The SG President-less Drama is Finally Over
Third-year student Lyuben Popov won the Student Government’s presidential elections on Tuesday, Sep. 27, with 246 votes against Steven London, also a third-year student, who received 112 votes.
Popov has been part of the Student Government since his first year and has served as Vice-President.
“It is a great honor for me that so many people put their trust in me and supported me at the elections. I hope I will be worthy of their trust this academic year,” the newly-elected President said.
The SG presidential elections are always held in the spring semester but last year the candidates received an equal number of votes. That’s why this year’s fall elections included not only the Senate Elections, but the Presidential as well, setting a precedent, and putting an end to the Student Government’s president-less drama. The total number of students who voted was 359.
President Popov said his priorities for this year include ensuring an honest budget allocation for the student clubs, regular updating of the SG’s website, changing the meal plan, and raising the quality of the canteen. As for the fun part, he is planning to reestablish the Christmas Ball and organize preparatory dance classes.
London has also been involved in the Student Government since his first year. He witnessed the many struggles the SG has experienced. After the elections, he said he would have liked to see more participation from the student body. According to him, there seems to be a decline in political participation on campus.
“I remain hopeful that the elected student government body will take the necessary actions to turn around political apathy,” London said.
The Presidential and Senate Elections Debates took place on Monday, Sep. 26, in BAC Auditorium. The two presidential candidates, Lyuben Popov and Steven London, both took part in the debates. Four out of 12 candidates for the Senate showed up: second-year students Georgi Georgiev, Aila Baizhomartova, and Vasilii Kulev, and third-year student Marina Georgieva.
The senators who got elected for the Student Government 2016-2017 are Kalin Banchev (181), Martin Todorov (170), Noel Ceta (142), Marina Georgieva (140), Elena Samardjieva (120), Georgi R. Georgiev (101), Aila Baizhomartova (93), Ivan Kalenski (75), Filip Mishev (71), Dimitres Kisimov (64), Carl H. Addoumieh (58), and Vasilii Kulev (33).
The debates were led by Uros Vasilev, Treasurer of the AUBG Student Government and Chair of the Elections Committee, and consisted of four parts: a presentation by each candidate, questions from the Committee, a closing statement, and questions from the audience.
During the Presidential Debates the two contenders shared their goals and plans for the Student Government. Popov said he would try to change the meal plan for the first-year students as they had “no opportunity to voice their opinion.” Inside the SG, he would work on establishing team spirit by having more personal contact with each senator and by improving the communication between the President, the Vice-President, and the Treasurer.
If elected, London said his main focus would be changing the Constitution so that the President’s power would become more limited. He would also work on attracting students and making the Student Government more approachable by having an open door policy.
The Senate Debates started with Georgiev and Kulev who were both senators last year. According to Kulev, the Student Government was “not operating quite smoothly” and he hopes that this will improve.
Georgiev said that most of the Student Government’s work last year was not “much appreciated” because it remained unknown to students. According to him, the second semester was “successful” as they organized the SG contest and the SG party, and they managed to improve the conditions in the gym.
The two senators’ plans for this year include fighting the meal plan for first-year students, reestablishing students’ trust in the SG, and revising the budget allocation to student clubs. Kulev’s focus is going to be the meal plan which he described as a “troublesome topic” for the entire AUBG community. He hopes that the Student Government will help improve the quality of food and service in the canteen.
Aila Baizhomartova is going to be part of the SG for the first time. She said that she is going to focus on smaller issues and make “everyone’s voice matter.” She thinks more students should get involved and they should feel comfortable sharing their concerns.
“I personally think that students need to get more involved in the SG and be more aware of what the Student Government is doing and planning to do,” Baizhomartova said.
Marina Georgieva has been part of the SG since her first year at AUBG and served as President last semester. This year she would like to remain part of the SG as a senator and to continue making a positive change. She said one of the Student Government’s achievements last year was that it helped foster changes in the Computer Science Department after conducting meetings with students.
Another new member of the Senate is Carl Addoumieh, a third-year AUBG student. Although he did not show up to the debates, Addoumieh is hoping to boost students’ interest in SG by promoting important posts on social media.
“I think SG is an essential part of AUBG. It is undermined by students but that is because they are ill informed about SG’s role and the limited power it has,” Addoumieh said.
Photo credits: Anu Molor