In the last few days, the AUA community is engaged in pre-electoral discussions. It is not about US elections, but the 2016-2017 Undergraduate Student Council (USC) elections. The voting has officially launched, on October 27, and will last until October 28. 28 nominated candidates, for 12 vacant places, have introduced their plans and statements to student voters.
Besides everything, the candidates started several individual and group campaigns to promote themselves and their plans to AUA community. They were mostly active on Facebook, on their personal profiles and in AUA closed groups.
Only one candidate, Inessa Manukyan, included a speech in her campaign. During the speech she presented her plans as a prospective member of USC. She expects to endorse volunteering and extracurricular activities and create cheerleading team for the AUA sport team. Several other candidates were actively engaged in Q&A discussions, choosing Facebook as a platform.
Another approach for campaigning was the opening of a survey. This was how Annman Kantsyan and Tigran Danielyan collected suggestions from the students. As their slogan claims they are “putting students first.”
Overall, the proposals of the candidates included plans concerning attendance policies, the cafeteria, career opportunities, collaboration with student clubs, and CSR.
All of the candidates mentioned student policy reforms paying more attention to CBE attendance policy.
The issue of prices and the waiting lines in cafeteria concerned some of the candidates, so they decided to cater them in different ways. For example, in a promotional video Diana Gasparyan introduces options of integrating an application which will let students pre-order food at cafeteria and reduce long lines. Another suggestion was combo packages for students at the cafeteria to reduce the price of food.
In response to the issue of lack of awareness about career development, Diana Gasparyan encourages career fairs in cooperation with ACDO and AUA alumni. Gasparyan says that “we will do our best to strengthen the bond between AUA students and prosperous AUA alumnus, which will result in more internship/ job offers.”
One of the plans of Tigran Danielyan and Annman Kanstyan suggested that students start collaboration not only with AUA faculty and departments, but also with local organizations and NGOs.
Some candidates have even determined their role in the USC, making their points more straightforward. “The first step will be the creation of Student Councils logo along with branding,” Gevorg Hayrapetyan said. “The Facebook page will be boosted to have more followers to create a proper promotion campaign for events, sessions and workshops.”
Corporate Social Responsibility
Many Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) campaigns are planned to be delivered as well. Max Gouchian, a member of “The Pineapples,” said that they thought of different events to “establish a strong community oriented identity of AUA within the country.” Their events include thanksgiving food drive and establish a student choice corner at the library. “Our team will be adamant in establishing our presence within the AUA community both at a face to face level and online, in an effort to repair the bond between students and the council,” Gouchian said.
AUA Student Clubs
Arman Misakyan, a member of “The Pineapples,” endorses cooperation not only among AUA student clubs, but also with the ones in other universities. While Anna Arzumanyan, also a member of “The Pineapples,” encourages to hold both inside and outside of AUA to promote community development within and outside the university.
Gabriel Hovhannsiyan, who is a current member of USC, posed a question concerning the structure of USC. He was concerned if the candidates want to keep the hierarchic structure of USC.
The USC 2016-2017 election campaign included diverse plans and suggestions. There were some unusual and thought-provoking ideas, such as opening a corner for girls to solve their personal problems. This was in Narek Gasparyan’s plan, who also promises to negotiate with professors to make changes in the syllabuses and excluding exams, and to also contribute to the AUA’s football team.
Some candidates preferred to run in groups. The two main groups were “The Pineapples” and “Pentagon.” “The Pineapples” are comprised of freshman and sophomore students. “Pentagon” includes five students, among which three are current USC members, Eduard Avetisyan and Shahane Arushanyan and Iren Stepanyan. Sophomore Nare Hovhannisyan and junior Narek Babajanyan also joined the group.
Interestingly, this year the candidates and the students had their discussions online, primarily on Facebook. Both the candidates and the voters were actively engaged in the discussions and exchange of ideas.
The Bridge will follow up the results and the future activities of the newly elected council.
We wish all the candidates good luck and all the voters conscious mind.