Greathouse, Cler win student elections

The votes are in for the Undergraduate Student Government president for next school year and the student trustee for the SIU Board of Trustees.

Brittany Greathouse, a sophomore from Bolingbrook studying accounting, was elected USG president, while Jesse Cler, a junior from Penfield studying agribusiness economics and plant and soil sciences, was elected student trustee Thursday night after votes were counted. Undergraduate and graduate students were able to cast their ballots Wednesday and Thursday at the Recreation Center and the Student Center.

Election commissioner Peggy Sullivan said the election went smoothly.

“I have had an opportunity to talk to all of the candidates and was at the debate, and I think that regardless of who won, we had a really great slate of candidates this year, all-in-all,” she said. “They all had something positive to say and I think any one of them would have done a good job.”

Greathouse received 540 votes, while Jeff Rusin, a freshman from Schaumburg studying business administration and political science, received 122 votes.

For the student trustee position, 299 voted for Cler, 209 for Geoff Grammer, a second-year law student from Alton, and 194 voted for Tyler Chance, a junior from West Frankfort studying political science.

Both Greathouse and Cler said they were excited. As USG president, Greathouse said she hopes to get more students involved with student government, adding that she wants to work more with RSOs to host events as well as restructure the duties of USG senators.

“I just want to become familiar with the whole campus, and next year I will hopefully make a mark or impact somehow,” she said.

At Monday’s debate, candidates voiced their stances on different topics affecting students, including the potential increase for tuition and fees.

Greathouse said she knows USG cannot make a decision on whether tuition and fees are raised, but she said students can unite through student government.

“If students want tuition to decrease, students have to get involved and have to want and help to make tuition decrease,” she said. “And if students take part in it, I feel like that initiative could work, because without students, there isn’t a university.”

Taking office with Greathouse is newly elected vice president Corbin Doss, a junior from Springfield studying civil engineering, and chief-of-staff Hannah George, a sophomore studying social work.

Cler said although campaigning became tedious, it was worth it.

Cler said he was concerned with retention and enrollment. Cler said he wants to get more students to SIU by working with different programs and creating mentoring programs to make them feel more at home.

“And I want to get our image back at this university,” he said. “It has an image. That’s why I came here, but I want to strengthen that. I want it to thrive.”

Cler said he thinks support from students in agriculture programs and the Greek community helped him win the election. He will hold the position of trustee from May 2012 through June 20, 2013.

Although the winners were pleased with the results, voter turnout was lower than last year. For the undergraduate position, 662 votes were cast, while 702 were cast for the trustee election. Last year, Sullivan said she believed there were about 1,000 votes.

“I think it’s the fact that it’s paper ballots. You have to go to the polling location,” she said.

In hopes of improving turnout as well as making the counting process more efficient, Sullivan said the commission is looking at creating an electronic process for next year.

 

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