Hosting an election during COVID-19

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Speeches for the Student Association (SA) primary elections were held in Thatcher Hall Chapel last Thursday. Students who are running for the offices of president, executive vice president and social vice president delivered their speeches to both the in-person audience and to those streaming online. 

However, there has been a noticeable decline in interest for running. Only one candidate is running for executive vice president: Kenneth Bausitsta, sophomore business management major. And one candidate is running for social vice president: Marie Rodriguez, junior research biology major. 

Until just last Monday, Feb. 15, there was no running candidate for social VP, causing SA Senate to nominate a candidate. Dennis Negrón, vice president for Student Development, said Rodriguez was nominated and accepted the nomination. She was then vetted and became a running candidate. 

Nadine Peteros, a senior business management major and the current SA social vice president, said she believed the lack of candidates may be due to having to plan around COVID-19 guidelines. 

“I think the main reason is because CDC guidelines really restrict the social events,” Peteros said. “It is more work now having to plan unique and exciting events while keeping everyone safe.” 

Because of current restrictions on social gatherings, Peteros believes most people would not want to take on the added responsibility of being the main event planner while keeping everyone safe.

“It has been a really difficult challenge this year,” she said. “I was not allowed to have people linger around and talk to their friends. People would literally come into the event, get their free goodie bags and then walk out.”

Peteros said it was difficult planning events where people could socialize with one another, so she implemented virtual games, such as Kahoot! Winners of the games could pick up their prizes and interact with their friends from a safe distance.

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