By Sean Gallagher,
On the first day the ASB elections opened, Student Government hosted a virtual town hall for students to get the opportunity to ask questions and meet the candidates. The event was held during lunchtime, featuring multiple breakout rooms and rolling discussion.
“At school, if we were in person you would meet the candidate in your class or around school. But this year, online, it’s harder to build that same connection,” senior and ASB vice president moderator Jairi Diaz said. “Virtually doing this debate allows you to look at the candidate and see who they really are and what they want to do for the school.”
Students attending the virtual town hall filtered between breakout rooms, each with the candidates running for the position and a moderator from the Student Government class.
The most contested race, the ASB President race, featured juniors Chloe Barr and Apurva Mishra.
“My main goal is to get students involved so maybe throw out a poll or something to see what students actually want and give the students what they want,” Barr said.
Moderators had four standard questions to ask every candidate regardless of the position they were running for and the rest were student and moderator created questions. In addition to discussing their goals for the school, candidates discussed how they would make sure events like Homecoming and Prom would be possible.
“We need to make sure we have a timeline to hold ourselves accountable for the changes we hope to happen. We’re a student government, we’re supposed to keep accountable, we’re supposed to keep responsible,” Mishra said.
Candidates in the ASB President race were asked questions ranging from their favorite foods to their ideas for improving mental health and fostering a supportive community.
“Some of [the students in attendance] stayed but some of them did leave and come back so they could check out other breakout rooms,” Diaz said. “I personally enjoyed it; I thought it was a good conversation and it went a lot more fluidly than I thought it would. The candidates were very engaging.”
According to sitting ASB President Keane Deas, the event was made possible by a lot of last-minute planning from Student Government.
“Members of Student Government came up with the idea, and theory put it into motion really quick. I was impressed. We’ve had ideas for this in the past but I think this year, since no one has much of a chance to meet the candidates in person, it became more important and probably needed. I liked everything about it,” Deas said.
Diaz and Deas both agree that this Townhall format is worth considering for future ASB elections.
“I think it allows people to see more of the candidates than just a minute-long speech,” Deas said.