In 2011 roughly 325 out of 16,000 students chose the ASCC leadership in a low-participation election.
According to Director of Student Life Sarah Gruhler, 2011 was the last year that Clark College used a voting system to select their student government officials. In 2012, candidates for leadership positions in ASCC were interviewed and voted on by a small panel of students and ASCC officers. Gruhler says this process has encouraged much higher participation and involvement in the election.
Students can apply to run for the leadership positions of President, Vice President and Club Coordinator.
“I think students feel a lot more comfortable participating in the interview process,” Gruhler said.
When school-wide voting was in effect candidates would often run unopposed, according to Gruhler. “Students said it didn’t feel like people were even being elected,” she said.
She also added that the interview process offers valuable real life skills.
“One year, we had a candidate who wasn’t able to run anymore but still asked for the opportunity to be interviewed to get experience,” she said.
ASCC Vice President Meika Ahn, who chairs the interview meetings, said she will not vote. Four students and two officers involved with ASCC will listen to each interview and vote on the candidates who are best qualified. The interviews give the voting panel more insight into each candidate, Ahn said.
“One of the biggest questions we ask is if the candidate is comfortable with public speaking,” Ahn said. “We also ask if they’re comfortable interacting with other cultures.”
ASCC President Bryce Regian said that the system Clark currently has set in place enables more candidates to run and has a better selection process.
“It allows for a broader and more diverse range of applicants in a more comfortable setting,” Regian said. “There’s a lot of people who have the experience necessary but wouldn’t feel comfortable running.”
Since the change to interviews was made in the spring of 2012, an average of 27 students have run each year, Gruhler said.
Gruhler says the new President, Vice President, and Club coordinator of ASCC will be decided by the first week of June.