Undergraduate Student Government candidates began campaigning today by positing posters and signs around campus.
This year’s ballot includes two presidential tickets. Presidential candidate Matthew Arkfeld, current USG Senate speaker pro tempore, is running with Alexander Cascante, a Greek senator. Presidential candidate Christian Kurth, the USG director of university affairs, is running with Ryan Park, currently a Greek senator.
There are also 27 contenders running for 12 senator positions, which are split into commuter, Greek and residential constituencies.
The election kicked off just after midnight, at which time candidates traditionally place their posters along Trousdale Parkway and are allowed to launch advertisements on social media.
Throughout the week, candidates will defend their stances and answer questions from students and organizations, first tonight at 6 p.m. in room 450 of the Tutor Campus Center at a diversity forum hosted by USC Program Board and at a presidential debate on Wednesday. At both events, candidates will be asked to address certain issues regarding the USC community in addition to presenting an argument for their candidacies and platforms.
After a week of campaigning, students will have the opportunity to vote for their preferred candidates any time during Feb. 12-14. The unofficial results of the election will be announced during a Senate meeting on Feb. 19.
Current USG Vice President Vinnie Prasad said USG hopes for a high voter turnout this year, saying student votes are the best way to measure which issues students want addressed during the coming school year.
“High voter turnout is the biggest goal for this year’s election,” Prasad said. “The USG is really empowered by the fact that a lot of students vote, and the more students that vote, the more voices we’re getting as to what we should be doing for the whole next year.”
USG Director of Communications Kelly Hann said 5,546 students voted in the election last year. In 2011, 5,741 students voted, up from 4,684 students in 2010.
USG advocates for student issues and puts on events for the student body. The government comprises the legislative, executive, programming and judicial branches. After the election, the president and vice president will appoint the five other executive cabinet members of the government to be sworn in by April.