Booths, stands and food trucks filled the courtyard in front of the library on April 20 as the Associated Student Government held their annual election barbecue. Students could vote for three offices: Vice President of Student Affairs and Pluralism, Vice President of Finance and Communication, and ASG President. Students could also vote for or against proposed amendments to the Associated Students of Bellevue College’s constitution. While Wednesday was the day most of the students voted, voting is fully online and started at 12 a.m. April 20 and will stay open until 11:59 p.m. on April 27.
There was only one candidate running for each of the VP positions while three candidates ran for ASG President. Abner Pagunuran is running for VP of Affairs and Pluralism. He said that he wants to bring “that sense of community back on campus,” and has already started doing that by going around holding up a board that says “What does Pluralism Mean to You?” that students could write on. “A lot of people kind of see this place as a place to just go to school and go home, and it kind of is,” said Pagunuran. “I want to kind of change that.”
Amara Jambai is running for VP of Finance and Communication. He said he was looking forward to “plans that would foster more educational opportunities for the students at Bellevue College.” He said he has been president of the African Student Association in the past, has “enjoyed my time working for Student Programs,” and wants to use his experience with these programs to continue with the ASG.
One of the three candidates running for president is Elizabeth Poiana. She said that she has three goals for the upcoming school year. She wants “ASG to get more involved on campus” and for them to be able to “hear everyone’s opinions.” She also stated that she wanted to help the around 200 BC students who are living in their cars and get them “the resources they need,” she said.
Poiana’s third goal is to have BC students be able to ride the bus for free. “At the University of Washington, students get on their buses with student IDs for free,” she said. “We don’t want to worry about the ORCA cards.”
Another candidate for president is Sam Akeyo, whose main goals are bringing all of the clubs and organizations of Bellevue College together and finding a way to represent the student body accurately. In order to achieve the first goal, Akeyo wants to organize networking meetings between clubs in the C building, that they would “start small, we can do maybe four groups at a time” and eventually expand beyond the C building to sports, theater and music organizations. The second goal would be accomplished with Akeyo personally talking to people and asking for their opinions on certain subjects. “In-person meetings are essential,” he said. Additionally, Akeyo wants to create a Canvas class for students so that they can be more successful in their online classes.
The third candidate running for president is Evan Bowman. Bowman has previously worked as the Veterans coordinator and said that he wants to transfer that experience to his position in the ASG if he gets elected. He also stated that this experience as well as his various positions on certain boards and committees will be what will help him ensure “success for all students.” One of these committees was the services and activities committee, which “recently passed a resolution with the stipulation that all students on campus are paid a minimum of 12 dollars an hour” if they are student employees of BC.
As well as candidates, there are five proposed amendments to the Bellevue College Constitution that students can vote to pass or not. All of them include changing the way the ASG does things. One of these changes will be to the voting system. Instead of voting for all ASG officers as BC has done in the past, only the three offices mentioned above will be elected, while others will be hired after job interviews. According to Brandon Lueken, program coordinator of Student Programs, the ASG had discovered that “some of the best candidates might not be the best campaigners,” and that others don’t want to go through an election because they don’t have time or feel uncomfortable asking people to vote for them. If the proposition fails, “we will go through another election, probably in early May,” to elect the other officers, according to Lueken.
Another proposition is to move one of the jobs of the ASG to the Campus Activities Board. According to Lueken, the Student Government has been responsible for two main things, managing and fixing issues that students might have and managing the clubs on campus. “The problem was that they didn’t really have time to do both,” said Lueken, stating that they would rather focus on student issues than having to mandate the clubs, something Campus Activities can do just as easily. “Activities, it’s in the name. Let them do that,” he said. This change would allow the ASG to focus more on improving food, lowering textbook prices and granting a larger amount of students a more affordable tuition. The other three propositions are based around the judicial board of the ASG and the board of directors.
At the barbecue, there were three different food trucks and a group of tables where hamburgers were being made. One food truck sold Indian tacos while another sold Asian fusion tacos. The third food truck was a dessert truck and sold fish-shaped pastries filled with bean paste or vanilla custard. All of the food at this event was free for students as long as they voted on one of the computers at the BBQ provided or provided proof that they already voted.