Applications to campaign for seats in Temple Student Government Parliament opened Monday. Campaigns will start Nov. 7 before a two-day voting period on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16.
The Parliament will have 37 seats for students representing colleges, classes, “special interest groups” and at-large seats unaffiliated with specific groups of students.
Each of Temple’s 12 undergraduate schools and colleges will be represented by one seat. The freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes will each have two seats; transfer and graduate students will each have one seat.
Special interest groups will have 10 seats: one each for the Residence Hall Association, students in the Honors Program, students with disabilities, athletes, Greek life, commuters, international students and LGBTQ students. The remaining two will go to multicultural groups.
There are also five at-large seats — unaffiliated with schools, colleges or other student groups — for which any student can run.
Seats for groups like commuters, athletes, students with disabilities and the Honors Program are open to students from those groups. To run for the LGBTQIA+ or multicultural seats, a student must be endorsed by a related organization like the Queer Student Union or Queer People of Color.
Every student can vote for the LGBTQIA+ and multicultural seats, but other seats are selected by members of the groups they represent. For example, freshmen select the freshman seats and the RHA seat will be selected by RHA.
Noah Goff, TSG’s elections commissioner, said it was better to open voting to every student for the LGBTQIA+ and multicultural seats rather than risk “missing any potential voters.”
“For most of the seats, you pick your top three choices, but for the larger seats that have more than one person running, you’d pick your top five,” Goff said.
If a student’s first choice is eliminated because they did not receive enough votes to win, that vote will transfer to his or her second choice, and then the third and so on.
“You can vote how you want to, rather than simply thinking of strategy,” Goff said. “Say you have a friend who you think is not necessarily going to win, but you also believe one of the other candidates is really strong. You’re able to vote for your friend first … if [they lose] that doesn’t mean your vote was a waste.”
Computer Services worked with TSG to build the online ballots so that students can access voting only for the groups for which they are eligible. A senior, for example, would not be able to vote for freshman representatives.
“[Computer Services] has been very helpful making sure the way we want to move to an instant runoff election rather than everyone votes for one person,” Goff added. “We’re going to continue working with them to make sure all of the kinks are ironed out … just in case things don’t go as planned.”
TSG’s Promotions Manager Kristina Del Mar will help organize efforts to inform students about Parliament, including ‘Meet Your Candidate’ events, which will be scheduled once candidates are announced.
In addition to discussing the new Parliament through social media, TSG will canvass at popular sites like the Bell Tower and Student Center to make students aware of the applications and the upcoming election, Del Mar said.
“With many people running, that will by itself increase voting turnout,” said Student Body President Aron Cowen. “People are more likely to know someone running and know about the campaign.”
“We’re really hoping that students’ social media presence does a lot towards making students well informed on what the issues are and who’s campaigning for what,” Goff said.
Cowen said students who want to run need a GPA of 2.5 or higher, must be enrolled as full-time students, and have no ongoing disciplinary action.
“If someone is struggling … I want to make sure that they can focus their full attention on being successful academically,” Cowen said.
The seat for athletes will be appointed semester-by-semester, Cowen said. An athlete from a spring sport could be in Parliament in the fall, while an athlete from a fall sport can join Parliament in the spring.
“I think that to run for Parliament you need to be someone that’s really passionate and dedicated to their organization,” Del Mar said. “Just by your passion, you can be a member.”
Applications for students to run for Parliament can be found at templestudentgovernment.org and must be submitted to TSG by Oct. 28.
Francesca Furey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.