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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

New student government officials announced

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stu gov voting numbers

Polls closed for student government elections closed at 5 p.m. on Feb. 28, and with a total of 287 votes cast in the election, the president-elect Kiersten Florence, vice president-elect Shaelyn Jaynes and the five elected senators at large were chosen to serve and represent the student body of almost 38,000 for the 2023-2024 school year.
Less than 1% of the student body voted in the election. Diego Vila Peña, a psychology senior, said he did not know about the elections and that more can be done to increase involvement in student government elections.
“I feel like they should definitely do a better job of talking about it,” Vila Peña said. “Making sure more people are involved, they’re representing us, but we’re not participating.”
Jonas Tuttle, a computer science freshman, said more involvement in elections can help students feel more represented.
“I feel like if more people knew about it, they could have more say in it, you know, not just the results,” Tuttle said. “It would feel like the individual would have more representation themselves for everything.”
According to Kathryn Weiser, assistant dean of students and co-adviser of Student Government, it is important for the student body to engage with Student Government
“I think it’s very important because they are the official voice of the student,” Weiser said. “If students are wanting something, or needing something, that’s why they should go to engage with student government.”
The influence and power of the president and vice president go beyond the parameters of the university to the Board of Regents.
“The president or the vice president go to the Board of Regents meetings,” Weiser said. “Each of our Texas State University systems schools have a student advisory board, where they talk about what core concerns and issues that all of the institutions are dealing with. It’s very important not only here at Texas State, but beyond because then they can get more support from the Board of Regents.”
Tuttle said there can be more of a presence on campus by the student government to help enact the change that the student body wants. 
“If they had more presence on campus, me and other people would really know about what’s going on and so we would have more of an opportunity to talk to them and ask for change,” Tuttle said. “If they’re just kind of doing their own thing, in a separate room, even though they represent the people sometimes they can’t get the full scope of what the people want without being you know, involved with things.”
Vila Peña said that the current president, Malik Johnson, has done a good job of having a presence within the community and that the effort he has put into getting to know the community has been effective. 
“Our current president, he’s more involved, you see him everywhere,” Vila Peña said. “Social media only gets you so far, and like a table on the Quad can only get so far. Being out in the community, that’s how you get to know people, and that’s how people get to know you, too.”
According to Weiser, one of the goals the new group of electees has is to increase engagement within the student body and student government.
They plan on rewriting the organization’s constitution and codes to make it easier for the student body to understand how the student government actually works. 
“One of the other goals they have is to rewrite their governing document. That will also help with engagement,” Weiser said. “Those governing documents are so long and convoluted. So hopefully, we’re going to make those better to make them easier to read and navigate.”
President-elect Florence currently serves as the student body vice president, and she hopes to promote another initiative for physical and mental health through social activities and through this initiative to form an exploratory committee. 
“We also have a desire to continue the promotion and access to new and existing resources for mental and physical health, along with developing social activities that allow for meeting new people which enables for the development of new personal friendships,” Florence said in a statement. 
Florence and her team want to achieve this by raising engagement and promoting the student body’s school spirit at Texas State athletic events.
“A healthy and connected community provides an opportunity to lift up individual students for positive recognition that may be doing great things that the majority may not know about under ordinary circumstances,” Florence said in a statement.
During the transition from vice president to president, Florence hopes to set up committees that can help address the grievances and concerns of the student body.
“I know that a lot of students have experience and great insight that can be of tremendous value and would like to contribute their ideas and solutions that will benefit students and improve campus life,” Florence said. “Students can take part in making improvements for students and life on campus.”
Florence is hopeful for what stepping into this role has in store.
“I am hopeful that together as Bobcats we can all be a small part in becoming participants for a greater purpose than only ourselves for the benefit of all Bobcats. It is my goal to serve the student body to the best of my ability while putting myself into the shoes of others to represent all students and the interests of students.”
The formal inauguration will be from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11.

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