Sunday, May 22, 2011

Student elections need online outreach

As a former Santa Rosa Junior College student and Oak Leaf staff writer, now attending courses online through another community college, I could relate to the sentiment in the May 16 editorial, “Student elections train us for future apathy.”

The situation depicted in the editorial was similar to what I experienced during the spring semester. The college administration made an effort to include distance-education students in the voting process, for which I was appreciative — but campaign outreach was limited to events that were held on the college campus.

As a Northern California resident, it was not feasible for me to travel to Southern California to learn about my Associated Student Body candidates. In the end, knowing nothing about the candidates for president and vice president, I chose to cast no vote at all.

I agree with the Oak Leaf editorial: that students need to be given adequate information in order to vote intelligently. College administration needs to require its candidates to assemble campaign literature. It should then post that information online and send links to all students for whom it has valid e-mail addresses.

The college newspaper can and should publish profiles of all the candidates.

Candidates should be encouraged to make use of social media for their campaigning (i.e. creating a public Facebook page). Any live meet-the-candidate events should be recorded on video and then archived online or uploaded to a YouTube channel.

The presidential election of U.S. President Barack Obama relied heavily upon social media and upon utilizing multiple platforms to get his message to voters. Our ASB candidates and college administration need to follow suit.

Submitted as a letter to the editor of the Oak Leaf

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