The USC elections are slated to kick off two weeks earlier this year with nominations opening on Dec. 5 and closing on Jan. 13.
In previous years, nominations for the election were opened up right before the start of winter break.
This early shift in the election period was approved in the first meeting of this year’s council. Isaac Jacobi, USC secretary treasurer explained that the extra two weeks could potentially help with any hiccups in the elections process.
The entire election process is set to end two weeks earlier than it did in previous years, giving some breathing room before the February reading week.
“If there was to be an appeal or any contest with the election, we would have time to look into that and resolve that,” Jacobi said. “[For example], the communications officer and the secretary treasurer will be hired with enough time that they will be able to select people for their portfolio as well so that appointments wouldn’t go too far into the summer.”
The USC elections planning committee is currently working on promotional campaigns for the election and brainstorming ways to get Western students out to vote this year. According to Erin McCauley, USC chief returning officer, campaigns will run in both first and second semester to encourage nominations and involvement in the voting process from the general student body.
“We have a lot of systems in place from last year, so in terms of all the governance, that’s really strongly in place,” expressed McCauley. “And then what we’re really trying to do this year is really push 'Get Out the Vote'.”
According to McCauley, there will be a large social media push and booths set up in the UCC during the campaigns. She believes that the change in campaigning period will raise awareness and involvement among students as it will not occur during the majority of midterm season during second semester.
With the earlier election, both Jacobi and McCauley expects to see more applicants this year.
“More applications because of a bigger marketing push and actually clarifying what the positions are,” said Jacobi, as he adds that USC is working on initiatives in restructuring the councillors’ terms of reference. “Hopefully, that will help prospective applicants understand what they will be applying for.”
In the winter elections, students are able to apply for all elected USC positions including the president and vice-president slate and councillor positions.
Elections for student positions for the Western Senate and Board of Governors are held alongside the USC elections.