Behind the Scenes of Election Week

By Lindsay Shen (9)

On October 26th, the 2021 E-Board Nominees were unexpectedly announced. Voting for the USB Executive Board is a simple process that the whole student body can participate in; however, it is most definitely not as easy as it seems for the nominees. 


Similar to the elections for each class (2021-2024), the voting for the 2020-2021 USB E-Board was digital and based on campaigning, as well as speeches. Each campaign brought something new, making it hard for students to decide who they should vote for. 


The E-Board consists of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Finance Director, UCC Chairperson, and lastly, Speaker of the House. Each of these roles is vital to helping the student body run smoothly.


Every person has a different reason for running for a leadership position. Newly elected secretary, Gabriella Torres (10), said, “I wanted to run not so my voice can be heard but so I can make other students heard as well.” She believes this type of motivation and drive can help make long-term change for students.


Although the E-Board does a lot for the students, it is unknown to many how it benefits them. It can be  hard to see how a simple vote can directly affect the student body.


“You want to make sure that you aren’t doing the bare minimum, and that you’re showing everyone what you envision the future to look like if they vote for you,” said Torres. Especially due to the virtual circumstances, “all the candidates had to text as many people as they can individually every single day of the week!”


Despite the rush of election week being hard for voters, it is also difficult for the nominees as well. It is hardly taken into account how often candidates end up running against their colleagues, as well as close friends!


Recently elected UCC Chairperson, Rylie Vipatapalin (10), said, “Obviously you want to win, but even if you lose, you are genuinely happy for your competitor and know that they are going to do great things in their position.” 


Both Vipatapalin and Torres were the elected candidates for the 2021 school year. This type of success definitely wasn’t easy, but it was more than just luck. Unanimously, all the candidates had the same mindset as Torres, who stated “my main drive and motivation for this campaign was for the students.” Not only did the genuine passion from all the candidates account for their success, but the community of support that encouraged them to represent others also contributed to their election.


“I think what also led me to my success were the amazing people a part of the student body who I was able to talk to during campaign week,” said Vipatapalin. 


Through hearing the candidates and their experiences with running for an officer position, it is also important to hear a few students and how they perceive the election and the E-Board. Freshman Ashna Bhandari, a first year student in the USB program, said, “They do a lot for the school. They handle clubs and finances, and they facilitate a lot through the class.” For students who are not in the USB class, it may be hard to see the mechanics that occur behind the scenes. 


It is vital for people in these positions to realize that students require leaders to represent the student body. Freshman Casey Nguyen said, “I personally believe that a representative of the E-Board should be able to make school a comfortable and safe environment for students.”


Many other students have a similar opinion to Nguyen when it comes to what is expected of the student leaders. “I believe an E-Board representative should focus on what people of the school want more than what they think they want,” claimed Bhandari. 


Vipatapalin and Torres both described why they personally believed they had success in the school election, but what was the reason for students? Different things in a campaign can appeal to some, while it might be bland and distasteful to another. How is it possible to stand out?


“I am more inclined to vote for them when they are funny and relatable, but not too focused on their own accomplishments,” said Bhandari. However, there were various takes on what is appealing. Nguyen said, “Things in a campaign that make me inclined to vote for a person depends on their effort in posting awareness for their position, and the qualities that they have for their role in the E-Board.” Notably, it can be challenging to cater to everybody’s needs, but it is motivating to see candidates try their best to include everyone.


Most importantly, in any sort of election, the only way to win are the votes. Votes are what make up the entire election, as well as determine the new leaders of the school. Voting is clearly important for everybody; however, so many students still don’t feel the need to vote. When asked why voting was crucial, Nguyen stated, “As someone who isn’t in USB, I personally want to vote because I have the privilege in voting who I think would be best to represent our school.” Voting for representatives is one of the only ways students can use their voice, and the decision can have long-term effects. 


As the election has ended, it is important to realize the effort and time put into each campaign, regardless of who won or not. All the candidates were more than qualified, and all had the same mindset to help create change for the campus. Both the nominees as well as the student body communicate with one another to reach the same common goals for the school. Running for a leadership position is definitely not as easy as it seems, and students should appreciate the candidates’ efforts.


Regardless of the stances around school elections or the position as a student or candidate, one thing remains unanimous: everybody aims for the same goal for each student to believe in themselves, in which Torres expressed perfectly, “Yes. I belong. I matter. This school cares about me. I feel welcomed.”