UM’s Student Government must act as the liaison between university administrators and the student body. In a few weeks, students will elect new members to the executive and legislative branches of Student Government. Junior Luis Goberna, elections commission chairman, sat down with The Miami Hurricane to break down the candidate registration and elections process as well as the importance of student government on the UM campus.
TMH: Why are elections at UM important?
Luis Goberna: This is your opportunity to have your voice heard. If you want to get something done, there’s a very good chance that there are five to 10 students in Student Government with a type of assignment that are willing to help you. They already have connections to administrators. You want to make sure that their goals and interests align with yours, and you can reflect that through elections.
TMH: If someone wants to run for a seat, what steps must they take to do so?
LG: Filing for a candidate seat opened on Tuesday, Jan. 16. It will run until 5 p.m. Jan. 30. If you want to run for student government, I suggest filing right now. You can file to run at sg.miami.edu/vote. The filing process does require a headshot and a platform description that will be on the ballot for students. You want to make sure you take your time on that and think it through. The sooner you start on that the better.
TMH: Can anyone run?
LG: Yes, any student who has met GPA and constituency requirements can run. In senate, these are a little bit more specific. For example, if you are running for the arts and sciences seat, you must be an arts and sciences student. However, we do have three commuter seats, and most undergraduate students are commuters, so they can apply for that seat. However, for student body president, vice president or treasurer, you just have to meet GPA requirements, agreements to follow the Elections Code and show up to the mandatory candidates meeting. This is a very open process. Most students would be eligible for senate, and nearly every student is eligible for president, vice president and treasurer.
TMH: Do you have to run as a ticket?
LG: You do not have to run as a ticket for either executive or legislative seats. If you would like to, you certainly can, but you can run individually for president, vice president and treasurer.
TMH: For students who don’t know or are new, why is it important that students know Student Government exists?
LG: Student Government does everything, in a nutshell. You’re going to be here for four years as an undergraduate student, and there are a lot of feedback issues that people can sometimes give. That’s what Student Government deals with; some of the most iconic scenery and infrastructure is a result of student government. The Shalala Student Center, which is where the Student Government office and many other club offices are, was a Student Government initiative. The new overpass … was initiated by student government senate … On much more pressing day-to-day issues, in terms of courses, we have the Academic Liaison Council and Academic Affairs that are working on getting the student surveys many professors request you fill out and give students access to. Whether it’s specific types of summarized data, like how much students rate professors on certain marks, or just general attributes of courses, they’re trying to open that up to everybody. It’s incredibly important that students understand what Student Government does because they realize all of these great initiatives that they’ve done and are currently undertaking. They’ll see how important it is to get involved in the process, to have your voice heard at minimum.
Elections will be Feb. 12-14. Results will be announced the following day 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15.
Students with questions about the upcoming Student Government elections can contact Goberna at email@example.com.