By Chris Takahashi | Staff Writer
Today marks the first day of the KCC Student Congress election season for the the upcoming 2017-18 academic year. Prospective candidates who meet eligibility requirements can now officially enter the race for the following positions: president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and public relations.
Prospective candidates will have until Wednesday, March 22 at 4 p.m. to submit their candidacy application to either the Student Congress Office (‘Iliahi 129) or by email (email@example.com). Students will also need to attend an orientation session held in ‘Iliahi 123C from 3 p.m.-4 p.m. on either Tuesday, March 14 or Monday, March 20.
According to the KCC Election Packet, campaigning will begin on Monday, April 3, and continue through Friday, April 14. The voting session will be done electronically and will also commence on April 5. Voting will conclude on Wednesday, April 19, and election results will be made available to the public a week later on Wednesday, April 26.
The composition of the current Student Congress features a trio of students representing the official governing body of KCC for the first time, and one returning member from the previous year. First-year members include Tasi Yanger as president; Jamie Nguyen as secretary; and Stephan Bradley in the public relations position.
Ish Salameh previously held the role of secretary during the 2015-16 academic year and currently serves as vice president. Salameh will be running for president of Student Congress in this year’s election.
The KCC Student Congress has become much more active than in years prior, a development that can be traced back to former chair of KCC Student Congress, William Arenivas. Arenivas served for two years at KCC and is now presently a senator in the UH Mānoa Student Government.
“He (Arenivas) was the reason for the spark,” Salameh said.
Under Arenivas’ leadership, KCC Student Congress was able to begin a restructuring process that enabled the governing body to become much more accessible to the concerns of students.
Moreover, Student Congress today now has a much more balanced relationship with the KCC administration in terms of “checks and balances,” said Yanger.
Yanger remarked that the current academic year has been a “foundational year” for Student Congress. Much of the organization structure, including required forms for members-at-large and registered independent organizations (RIOs), had to be created from scratch.
Moving forward, and due largely to previous years in which funding for student organizations was decreased, KCC Student Congress will preside over a surplus budget. In order to apply for funding, RIOs must have a representative attend at least 70 percent of the Student Congress meetings before the funding requests can be reviewed.
During the most recent Student Congress meeting on Wednesday, March 1, the KCC Ecology Club received funding for their once-a-semester trip to the Big Island to help the reforestation efforts at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge.
Though only one RIO (Ecology Club) applied for funding in the most recent meeting, there are four Student Congress meetings on the calendar for the remainder of the semester. Meetings take place every other Wednesday and the last Student Congress meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 3 from 2-3:30 p.m. in ʻIliahi 123AB.
For students interested in running for elected office in Student Congress, and for the full schedule of upcoming meetings, information can be found here. Questions about the positions or the election can also be directed to Faculty Advisor Shannon Sakamoto by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
[Correction: This article has been updated to reflect a change in dates for the candidacy orientation and deadline to submit an application to run in the election. Also, a previous version of this article stated that voting started on April 3. This was incorrect information that was provided to Kapiʻo News. Voting starts on April 5. We apologize for the errors.]