A record 2308 students voted in this year’s election for the Associated Students of NMU (ASNMU) representatives and four ballot initiatives. Ballot initiatives for The North Wind, Radio X and Campus Wellness passed and ASNMU’s was voted down. Lucia Lopez beat T.J. Weber for ASNMU president and Courtney Russell won vice president.
“I think that (students) were able to see past the politics, which is really refreshing,” Lopez said. “The numbers were so high in the polls and that was really, really nice to see. It came to the point where I was just so excited that people were voting so much that I forgot I was even running.”
Lopez won with 1212 votes, to Weber’s 800. She and Russell will be sworn into office at the next ASNMU meeting on Monday, April 12 and both are looking forward to enacting the changes to office that they ran on.
“I’m going to reform ASNMU; that is the main goal that Courtney and I have. We want to make sure that when fall comes, we’re up and running and students are way more able to meet with ASNMU and to know what ASNMU is. A lot of stuff we want to do is through orientation … I think that’s a good place to start,” Lopez said.
Both Lopez and Russell said that they want students to know that they are approachable and that they will do everything in their power to help all students.
“They should come to the ASNMU office,” Russell said. “Don’t be scared to come up to Lucia or myself or anyone else on ASNMU and talk to us, come hang out, let us know issues and worries and how we can help you.”
All candidates who ran for ASNMU general assembly were uncontested and voted into office.
Erin Astle, general manager of Radio X, said that she is thrilled that their ballot initiative passed, making it possible for them to buy a new transmitter and make radio quality better for all students. She said she was nervous to hear the results.
“I was just sitting in the station just hanging out, anxiously awaiting the results,” Astle said. “It was just a big, group ‘whoo hoo,’ high fives all around (and) we crossed it off of our big goals list. It was really, really exciting.”
Astle said that installation of the transmitter may take some time, but that it’s good to know that this is something that students want.
“Within the next year, students should expect better signal quality, bigger signal range, the same Radio X as before but better,” Astle said.
The one initiative that was not passed was a $1.98 increase for ASNMU that would go toward executive board pay. Current ASNMU president Jason Morgan said that this vote is likely reflective of students’ concern about money and how information was presented to students.
“I think Initiative 1’s failure is a clear sign that students primary concern is cost right now and affordability of school,” Morgan said. “And I think that’s definitely going to be something that the next administration is going to have to find a solution to.”
He believes it will be hard for the next administration to balance the responsibilities in office as well as find a way to afford tuition, since their pay is likely to be cut.
“I don’t think you can effectively be a board member if you have another job or two or other commitments,” Morgan said. “But the next administration is going to have to balance more work than they already have.”