Even the branch of student government responsible for overseeing elections has to choose leaders within its own ranks. Earlier this month, the Nominations and Elections Committee held internal elections to determine the new executive board. Wharton sophomore Devin Grossman was elected chair. The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with Grossman to discuss his plans for the next year.
Daily Pennsylvanian: What are your major initiatives for the next year?
Devin Grossman: Every year we go through same general process in terms of how we run our nominations and elections processes—so it’s definitely about continuing those; that’s really a sustained mission that we’re always working toward. Additionally, we’re in charge of general education, which we look at in terms of getting people involved in student government as a whole and interested in the initiatives that we’re working on.
DP: Do you have any specific plans for getting people involved?
DG: First it’s about increasing general awareness of Penn student government. I think a lot of people don’t necessarily realize that the same umbrella organization that plans the Fling concert is also planning things like Hey Day... It’s about creating more coherent messaging, but also reaching out to groups that don’t traditionally get involved with student government and aren’t traditionally engaged. Those are things like cultural, political and religious minorities, but also large groups of campus that we’re just not targeting, from whom we just don’t see involvement in terms of people not running for elections, or people just not being interested in applying to committees. So just in general, I’m hoping to tap into those communities.
DP: The NEC has standard processes each year. How are you going to differentiate your chairmanship?
DG: The way we start is by getting more people involved. I think this year we saw a very diverse group of candidates, so I think that’s something we definitely want to continue as far as that relates to the UA elections. I would like to see us move even more in that direction, and to really improve our outreach so that we get really competitive races and compelling races from huge disparities across campus. We want everyone to get involved and feel like there’s someone on student government or running for student government who represents them and their interests.
DP: This past election season was pretty eventful. What were your thoughts going through the process?
DG: Like I was saying, we have a pretty standard process, so that was no different from any other year. We had a lot of interesting candidates, which was really exciting because it let more people get involved. In terms of the results themselves, those are on our website, and we don’t really have any comments or opinions on those. But I think overall it was a very interesting election cycle, and we saw that just with increased interest in everything that was happening.
DP: Are there any specific challenges facing the NEC over the next year?
DG: I think the first part is that a lot of people don’t know what the NEC is, or just assume that we’re so bureaucratic that we’re impossible to reach, when in reality our goal is just the opposite. We want people to contact us about elections related issues, and we want people to think they can apply to committees and that committees are relevant to them.
DP: What’s your favorite part of being on the NEC?
DG: It’s really about being advocates for students. That’s something we also underplay a bit. Our role is really to get students involved in everything that is happening on campus—I mean that’s what we do when we nominate students to committees. We want them to be playing an active role, and we really fight for students in a sense to make sure they’re being heard on committees where there a lot of administrators, which can be very bureaucratic.