Western Nevada Collegeâ€™s 2014 student government produced a voter turnout exceeding the national average and a new president voted in by the student body. Students elected Angelo DePerez as the Associated Students of Western Nevada president for the 2014-15 academic year.
Current ASWN President Alejandra Leon reported that 8 percent of WNC students voted, which beats the 6 percent national average for voter turnout at community colleges.
â€œAll student governments, including national government, face the same problem of voter turnout, but this year, ASWN brought the elections to the students and got them engaged,â€ Leon said.
â€œIt was an experience for all of us as we changed up our marketing techniques, as well as the incentives for why students should vote. I am so proud of everyone who did vote and the candidates that chose to step up as leaders for their peers, the college and community.â€
DePerez said he was motivated to run for president after joining ASWN and learning that the president position was routinely determined prior to the election since only one student usually fulfilled the application requirements.
â€œStudents deserve to vote for their leader, whether for me or anyone else,â€ he said.
â€œWe saw the voting stats from last year and all of us were motivated to make it a bigger event than it was in the past, and I think we were successful in doing that as a team, Leon said.
Other election winners included Tim Hoover, vice president; Jennifer Wesling, secretary; and senators Brooklyn Maw, Rielly Rose, Joeviena San and Charles Nimsic.
DePerez, who is pursuing an associate degree in Liberal Arts, won a tight race over challenger Vanessa Cross, who is studying for an Associate of Arts degree.
â€œGood job to ASWN for getting the word out to the student body, well done to the students who turned out to vote for their next student leaders, and congratulations to the candidates for all the effort they put into their campaigns,â€ said Edward Stahl, ASWN secretary.â€
Part of DePerezâ€™s campaign was to keep tuition and textbook costs affordable to WNC students.
â€œAlejandra has taken a very active role in doing her best to not only educate students about the tuition hikes that were coming and any corners that they can cut financially and if there is more funding on the table,â€ DePerez said. â€œI not only want to continue that, but I want to educate them tuition-wise for the entire state of Nevada. Itâ€™s good for them to know where their money is going to go, whether they go to UNR or UNLV.â€
DePerez also plans to pay particularly close attention to keeping textbook costs reasonable to students.
â€œWe can afford the classes, but sometimes we canâ€™t afford the books that go with it,â€ he said. He wants to see more textbooks used for more than one semester and beyond one academic year. That way, students can rent the required textbooks at a lower cost.
There also is a segment of the WNC student body that DePerez believes deserves more attention.
â€œFifty percent of the students at WNC attend classes at night, and they have every right to campus life as the student that comes during the daytime,â€ DePerez said. â€œCampus schooling goes on after 5. They leave their normal jobs and come here to be a student. I want to encourage student life at night.â€
To increase student life at night, DePerez wants to establish a location in the Bristlecone Building where students can study individually or as a group and provide computer stations and a coffee cart to keep them awake and alert.
â€œStatistics show that the more opportunities a student has to remain on campus, the more he or she is invested in their studies and in themselves. They earn higher grade-point averages and graduate quicker,â€ he said.
Evening students can also expect the opportunity to attend a Hawaiian Luau, perhaps during the week leading up to finals.
â€œI have an amazing VP in Tim Hoover, who is the head of activities, and with him and rest of our wonderful staff, weâ€™ll be able to accomplish a lot this year,â€ DePerez said. â€œStudents will see us a lot of us.â€
Leon said that the new officers will be groomed for their positions.
â€œEven though these candidates have been elected, they will not be sworn in until May 13,â€ Leon said. â€œAs is customary, they will go through transition training with the current ASWN board members starting now through June 1.â€
Leon also indicated that itâ€™s not too late to become involved in student government. A treasurer is needed and three senator positions are open.