The First-year Class Council (FCC) elections held by the Associated Students of Whittier College (ASWC) Senate are underway, with positions open for FCC President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. This election year is notable because there seems to be less campus culture to represent due to courses being held online and the majority of students living off-campus.
Every year, the elections help first-years feel further included and represented on campus. However, this year’s freshman, as newcomers mostly living off-campus, may not be expected to feel at home yet in our Whittier community. If this is true, it may complicate the representation they provide in the FCC, and may possibly even prevent them from running.
However, ASWC Vice President Amber Brost believes first-years can feel at home on campus, even while participating remotely.
“I don’t think [being off campus] poses an issue for the first-year Senate elections,” Brost said. “All of the first-years that I have personally talked to have seemed excited and enthusiastic about their first year at college, so I think many of the first-years will vote because they want to embrace the college experience in any way they can.”
Brost reports that first-years are, in fact, embracing the college experience through FCC elections. The FCC President position has maintained the same amount of interest as it has received in previous years. However, interest in other positions has decreased. “The only position that has not been applied for is the Secretary position,” said Brost, “but that can be the FCC’s first job — to find a Secretary.”
With most students off-campus, another possible issue for the election is advertising. In previous years, students running for the class council would advertise with flyers and be able to speak with voters in person, but platforms have now become virtual. However, Brost holds that advertising being moved to platforms like Engage and social media “will not hinder the ability for the first-years to get elected.” She reports that these platforms have seen more advertisements than prior years. ASWC will also do its part to advertise by “post[ing] their flyers on the Senate Instagram and on the Senate Engage under the News Article tab.”
Brost also acknowledged that “overall, on-campus advertisement has decreased since we aren’t on campus.” Still, students living on-campus seem to be more likely to vote, considering they are guaranteed to see advertisements in person, while online students may not follow candidates’ social media accounts or possibly the ASWC, who will repost these ads.
Should this expectation be correct, it seems more likely that an FCC candidate living on campus would win the election. However, Brost believes that because most of the student body is not present on campus, few are likely to vote for specific candidates due to on-campus advertising and will not hinder election results. This argument does, however, rely on students tuning in to social media and ASWC posts to remember to vote and find candidates to vote for.
“Since most of the student body isn’t living on campus, it may be hard for the FCC Reps. to connect with their constituents,” Brost said. “However, the rest of Senate, along with E-board, will be here to help them along the way. We are all learning how to virtually connect with the student body together.”
For more information, readers can visit the ASWC Senate Instagram and check out future articles from the Quaker Campus, which is following the election.
Feature image: Courtesy of ASWC.