The Graduate and Professional Student Senate is implementing a new pre-selection process to streamline the voting process during the 2011-2012 executive board elections.
If there are more than three candidates running for a position, a pre-selection committee made up of three or four current senators or executive board members will screen and interview the candidates before the election and vote to reduce the number of candidates to three.
Those three will then be able to present themselves to the senate during the election.
“Two years ago, there were 10 candidates running for one position and the election meeting took more than four hours,” said Irfan Fazal, GPSS Elections and Recruitment Director. “We created this new policy to formalize the process and to make it more efficient.”
GPSS consists of 72 to 75 senators and an 11-member executive board, which is elected by the senate.
To begin the election process, interested and eligible graduate and professional students need to fill out an “intent to run” form online, which is due Friday.
In the past, the elections would take place in mid-April.
This year, elections are set for early March so that the newly elected executive board will have more time to adjust to their positions.
“Now that elections are pushed up a bit this year, the newly elected executive board will have an appropriate transition time, a time to talk to current executive board members and get settled in,” Fazal said. “This was lacking in the past.”
To run for a position on the executive board, a student must have at least one semester’s experience as part of the executive board, as a senator or a proxy senator, as a committee member or as an executive board member of another USC-recognized club or organization.
“You have to have shown some previous leadership on campus to run [for the executive board],” said GPSS President Jenny Novak.
Because the senate only meets on the last Monday of every month, they will not convene until Feb. 28, when, along with a regular senate meeting, the candidates running for the executive board will participate in a meet-and-greet event.
This meet-and-greet is a chance for the candidates to ask current senators and executive board members questions and for the current senators to get to know the candidates.
Before and after the meet-and-greet, the candidates are responsible for their own campaigning, including making fliers, videos and sending mail to the graduate student population and to the current senators.
On March 7, there will be a special senate meeting where the candidates for each executive board position will have two minutes to speak to the senate.
After, they will participate in a question-and-answer session with the senate, talking about their platforms and goals as a future executive board member.
Some popular platform issues include promoting sustainability on USC’s University Park Campus, engaging and advocating for online graduate students who want to be involved in GPSS and voicing graduate students’ opinions concerning the Health Sciences Campus renovations.
After candidates present their platforms to the senate, the senate then votes for the candidates to occupy the 11 executive board positions.
As the election process begins at the end of this week, Fazal and the whole GPSS encourage eligible students to consider running for office.
“If you’re interested in running, contact current executive board members in the division you find most exciting and they will give you great advice and information,” Novak said.