By Naila Tariq
For about a week this month, the American University of Sharjah's campus was covered in ribbons and cloth of red and blue. Wrapped around rails and lampposts, trees and pillars, the decorations added extra brightness to the campus. The reason? AUS was holding its elections to determine the new members of Student Council for the Academic Year 2016–2017.
A lot of work goes into making AUS run as smoothly as possible, with dozens of departments and hundreds of employees. As part of that effort, the needs of students are constantly considered, and that requires a mediator between both the administrative body and the students. Hence, the existence of the Student Council. Members of the council are responsible for giving a platform to the needs of the student body, working directly with administration to advocate for student interests. The Student Council allows for a dialogue between the student body and the administration, proving AUS’s dedication towards doing the best it can for its community.
Elections are held every spring semester. Both new candidates, as well as previous council members who are seeking re-election, can nominate themselves for a position. This year, the candidates divided themselves into two teams—Red and Blue—with 14 members on each team. There are 14 available positions on the Student Council, and each team hoped that all its own members would be elected for them. During the week campaign season, candidates from both teams and their supporters went around campus and talked to their fellow students to canvas for votes.
All registered students at American University of Sharjah are eligible to vote in the Student Council election and all students, except for the seniors who will be graduating, are also eligible to run for any of the elected Student Council offices. To leverage resources, especially for candidates with like-minded visions on how and what the council could do in the coming year, students come together to form coalitions, hence the Red and the Blue teams that ran this time around.
All voting at American University of Sharjah is done electronically. A number of voting booths are set at the university’s Student Center building with laptops serving as electronic voting devices. Students are required to log into the system using their AUS identification number and password to allow them to vote. This helps to ensure that every eligible voter votes only once and it simplifies and expedites the vote tallying as all votes, once cast, are tallied automatically and results can be ready immediately after voting finishes.
Both teams were excited, hoping that when the last vote was cast and tallied, their side would come up victorious, so they did not leave any stone unturned. They posted posters everywhere with pictures of their candidates, what their team promised to do, and why students should vote for them. Many students were seen wearing shirts, scarves and other items representing their preferred team, talking to other students and trying to convince them to vote for their side.
Come voting day, each team believed they had done everything they could do to earn their fellow students’ votes. Each team was hopeful that their team would be elected to form the new Student Council. Ultimately, however, the final results were a mixed bag, with voters choosing candidates from both teams for various positions.
Elected to the Student Council for the year 2016–2017 were:
Abdallah Moufeed Alzeer - President
Reem Salem AlNuaimi - Vice President
George Victor Marachli - Vice President for Public Relations
Haitham Moh'd Alawawdeh - Executive Secretary and Office Director
Qasim Ali - Treasurer
Community Outreach Committee
Ahmed Mohamed Hassan - Events and Activities Coordinator
Yousof Elshamashergy - Athletics and Sports Coordinator
Fatima Jasim Al Shamsi - Communication and Media Coordinator
Aashna Tandon Student - Organizations and Campus Services Coordinator
School and College Representatives
Yara Masoud Manla - College of Architecture, Art and Design Representative
Dima Ayman Kusaibati - College of Arts and Sciences Representative
Rami Nasr Alkhatib - College of Engineering Representative
Rama Farouq Tolimat - School of Business Administration Representative
Malek Safar Malke - Achievement Academy Bridge Program Representative
The continued success and enthusiasm for the Student Council elections shows how students care about being given a voice, and are active in deciding who their representatives will be.
Please click here to watch a video when the election results were being announced.
Naila Tariq is a student at American University of Sharjah.
Visit www.aus.edu for more information about American University of Sharjah