily the student senate, and Viewpoints writers and photographers.
The forum opened up with feedback and the introduction of the two candidates.
Student Body President Ramigio Torres began his platform, informing the crowd that students are not informed enough, he further added details about the lack of student participation and that there are advantages to getting the word out about student politics.
Arriola started his platform with the same topic: student participation.
He advised that students should be involved now, and that “it relies on us, the students.”
When the question portion of the forum started, the question of low voter turn out appeared yet again.
Torres brought up the point that there is a price to pay for the lack of the turn out, if it continues, Riverside City College could be left with some future concerns.
Both candidates continuously emphasized that understanding leads to more information and communication for the students and their participation in the student government.
The candidates also pointed out to students that the activities for getting involved with this election included a raffle drawing for two Apple computers.
At the mention of the Apple computers, students who were not paying attention suddenly were.
Arriola also noted that the benefits of these activities were “superficial” but incentives nonetheless.
Torres added that the Senate is in charge of parking and areas where students are allowed to smoke.
He further added that the students’ voices must be heard so they can be a part of the process.
The forum lasted twelve minutes, with only one rebuttal question.
May 16 and 17 the student elections were held.
ASB drew attention to the elections by hosting an activities area near the bookstore promenade.
The actual voting booths were located near the admissions building.
Members of the karate club urged students to vote and aided the students into the building.
The students, who wanted to vote, were led into the admissions building to cast their ballots for the two candidates using Web Advisor.
The results of the election were posted near the bookstore May 20.
The results showed that 101 students voted, and their votes elected Torres as Student Body President and Arriola as Student Body Vice President.
The nine senators also were elected, Elsa Rodriguez and Adriana Lopez as returning senators.
As for future student involvement maybe RCC students will get more involved, and get the information needed to provide a livelier campus political atmosphere.