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Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government seeks to increase students’ election awareness

After the Ohio State Undergraduate Student Government president ran unopposed in last year’s election, USG representatives are working to advertise the process more this time around.

Applications opened Monday for students interested in running for a spot on Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government. The petition window runs through Jan. 31.

Students who want to run for president or vice president must obtain 750 signatures, while students who plan to run for senator are required to obtain 50 signatures.

But those looking to run should be ready to govern more than just the Columbus campus, as USG represents all of OSU’s campuses.

“One of the largest obstacles I faced during the process was communicating with all the students from all the campuses,” said USG President Taylor Stepp, a fourth-year in public affairs. “Reaching out to all the students during the campaigning window becomes a time and money issue.”

Chief Justice of the Judiciary Panel Tyler Byrum, a fourth-year in engineering physics, who holds an appointed position, said he faced similar obstacles.

“Getting information out to everyone in the allotted time tends to be the hardest thing for candidates,” Byrum said.

Stepp, who is serving his second term, ran unopposed last year. His first election in 2012 saw the largest voter turnout since 1975.

“I feel that was mainly due to how unified our organization was,” Stepp said. “The students were happy with the progress we were making and wanted us to continue the great work we were doing.”

USG plans to spend its $5,000 budget for advertising doing various things to increase student awareness of the election, Byrum said.

“We plan to post flyers, hold debates, send emails to the entire student body and we also have a headline event in the planning stages. More on that is forthcoming. Last year we had an issue of people with interest not finding out about the process until it was too late. We plan to minimize that,” Byrum said.

Stepp said getting students involved early is key.

“Student government is incredibly important for many reasons. We’re able to sit in on various committees, as well as have a loud voice in the Big Ten, as well as in the city of Columbus itself,” Stepp said. “(The election) this year is going to be highly competitive. I see a large field which is indicative of the growing level of interest.”

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