By Miles Flynn | The Broadside (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the midst of the “Vote OR Vote” campaign on campus and the beginnings of the 2018 midterm congressional elections, it can be easy to miss smaller scale, local elections. At the start of this term, rather than democrats or republicans canvassing the streets of Bend, students will be vying for the three elected and six appointed seats in the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College.
ASCOCC is “the Student Voice and Student Vote on fourteen different governing committees provide funding to Student Clubs and Programs.” Their role on campus, however, doesn’t translate directly into student awareness.
Student Zach Marcum hadn’t heard “much of anything about the elections.” There were representatives scheduled to speak to various classes the second week of classes, but some classes never heard from their speaker.
Another student, Ivy Oxford, “wasn’t aware about the elections coming up.” From the outside, Oxford added, it’s hard to see what ASCOCC does for the individual, and that makes it hard to be invested in elections.
Joining ASCOCC is an opportunity for employment on campus and an introduction to advocacy and public policy, but these factors haven’t been enough to bring in students in the past.
Last election year, all three elected positions were filled unopposed, but this year, ASCOCC President Makenzie Hice hopes that more people will run. Voter turnout in an election with few options is never high, so to entice more student to vote, this year there will be more events advertising the candidates and allowing students to interact with their potential council members.
Once students have turned in their applications to run, there will be a Q&A with the official candidates, as well as tables set up in the Coats Campus Center entrance area to get students familiar with who is running for which positions. “We put up posters last year, but we didn’t table or have the Q&A, so we’re hoping this year we get the word out more,” Hice said.
Regarding how it is working on the council, “You have to be able to roll with the punches. A lot can go awry, and a lot is going on at once,” Hice said. “I’ve had to help with legislative affairs, finances, club stuff, as president you don’t have a lot in your job description but it becomes your job to take on whatever people need help with.”
“The word ‘government’ might put some people off,” Hice said of ASCOCC. “They think that we’re this powerful thing and it’s like no, we just want to provide cool events for students and food bags and make sure you’re registered to vote, make sure your voice is heard. We’re here to help students. We have resources for students, and we really care about student opinion.” ■