During the past few months, the Woodland Regional Student Government has found that running an organization during a pandemic is difficult.
“Last year we went months without holding any official senate meetings,” said Gavin Moffat, Acting Student Body President. “Our policies didn’t allow for us to continue during the lockdown.”
The WRSG hosts many significant events at Woodland. Each autumn, they sponsor Club Fair and Homecoming, and every spring, they host elections to find the newest set of student leaders. Generally, these events are supervised and run by Woodland’s Student Body President. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, the elections were postponed, leaving many members with expired terms and Student Government with no president.
For situations like this, the WRSG has a chain of command that delegates who will assume the role of president if the position is vacant. Usually the job goes to the vice president first and then down the list of executive members. However, because almost all cabinet positions are one-year terms, most of these positions were vacant as well. As Board of Education representative and the only executive member with a two-year term, the job fell to Moffat. He has since had to take up the resulting duties of an interim Student Body President. But with all the new responsibilities, he is glad that the job is only temporary.
“Being Student Body President is not for me,” Moffat explained. “You don’t realize how much work it is until you’ve actually taken up the position.”
Fortunately for him, Moffat will not have to fill the role for much longer.
Elections for the 20th Congress of the WRSG are taking place in the last two weeks of September; however, candidates and students who plan to vote can expect some changes to the system this year.
Emily Laput, current candidate for Student Body Vice President, used her experience as former Recording Secretary to design the voting method that the WRSG will be using this year. Usually, voting is done during lunch waves using traditional voting booths. Students select who they want to vote for using levers, and then their selection is recorded and cleared after they exit the booth. This year, in order to comply with Department of Health regulations, voting and registration will be done online via Google Form instead.
Campaigning for candidates is also taking a virtual turn. The traditional method of using posters will not work this year. Instead, the official WRSG campaign website is being utilized to showcase candidates’ platforms. Moffat says that social media is also being considered as an outlet for candidates to campaign. He took inspiration for this idea from former Student Body President of the 18th Congress, Bayan Galal, who is currently running for a press position at Yale.
“I saw [Bayan] was using Instagram to advocate for her campaign, and I thought we could do something like that,” Moffat said.
Despite the obstacles that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced upon the WRSG, they are using this experience as an opportunity to improve upon and make important changes to their organization.
“I think this situation has definitely been a learning process,” Moffat said. “But we’re going to be stronger and better because of it.”
For more information on the WRSG elections, visit https://sites.google.com/region16ct.org/wrsg/get-involved/elections.