Nine Associated Student Body officers have been elected by Paly students for the 2021-22 school year after Paly’s second all-virtual election process, which ran from April 14 to 16.
Voting, which took place digitally through a polling app called TallySpace, allowed students to choose between 18 candidates running for both schoolwide and individual class leadership positions.
Those elected include new President Johannah Seah, Vice President Ashley Meyer, Treasurer Vivian Trach, new class presidents senior Mathew Signorello-Katz, junior Ashley Hung and sophomore Shamsheer Singh, and new class vice presidents senior Joy Xu, junior Ines Legrand, and sophomore Sophia Kim. These members will take over responsibility from current ASB officers at the start of the new school year. Freshman class officers will be elected in the first few weeks of the new school year.
ASB Coordinator Greer Stone said the position of ASB Secretary remains unfilled because of a lack of candidates. ASB plans to hold further events to fill this position.
“We’re planning a follow up election for it,” Stone said. “We will open up the position to candidates who did not win their race and also promote the position to more students.”
Stone said that these follow-up elections will take place during the week of April 26, before which ASB will offer applications for the position via Schoology.
In the weeks leading up to the election, candidates went through a virtual version of the campaign process, consisting mainly of social media based campaigning. Each candidate also released a short virtual speech prior to the elections through ASB’s YouTube channel.
Stone said ASB limited campaign efforts to online mediums to ensure candidates would have an equal opportunity to reach students.
“We didn’t want to disadvantage students who chose not to come to campus for school, so we asked students not to campaign in person,” Stone said. “We also reduced the budget for campaign materials to zero because students no longer need to do things like making campaign posters.”
Stone said the candidates’ adjusted effort led to a decent voter turnout.
“For our school-wide ASB positions, we had around 900 students vote, which is nearly 50%of the student population,” Stone said. “It’s great to see so many students taking the opportunity to participate in their student government.”
Seah said in her recorded campaign speech that her goals for the coming year include addressing campus issues such as planning for reopening and increasing Title IX education.
“(A goal is to) coordinate bonding events, if permitted, for Paly students’ transition back to in-person learning,” Seah said.”I’ll make it a priority to implement a student taskforce to ensure education regarding Title IX and consent … and a safe campus for all students.”
Seah also said she wants to establish strong transparency and accountability by introducing an ASB Calendar which she said will streamline ASB’s communication and publication of its proceedings.
Signorello-Katz said he also hopes to help organize in-person activities throughout the coming school year.
“A cardinal focus will be reestablishing bonding activities and making up for lost time last year,” Signorello-Katz said.
Signorello-Katz, who also served on ASB this year as junior class president, said he hopes more in-person events will help bring the student body together.
“The efficacy of virtual bonding events typically isn’t at the same level, and we’ve had lower turnout than we could at some of these events,” Signorello-Katz said. “One of the biggest challenges next year will be rekindling a sense of community since people have been deprived of that for a whole year.”
Meyer and Trach both expressed similar goals in their campaign speeches, as both plan to focus on organizing more events such as Cookies on the Quad and school dances once permitted.
Stone agrees that planning in person events will be important for the new year.
“It really depends where we’re at with the pandemic, but my hope is that we’re going to be able to provide a special, fun year,” Stone said.
Stone also said he looks forward to seeing the new ASB team start next fall.
“These students should understand the great honor that comes with these roles,” Stone said. “Let’s be optimistic for a busy but fun year.”