It was a bittersweet day for the ASGCC as members of the 2005-2006 legislature prepared to hand over their positions to incoming AS officers. But the May 30 elections saw the return of many ASGCC members, with Vice President of Finance David Arakelyan taking over as president of the ASGCC.
Arakelyan, who has climbed the AS ladder from Senator of Finance in spring 2005 to Vice President of Finance fall 2005-2006, will replace outgoing president Armineh Dereghishian as head of the AS legislature.
The spring 2006-2007 elections, where Arakelyan and 19 members of his new legislature met with success, was a quiet one, with only one position contested, that of the Vice President of Campus Relations. Representative of Finance Christine Gharibian eventually beat out Senator of Campus Relations Hermine Sarkisyan for the position.
Sarkisyan graciously accepted defeat with a heartfelt speech congratulating her opponent’s victory and highlighting the positive nature of her experiences with the ASGCC.
Unlike in the past, this semester’s election did not bring with it a flurry of campaign posters, speeches and candidates chasing after voters. The elections, which usually draw anywhere between 800 and 1,200 voters each semester, failed to draw a large number of candidates vying for positions and in turn a smaller population of voters.
“Usually we have fewer people running for positions in the spring semester versus those who run in the fall semester,” said Arakelyan in response to the lack of student interest in the ASGCC elections. “Unfortunately, we had little competition during elections this year. Many of our current members are transferring, which in turn results in fewer candidates.”
With 21 elected positions and five appointed ones, there is plenty of opportunity for interested students to gain entry into the ASGCC. In fact, the offices of Senator of Campus Activities and Campus Relations are both short one officer.
One of the goals of the 2006-2007 legislative body will be to boost student interest in the workings of the ASGCC.
“We are planning on increasing our recruitment efforts next year in order to have more contested and thus more interesting elections,” added Arakelyan. “It is important to reach different groups of students in order to have students of various academic and cultural backgrounds representing our student body.”
More ASGCC members may be needed with important issues like block scheduling, the parking situation and enrollment dominating the table during the next few semesters.
As for Arakelyan, his vision for his tenure as President of the ASGCC revolves around his commitment to representing the student body.
“In my term as president, I hope to be able to make our organization closer to the students and address any needs or desires that our students might have,” said Arakelyan, with the hope of opening up the ASGCC to more students. “Being an ASGCC President will give me an opportunity to use the resources and influence that the organization has to make the voices of our students heard at all levels.”
While Arakelyan gave no detailed account of what he plans to accomplish as president it’s clear that his main focus is the representing the voices of the students whom he has been elected to represent.
With the new legislature set to take office on June 20, the current members of the ASGCC are still busy making final revisions to the AS budget.
The distribution of the quarter of a million dollar AS budget continues to occupy the officers as they approve the allocation of $2,700 for supplies and tournament membership fees for the Forensics Team as well as $2,000 for Eclipse, a literary journal put together by students.
The AS has not even finished fully allocating its 2006 budget before work began on the 2007 budget of $264,798.77.
It seems that next year’s budget will be close to this year’s, due to a lack of additional incoming funds.
According to Arakelyan, “enrollment is down so we won’t be getting any additional revenue; therefore our budget is roughly equal to before.”
As the semester draws to a close, emotions are running high at the ASGCC with the legislative body saying farewell to many members while welcoming several new officers as they conclude a semester characterized by influential decisions, heavy debates and long- term plans.