By Lisa Jesudas
With only eight candidates, a majority of the AUCSA board 2023/2024 had already been determined before the voting procedure. The position for President, Secretary, Treasurer, and the External Relations Officer (ERO) had a sole candidate while the three Committee Affairs Officer (CAO) positions were to be decided between four candidates. It was continuously emphasised by the previous AUCSA members, however, that it is crucial to still vote because a candidate will not be elected if more than 50 percent of the voting members abstain. After this point was clarified, voters waited for the poll to open.
The election proceeded smoothly despite potential uncertainties of using a new voting platform. Bartolomeo Attolico explained at the beginning of the General Assembly that this year’s vote will take place on ElectionBuddy instead of NemoVote due to NemoVote’s increased prices. Unlike the voting procedure of the previous year’s Election GA, which experienced some delay due to technical difficulties, this year’s poll was completed sooner than the allocated 10 minutes.
The new AUCSA board includes: Versailla Kahnemoui (President), Marcello Benedetti (Secretary), Tom Heyning (Treasurer), Uma Claessens (External Relations Officer), Matisse Bloem, Lea Heitbrink, and Josie Piech (all CAO).
Immediately after the Election GA was closed, the newly elected board was visibly relieved on stage as they were met by congratulating students. Uma Claessens, a second-year Social Science major, is enthusiastic to assume her new role as the AUCSA’s first-ever ERO. She shares that Dhruv Gulati, a previous CAO, has been building the foundations of establishing the new position over the past year. Claessens wants to contribute by communicating with the EROs of other student associations in order to learn from how they operate: “It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m very excited”.
The three new CAOs are visibly ecstatic, standing next to each other. Since their position had the most competition, second-year Social Science major Josie Piech is relieved as she describes how the process was nerve-racking with an incredible learning curve. Matisse Bloem, a second-year Humanities major, adds: “I was obviously nervous, but all the candidates are good, so no matter who gets it, the AUCSA will be fine next year”. What are the CAOs’ next steps? Piech’s fellow colleagues nod when she says, “make the most of the next few months and get to work”.
Versailla Kahnemoui, a second-year Science major, believes that all the CAO candidates were strong and is looking forward to working with them whether they were elected or not. Besides her warmth for the new board, Kahnemoui is particularly keen on welcoming next year’s incoming first year students and involving them with the community. “I’m hoping that one of my floating tasks [duties outside of the President position] is Introweek or Introweekend because I’m really excited to shape the way that they [incoming first-year students] are going to see AUC”.
Tom Heyning, a first-year Science major, tells The Herring that he is eager to begin the work despite initially applying for the CAO or ERO position. Heyning says, “I didn’t think I would end up being Treasurer,” but credits a previous AUSCA Treasurer for making him excited to assume the role.
Second-year Humanities major Marcello Benedetti is surprised by the outcome. “I didn’t see anybody stand out to not be elected,” he explains, since he thought that all the candidates were very qualified. Moving forward, Benedetti is vocal about introducing a feedback system for AUCSA events and is ready to begin collaborating with the team.
Soon, the recently elected individuals will begin transitioning into their new roles. They will be supported by the 2023/2024 Advisory Council consisting of Dhruv Gulati, Bartolomeo Attolico, Miriam Crane, and Berber de Lange.
As the common room empties, the new AUCSA board is given their first task. Together, they start to tidy away the chairs of the common room.