Long and Sandoval elected as ASCSU president, VP after 6.17% voter turnout

Rob+Long+and+Elijah+Sandoval%2C+President+and+Vice+President+Elect+for+the+Associated+Students+of+Colorado+State+University%2C+smile+during+their+acceptance+speech+for+the+positions+Apr.+6%2C+2022.

Collegian | Connor McHugh

Rob Long and Elijah Sandoval, President and Vice President Elect for the Associated Students of Colorado State University, smile during their acceptance speech for the positions April 6. Sandoval joked that the other ASCSU members were may have been laughing at here for shedding happy tears

Serena Bettis, Content Managing Editor

After two weeks of campaigning, Robert Long and Elijah Sandoval won the 2022-23 president and vice president positions for the Associated Students of Colorado State University April 6. Nicholas DeSalvo won the speaker of the senate position, and seven students were voted into the 52nd senate

Only 6.17% of the student body voted in the election for a total of 1,854 votes, meaning the ASCSU constitution was not ratified.

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In each election, students have to vote on if they do or do not approve of the ASCSU constitution, and in order for the constitution to be ratified, at least 10% of the student population must vote in favor of it.

“Any changes made this year in the form of a lex passed by our senate was not adopted,” Elections Manager Gemma Buhaenko said at the announcements livestreamed on CTV 11. “The organization will continue to operate under the 2020-21 constitution until the new constitution is ratified.”

Voter turnout has never been high, but this year was specifically concerning after the elections manager resigned about a month before the campaign period began, requiring Buhaenko to leave her position as deputy chief justice and fill in as the elections manager. 

“I’m pretty proud of this turnout,” Buhaenko said. “Given that we had essentially four weeks to plan the elections, 6.17% is great turnout for our student body.” 

Last year, voter turnout was about 13.73% of the student population, and during the September 2020 election, it was about 15%. This has decreased from years before the pandemic, when Ben Amundson and Alexandra Farias won the president/vice president ticket with a record-breaking 26.6% turnout in 2019.

Elijah Sandoval, Rob Long, Sam Moccia, and Hayden Daeso, the candidates for Associated Students of Colorado State University president and vice president, watch elections results for the positions Apr. 6, 2022.
Elijah Sandoval, Rob Long, Sam Moccia and Haydyn Daeson, the candidates for the Associated Students of Colorado State University president and vice president, watch election results April 6. Long and Sandoval won the election. (Collegian | Connor McHugh)

Students elected into the senate included Lydia Oker for the College of Agricultural Sciences, Noah Burge for the College of Business, Sabina Gebru and Faraaz Bukhari for the College of Health and Human Sciences, Sammy Trout and Theo Reese for the College of Liberal Arts and Abroa Pereira for the Warner College of Natural Resources.

There are currently no intra-university senators or senators for the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering, the Graduate School or the College of Natural Sciences.

Long and Sandoval ran uncontested for most of the campaign period until Buhaenko announced write-in candidates Sam Moccia and Haydyn Deason March 31. Even still, Long and Sandoval were the only names listed under the president/vice president option for voting on RAMweb. To vote for Moccia and Deason, students had to select the “other” option and type in their names. 

Key points in Long and Sandoval’s campaign included transparency, mental health and financial responsibility. Moccia and Deason centered their campaign on environmental and social sustainability. 

Smiles and happy tears filled the waiting room as Long and Sandoval’s victory was announced, and they both expressed excitement to get started.

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“I just feel like the weight of the world was just lifted off me and then put on me again,” Long said. “I’m ready for the challenge; I feel like I’m up for it. … I believe in CSU.”

Long said the first thing he will start to do is connect with past presidents to gain their knowledge. Sandoval said the first thing she will start working on is building up a great team and continuing the vision current president and vice president Christian Dykson and Merry Gebretsadik started.

Nick DeSalvo, the Associated Students of Colorado State University Speaker of the Senate Elect, gives his acceptance speech after learning of his election to the position Apr. 6, 2022.
Nick DeSalvo, the Associated Students of Colorado State University Speaker of the Senate Elect, gives his acceptance speech after learning of his election to the position April 6. (Collegian | Connor McHugh)

To CSU students, Sandoval said, “Get ready for a new chapter.”

The speaker of the senate race was more similar to previous ASCSU elections with three candidates — Rithik Correa, DeSalvo and Evan Welch — facing off on how they would best run the senate and represent the student body. 

Correa wanted to focus on having the senate act as a liaison between the CSU Board of Governors and the students and also keep political viewpoints out of the senate so it is more receptive to all opinions.

DeSalvo is newer to ASCSU and is not a current ASCSU senator, unlike Correa and Welch. He has served on the Board for Student Organization Funding, and part of his platform was that he can provide fresh insight to the culture of the senate.

Welch said his main goals would be to focus on transparency within ASCSU chambers and between ASCSU and the student body and on building up the community of senate.

After winning the election, DeSalvo expressed gratitude for everyone who helped him in the process and for the students who voted for him. He said he wants to start building relationships and students should know he is always reachable to hear concerns or work together.

“I look forward to not only working with those elected but working with students on the issues that matter on campus,” DeSalvo said.

The new ASCSU leaders and senate members will be officially sworn in June 1.

Reach Serena Bettis at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb.