Voter turnout increases in most recent LUCC elections

The Lawrence University Community Council (LUCC) recently held District Representative Elections from Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. In this election, student participation increased compared to what it has been in years past.

The election occurred to determine the 14 student representatives for each of the seven housing districts here at Lawrence. These representatives are in charge of bringing the different issues in each district to the attention of the LUCC.

Lawrence University Public Relations Secretary Wesley Varughese said that he believes the increase in student participation is “due to a recent emphasis on public relations by LUCC.” This new focus has included buying ads on Facebook, increasing posters around campus and promoting the LUCC portion of the Lawrence website.

Voting occurred at a table that was set up next to the info desk in the Warch Campus Center. The manner of casting a vote has recently changed to that of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). Instead of having voters choose the name of the single candidate they wish to vote for, the voter must now instead rank all of the candidates in order of preference. This method was implemented as a way of avoiding even splits. It was first implemented during the elections for LUCC president and Vice President last year.

According to the results, these efforts paid off with a very significant increase in student voting participation.  Quite a bit of this was attributed to a large and participatory freshman class.

While these results were exciting to those on the LUCC, they hope to increase voter participation even more in future elections by increasing the effort towards raising awareness of LUCC through Facebook and other means. These might include current members of the Community Council sharing stories about why they decided to join LUCC.

Each district has two representatives, with one taking part in the steering committee and one taking part in the finances committee. The steering committee is in charge of club creation and other community concerns while the finance committee focuses on allotting funds to different campus organizations, as well as assigning LUCC scholarships to students. District representatives are also voting members of the general council.

The candidates entered the election by filling out an application form that included each candidate’s basic information and a candidate statement. These statements were available for students to look at to choose who to vote for.

Founded in 1968, LUCC is built around the improvement of student affairs and the reaching of university goals. It is a mostly student-run council with a focus on student life. While the Board of Trustees and president oversee big-picture running of Lawrence, such as budget and development, other components of daily campus life are managed by both the faculty and LUCC.

Between the faculty and LUCC, the faculty manages subjects related to curricular affairs while LUCC does work on some curricular activities. However, the primary focus of the Council is on social and various other non-curricular parts of campus life.

The Council is made up of a student president, a student vice president, the 14 student district representatives that were just elected and three faculty representatives. The general committee meets every other Monday at 4:45 p.m. in the Esch-Hurvis room in Warch and is open to the Lawrence community.