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One of around 200 yard signs scattered around UNLV for senate election (Photo/Ricardo Torres).
One of around 200 yard signs scattered around UNLV for senate election (Photo/Ricardo Torres).

CSUN Campaigning for Higher Turnout During the Senate Election

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Campaign season began last week for the CSUN Senate, the undergraduate student government at UNLV. Voting occurs Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at voting booths on campus and online at my.unlv.edu.

Two-hundred yard signs, 11 polling stations and fliers adorn UNLV this week as 42 candidates vie to fill the 25 available CSUN Senate seats. Students from each college elect their own representatives.

Around $1 million in funds is allocated to CSUN from student fees for services and events provided to UNLV undergraduate students. The CSUN Senate votes on how those funds are allocated.
CSUN stands for Consolidated Students of the University of Nevada.

CSUN’s website (www.unlvcsun.com) has a biography of each candidate and some candidates provide a short promotional video.

“Most people at UNLV don’t know about the many things that CSUN has to offer,” Basma Awada, psychology and economics major running to represent the Lee Business School, says in her video.

Ken Minster, incumbent senator representing the College of Liberal Arts says in his, “I have been an effective steward at making sure that your funds are spent the best way they can.”

It’s part of an effort to get more students to vote, said Kanani Espinoza, CSUN elections director. A typical CSUN election draws around 2,000 undergraduate voters, but Espinoza said the goal this cycle is 5,000 voters.

“We are advertising the candidates more than ever before,” Espinoza said.

Matthew Johnson, who is running to represent the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering, said he hopes the effort works.

“They don’t have to vote for me. They don’t even need to be in my college,” he said. “I just want as many students as possible to exercise the right to.”

Candidates are allowed to use no more than $250 for campaigning. Most of those funds are used to purchase or craft self-promotional materials.

“A lot of them choose to pass out fliers … especially the two voting days on campus,” Espinoza said. On Sept. 25, a mixer in the Student Union allowed students to meet the candidates.

To run for CSUN Senate, undergraduates must be admitted into the college they want to represent, maintain a 2.5 GPA, be enrolled in at least seven credits and have perfect attendance during Monday night CSUN meetings.

Matthew Millett, a Lee Business School senator who is not running for re-election, commented on the benefits of serving in student government.

“I’ve learned that with persistence and patience goals can be accomplished so long as you build relationships and have the intestinal fortitude to act,” Millett said.

Millett and Johnson were the only senators or candidates who commented on the campaign. CSUN President Mark Ciavola and nine candidates did not respond to emails requesting comment.

More information can be found at www.unlvcsun.com/election2013.

Ricardo Torres can be reached at rickytorresc@gmail.com.

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