Justin Chapman | The Echo
Election week for Taylor officials is drawing closer as Spring semester continues to move forward.
The campaigns for student body president, vice president, interclass council (ICC) and student senate begins on Mar. 27 at midnight. On April 3 people can vote for their officials of choice - setting in place the student government for next school year.
"Running for an elective position is a very vulnerable but also a very cool experience because it serves as an opportunity to get to interact with so many people that maybe you didn't interact with before," said senior and Student Body President Josh Clement.
The student body president's office serves the role of representing students to administration, representing administration to students and leading Taylor Student Organization (TSO).
Besides student body president and vice president, there are four spots open within each class for ICC and two to three spots open for student senate for most dorms.
The process of becoming an official candidate is straightforward. First, candidates must attend a mandatory meeting on Mar. 5. There, information will be given to candidates about the campaigning and election process.
Then, the student body president candidates will need to receive signatures from at least 10 percent of the student body and ICC candidates will need to attain signatures from at least 10 percent of their class. Once this is finished, candidates are officially running for office.
"These initial information meetings actually become really important for us," Director of Student Programs Steve Austin said. "The one (meeting) that was just kind of open, and then there's one that's coming up that's more mandatory. The mandatory (meeting) will be good, the details that sets in place like, 'Hey, you need to do this petition.'"
Austin said the impact of student elections is significant in the TSO office. Most other offices in the Taylor community are not determined by the student body. However, Austin hires no one that works for him.
The elected student body president and vice president make the decisions.
Once those two positions are selected, the entire TSO executive cabinet is put together by them and in turn the executive cabinet each hire their own cabinet members.
For Taylor students to stay involved and find out who is running for certain positions, events will be held from Mar. 27 to April 3 to provide more information.
Clement said the first event will be a panel on Wheeler Stage in the LaRita Boren Campus Center. Clement and Vice President Julia Noonan, who is also a senior, will facilitate discussions with candidates and ask them questions. Students in the audience can also ask questions to gain more information.
The next event will be a meet and greet where Clement and Noonan will provide food for students and a space for them to interact face-to-face with people running in the student government.
Posters with more information about the events coming up will be put up around Taylor's campus.
While Clement feels this process can be scary to be out in the open as a candidate, the experience of being in student government at Taylor cannot be understated for Noonan.
"Trying to cultivate and maintain a healthy, growing community from so many people and processes is a challenging and important undertaking," Noonan said. "I feel blessed to see more clearly how Taylor community members all over campus are doing that and to have been elected and invited into that in a distinct way myself."