Student Senate Elections: REACHing Victory

Zach George, center, celebrates winning the student senate presidential election for the 2012-13 school year in Baker University Center. George's REACH party won each position in Student Senate except one. (Jason Chow | Staff Photographer)

The REACH party brought out their brooms and took every possible Student Senate position but one in this year’s election despite the second-lowest vote total since 2007.

With 1,140 votes, REACH’s Zach George will replace Kyle Triplett as senate president, with running mates Amrit Saini netting 1,181 votes and Evan Ecos garnering 1,489 votes for vice president and treasurer, respectively.

“It is a very coming-of-age moment,” George said. “This is clearly brought to us by students. It’s a very humbling experience for sure. We thought the real work began 30 days ago; the real work starts now.”

George plans on tackling student advocacy and administrative accountability while in office.

“They are going to do a phenomenal job next year,” Triplett said. “Those three guys have good exposure and will represent the student body very well next year.”

Saini, who wore his emotions on his sleeve after the announcement of his victory, is looking forward to collecting applications to form next year’s senate.

“I’m still nervous and anxious and excited,” Saini said. “I wouldn’t have done it with any other team.”

Ecos ran unopposed after Eric Holley, treasurer candidate for the opposing yOU ticket, dropped out after The Post reported he had a disorderly conduct violation on his record. Ecos said he plans to include this year’s independent presidential candidate Jared Henderson and yOU’s presidential candidate Tony Koehling on next year’s senate as a result of this year’s positive campaigning.

Henderson said he hopes to hold a commissioner position.

“I tried to win on purely my personal platforms without traditional methods,” Henderson said. “I’ve always been a student advocate, and I will continue to do so next year.”

Koehling is unsure of how involved he will be with next year’s senate, he said.

“Money talks, people were influenced by it, and that’s what matters,” Koehling said. “I don’t think there will be representation, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do a fine job for the university.”

With a budget of up to $4,000, REACH outspent yOU by about $3,800.
Of the 31 senate positions, the only one REACH did not win was that of the Honors Tutorial College senator, which write-in candidate Brett Weiler won by only five votes.

This year’s election had the second-lowest number of votes compared with recent years with just more than 2,000 students voting, said Kate Steven, chair of the Board of Elections.

The calm campaign was the main reason behind such a low voter turnout, Steven said.

“Had there been more campaigning and even campaigning, there would have been more closer, even results,” Steven said.

Also on the ballot were questions regarding OU’s Budget Planning Council, though the majority of students chose to not answer.

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