The group overseeing the Student Association elections is turning to social media to spread the word about upcoming election deadlines.
The Joint Elections Committee bought advertising space on Facebook to publicize candidate registration this year. The group’s chair, Natalie Cleveland, said the group made the purchases to increase accessibility and participation after some students said important dates to register were not publicized last year.
“The JEC sees these ads promoting student candidacy and voting,” Cleveland said. “The goal is to reach out to as many students as possible and reinforce the idea that the SA, Class Council and Program Board encourage their engagement either as candidates, voters or both.”
The JEC has spent $75 of their $100 advertising budget on Facebook ads promoting candidate registration, Cleveland said. The remaining $25 will be used for a campaign to remind people to vote in the elections next month.
She said candidates are expected to participate in advertising the voting dates online so the JEC can spend fewer funds on those advertisements and dedicate more resources to promoting candidate registration.
While sponsored Facebook ads have been used in previous years, there has been an emphasis on increasing outreach to students who may want to run for an SA position this year as part of efforts to make the SA more inclusive, Cleveland said.
The SA this year capped the amount candidates can spend on their campaigns to encourage more students to run. Presidential candidates can spend up to $600 this year, down from last year’s $1,000 spending limit.
“In conversations with students, many have found the decreased spending limits from this year’s charter update to be representative of GW student government’s greater accessibility,” Cleveland said.
The JEC has also been trying to increase outreach by reaching out to not only the student body as a whole, but also to specific schools and groups in order to reach as many students as possible.
Cleveland said members of the JEC emailed those in charge of newsletters for student organizations, graduate, transfer and international students, as well as students in the University Honors Program to ask them to include an announcement of elections in their newsletters.