SGA elections outreach minimal prior to polls opening

SGA

Media: Cho Yin Rachel Lo

The Student Government Association office in 172 Tremont.

By Charlie McKenna, Deputy News Editor

With the polls open in the Student Government Association’s fall elections, the typical flood of campaign marketing materials that popped up on campus and social media in previous years is nowhere to be found.

Those campaigns, which sometimes fuel heated discourse about the issues facing Emerson and its students, have been deflated in part due to limitations presented by coronavirus safety restrictions. But efforts from SGA officials to encourage campaigning and advertise the occurrence of their elections have been minimal this year.

This semester, the organization put out just one election-related Instagram post, calling for potential candidates to submit the required intent forms necessary for appearing on the ballot. No flyers have been posted around campus. When polls officially opened Wednesday morning at 7a.m., SGA’s Instagram was quiet. Voting ends Friday at 7 a.m. 

One Instagram post went up today—only after polls had been open for several hours.

The organization also canceled Press Night, a staple of election years prior, due to the ongoing pandemic. During the spring 2020 elections, in lieu of a press night, SGA held Instagram takeovers where candidates took questions from prospective voters and explained their platforms. 

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While officials offered the option to those running for seats this fall, the candidates declined, Chief Justice Lily Meehan-Egan said.

“We did offer Instagram takeovers to our candidates,” she said. “None of them decided to take us up on that opportunity, but that’s okay. The candidates are allowed to choose how much they want to promote their campaign—that’s just an individual choice for them.”

Communications Director Hannah Flaherty, who is responsible for promoting the goals and achievements of the organization, declined to comment.

Meehan-Egan was appointed to serve as SGA’s elections and outreach coordinator in January and then elevated to Chief Justice in May. The outreach position now sits vacant, though it appears Meehan-Egan has been tasked with election outreach regardless.

“Because this is a smaller election we haven’t filled that role yet,” she said. “But we are definitely looking to fill that role with someone next semester.”

The outreach coordinator position, tasked with identifying potential members and overseeing elections alongside the chief justice, was created in January as part of SGA’s executive cabinet. In years prior, the organization’s executive board has handled elections outreach.

Meehan-Egan said she expects an influx of candidates in the spring semester, when every position in SGA is up for grabs, and hopes to hire someone for the job then.

SGA is preparing several Instagram posts to promote the elections during the 48-hour window that polls are open, she said. 

“We will have some Instagram posts going up to promote our election on our SGA Instagram in the next few days,” she said.