[LIVE BLOG] The Election of AUCSA’s New Board

By Lisa Jesudas

Collage by Lisa Jesudas

Please refresh the browser to read the most recent blog entries.

15:46 – The live blog is hereby closed. Thank you for following along and The Herring wishes you a good day.

Photo by Miriam Crane

15:45 – The new AUCSA board stands on stage and the crowd bursts in applause. Attolico closes the Elections GA.

15:44 – The CAOs are announced in alphabetical order: Matisse Bloem, Lea Heitbrink, and Josie Piech.

15:43 – Dhruv Gulati announces the first-ever External Relations Officer: Uma Claessens

15:43 – Eva Ebbers announces that the new Treasurer is Tom Heyning.

15:42 – Lucas Serralta makes a mistake and says he will announce next year’s Treasurer. The next AUCSA Secretary is Marcello Benedetti.

15:41 – Each respective AUCSA position will announce their successor. Attolico announces that next year’s AUCSA President is Versailla Kahnemoui.

15:39 – The vote is now closed as everyone has already voted. Attolico introduces the next segment of the agenda, which is the open floor. He is met with silence and the open floor has closed. Now, Attolico offers thanks to the Elections Commission, the Advisory Council, and the GA attendees. He says, “on behalf of the AUCSA board 2022-2023, thank you very much” and the audience applauses.

15:34 – The grand moment is here! The vote is open on ElectionBuddy. Attolico informs the audience that they have 10 minutes to vote.

15:28 – A chatter breaks out as the audience awaits for the vote to open.

15:25 – Eva Ebbers now explains the new voting system. She asks that the audience be patient as this is their first time using the new program. Several clarifications are made for voters to keep in mind before the voting procedure begins. Rein Bernard raises his hand, saying “it is important to mention that no one can leave” during the voting procedure.

15:23 – The proposed board is: Versailla Kahnemoui (President); Marcello Benedetti (Secretary); Tom Heyning (Treasurer); Josie Piech, Matisse Bloem, and Lea Heitbrink (all CAOs).

15:20 – The GA gathers itself together again as Attolico introduces the Elections Commission: Clelia Venturin, Jessie Davies, Esme Swain. Swain explains that the Elections Commission is merely a proposed board, but the audience is free to vote as they please. Davies notes that this was a difficult decision and there are many factors to consider the success of the next board. Venturin offers the candidates some words of encouragement. “You have already achieved a lot,” she says.

15:06 – Attolico announces that there is now a 10-minute break. The Academic Building common room is now packed as the audience rushes to the snacks.

15:03 – Rein Bernard asks what will be the candidate’s biggest challenge and ban answers from lack of interest in events. Attolico audibly likes this question. For Varytė, her challenge is to not intimidate committees as she says, “I can come off very strong” due to her passion. Bloem answers that the greatest challenge is to streamline and improve technical functions within the AUCSA. Piech believes it is making sure to give each CCT the attention they need.

15:02 – Lena Riss asks “can you describe the role of CAO in one sentence?” Varytė says it is “to inspire the committees”. Piech believes it is about building connections in the community. Heitbrink says that is it to listen and be interested. Bloem peaks his head out to see Riss and forgets a word he had planned in his sentence. He says it is to serve the community most optimally.

14:57 – Antunez asks Matisse Bloem about his point to make fewer large-scale events and how this combines with some CCTs priority of smaller events. Bloem answers that his point was merely a suggestion to have committees consider. “Of course, it is ultimately up to them,” he says. Antunez asks the on the benefits or disadvantages between first-year and second-year candidates. Varytė answers that knowing she is in a slight disadvantage drives her to perform better. Heitbrink believes that being a first-year is not a big disadvantage due to her strong participation and insight. She highlights that it may even be a benefit as they can add fresh perspectives. Bloem notes that second-years have the “slight advantage” of experience to better inform their positions in the AUCSA. Piech answers that being a second-year understands the organisation necessary to juggle many responsibilities.

14:54 – Davide Convertino asks what “vice” position each CAO would take. Bloem would like be vice-Treasurer due to his experience as AUCuisine treasurer. He says, “But, I would not want to be treasurer”. Heitbrink would want to be vice-President. Varytė says her first thought is vice-Secretary because “I love typing.” She also believes her organisational skills would be useful in this position. Piech mentions she would be vice-President and she is always a good point of support.

14:50 – Lexa von Vultejus asks how the candidates plan on increasing the attendance of third years at events. Piech wants to encourage this by communicating with committees and receiving feedback through analysing events over the past year. Varytė believes she should ask “what makes them not want to come” and she believes the solution to declining third-year attendance is sparking novelty for this portion of the community. Heitbrink agrees with Piech and proposes to have lunch stands after events asking for feedback as well. Bloem asked these community members why they didn’t attend these events and found answers such as not having time mainly. As CAO, Bloem plans on having fewer but more substantial events to accommodate for students’ busy schedules.

14:47 – Oliver West asks “Since this is the position we have most competition for, what makes you different from the other candidates”. The audience is audibly excited to hear the answers. Heitbrink says this is difficult to answer. She highlights that her active engagement from her first-year only will be valuable. Varytė says, “I’m fresh”. Moreover, she believes that her lens into the first-years of AUC will be valuable to attract people to events. Piech says she is very motivated when she is passionate. Furthermore, she notes “I want to have fun, but I also want to do a good job, and I am very good at that”. Bloem answers that a way to stand out from the other candidates is his greater preparation and research. “I am willing to go the extra mile even more than everyone else,” he says.

14:44 – As there are no more questions, the next section of election questions goes towards the CAOs. Nicolas Antunez asks Heitbrink and Varytė what was their drive to revive the ARTBoard and Pubquiz. Heitbrink answers that she and her board were motivated to give people a space to create art in “a very chill and free space” in contrast to the structured university life. Varytė has a contrasting experience as she formed a team with people she doesn’t know. She describes how Pubquiz can unite the community through some friendly competition.

14:43 – Heyning answers first. He highlights that the community engagement relies of active participance and he wishes to make this a priority. Kahnemoui believes that a change in the attendance of AUCSA events is very important as well as tackling the challenge of integrating the new ERO position.

14:42 – Davide Convertino asks what the candidates want to change the most.

14:40 – Miriam Crane asks “what are you guys most excited about?” Attolico thanks her for the fun question. Claessens replies that she is excited to work with new individuals and compliments that her fellow candidates are very talented. Heyning take the mic and hesitates a bit while the audience giggles. He agrees with Claessens. Kahnemoui is excited to interact with the new first years. Benedetti says the familiar “I agree with what everyone has said so far” and also is excited to work with new AUC members next year.

14:37 – Davide Convertino poses a question to everyone on stage. Convertino believes that the candidates should prioritise having higher attendance at the GAs and asks how they plan to involve more AUCSA members in these GAs. Versailla Kahnemoui highlights that the day of the week can be a factor and notes the pleasant weather outside on this sunny day for lower attendance. Benedetti answers that greater communication and visibility of the GAs would improve attendance. Heyning thinks “people will come to GAs if they can make changes they care about.” Moreover, he plans to make GAs shorter next year. Claessens briefly mentions that she agrees with all the points made thus far and doesn’t think this question is as pertinent to the ERO position. The audience chuckles.

14:36 – Lena Riss asks what the candidates believe will be the biggest challenge. Tom Heyning highlights working with the budget and Versailla Kahnemoui mentions being able to open up events to many groups of people.

14:34 – Attolico looks for more questions and is met with silence. Oliver West raises his hand again to try and “spice things up.”He asks Marcello Benedetti about how the new aim of 50/50 Dutch and international community will affect the community’s diversity. Benedetti replies that he is not worried.

14:34 – Oliver West asks the ERO how important it is to gather sponsorships in light of the membership fee increase. Claessens believes this is still important to help events remain accessible to more people. Moreoever, she clarifies that the membership increase will only be enacted in the 2024/2025 academic year.

14:32 – Attolico thanks all the candidates for their speeches and opens the floor to election questions.

14:30 – Josie Piech appreciates bringing people together through community events. She is struck by the diversity of the AUC community and believes it is a responsibility to invest in these qualities. Piech aims to help everyone feel “a sense of solidarity within the community.” Piech closes her speech by congratulating the audience for “making it this far” in the year.

14:28 – Matisse Bloem goes on stage and explains that he is “convinced I am dying” as he is very sick during this speech. He has 2 primary aims: streamlining how committees operate and involving more people within the AUC community. Bloem says he will listen to his committees and looks forward to involving more voices in the community.

14:26 – Austėja Varytė begins by congratulating Sweden on their Eurovision win last night. She believes that inspiration is the most important task of a CAO. “Passion is something that has to grow inside a person,” and Varytė aims to inspire that passion.

14:24 – The candidates for Committee Affairs Officer begin, with Lea Heitbrink taking the stage. Heitbrink highlights her skills in communication and extensive experience from only her first year at AUC. Heitbrink poses to smoothen and improve board transitions.

14:22 – Uma Claessens, the candidate for the new External Relations Officer position, begins her speech. Claessens is excited to take on the role to build upon the work she has already been pursuing this past year. She is “super motivated” to give back to the community and is already experienced in the ERO’s line of work. Moreover, Claessens wishes to focus on existing partnerships to enable the CCTs more collaboration.

14:20 – Tom Heyning, the candidate for Treasurer, takes the stage for his speech. As treasurer, Heyning aims to uncover how to achieve the AUC community’s goals by any means. Moreover, he wants to strengthen the collaboration between the AUCSA, the Treasurer, and CCTs.

14:18 – Marcello Benedetti, the candidate for Secretary, begins his speech. He highlights his experience from the Student Council in the past year as valuable to continue serving the community through the AUCSA. He envisions focusing on internal communication and managerial tasks whilst providing support wherever he can. He proposes creating a communication plan with his board to facilitate productive communication. “I believe I can leave AUC and the AUCSA better than I found it,” Benedetti says.

14:17 – The candidate for President, Versailla Kahnemoui, is invited to give her speech. Her primary goal is create an inclusive space for the AUC community. She is “eager and motivated” to continue developing her leadership skills and to work alongside a talented team. Her speech is closed with a beaming smile on her face.

14:15 – Now, Attolico explains the procedure for the candidate speeches. Each speech will have two minutes and a Q&A with the audience is followed by all the speeches.

14:10 – The GA moves on to propose new honorary members of the AUCSA. Sam Ringeling nominates Sophie Langedijk and Dhruv Gulati nominates Oliver West for their numerous contributions. The new honorary members step on stage to receive a pin from Attolico. Francesca Drewell nominates Lara Grassi, who could not attend the GA. The extra pin is instead given to Clelia Venturin, who did not receive her honorary member pin last year. The new honorary members are congratulated.

14:08 – Next on the agenda is the Advisory Council. Oliver West, a member of the current Advisory Council, takes the mic to announce next year’s council. The new board consists of: Dhruv Gulati, Bartolomeo Attolico, Miriam Crane, and Berber de Lange.

14:07 – Miriam Crane asks whether there is still the possibility of an membership fee increase after this proposition and Attolico replies that it would be adjusted due to inflation over the years. Moreover, he highlights that another justification for the fee increase is the overall growth of the AUCSA. The motion has passed by acclamation.

14:03 – Austėja Varytė asks whether the increase means that the tuition fee increases or whether a larger portion of the tuition goes towards the AUCSA. Ebbers explains that the tuition fee and the AUCSA membership is separate, so the membership fee goes on top of the tuition fee. Marcello Benedetti asks whether this has been discussed with AUC and their proposed tuition for the upcoming years. Attolico explains that there has been communication with AUC about this.

14:02 – Eva Ebbers takes the mic to propose a membership fee increase from 55 euros to 70 euros, which is included in students’ tuition fee. The last time there was a membership fee increase was in 2015 and the primary justification for this increase is inflation. Ebbers also points out that ticket prices to events have been more expensive this year because of inflation and that reduces the accessibility of events.

13:59 – The next change pertains to the AUCSA budget passes by acclamation.

13:58 – The revised clauses has been passed by acclamation.

13:56 – Davide Convertino asks for clarification about another clause relating to the allocated time to call a re-vote and Attolico explains this is due to logistical purposes.

13:54 – Oliver West asks for further clarification, and motions deleting a section of the proposed clause. The motion has passed by acclamation.

13:51 – A clause revision is proposed to explain the procedure for a re-run more thoroughly following a tie between two candidates during the Election GA. Nicolas Antunez asks: “how does this prevent a tie from happening again in the re-run?” Attolico replies that this appears to be the best solution.

13:48 – Another change addresses defining disqualifications from running for the AUCSA board. Lena Riss asks a clarifying question on whether a disqualified board member can run for the next academic year due to the phrasing of the change. The clarification and the clause change has passed by acclamation.

13:47 – The next changes proposed pertain to clarifying that exchange students are not allowed to run for AUCSA elections. These amendments are passed by acclamation.

13:46 – The first PM change is a revision to clause 5.5 where members are free to raise motions during the GA. The change has passed by acclamation

13:44 – Nicolas Antunez raises his hand and motions to change the slide text colour, so that it can be readable to the audience. The AUCSA members are now adjusting the slideshow.

13:43 – Attolico introduces the voting of the Policy Manual changes and explains the procedure. The votes will be done by hand.

13:42 – Attolico explains that the election will take place on ElectionBuddy since NemoVote has raised its prices.

13:41 – The first vote today is on the agenda and it has passed by acclamation, followed by a round of applause.

13:38 – The chairs in the common room remain largely empty apart from the seated candidates as the AUCSA President Bartolomeo Attolico opens the General Assembly. He advises the candidates to “take a deep breath and enjoy the moment”. He runs through the proposed agenda, which includes a section covering policy changes before the voting of the AUCSA board.

13:27 Welcome to the 46th General Assembly of the AUCSA! The common room is set up with chairs and the candidates chat amongst themselves as they await the opening.

It is once again time to elect who will govern AUCSA for the academic year 2023/2024! At 13:30, the Elections GA will commence its proposed agenda in the Academic Building common room.

This year, the election is ceremonial for a majority of the board positions as the voting procedure for President, Secretary, Treasurer, and AUCSA’s first-ever External Relations Officer will be quite straightforward. However, the three Committee Affairs Officers will have to be decided between four candidates.

If you cannot make it to the vote, have no fear! Keep up with the Election GA from The Herring’s real-time updates, starting from 13:15.

Overview of the positions and candidates:

President: Versailla Kahnamoui.

Secretary: Marcello Benedetti.

Treasurer: Tom Heyning.

Committee Affairs Officer: Austėja Varytė; Josie Piech; Lea Heitbrink; Matisse Bloem.

External Relations Officer: Uma Claessens.

One thought

  1. Why do they have to vote if there is the same amount of candidates as open spots for the postion? I will never understand AUC’s innecessary bureaucracy…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s