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To counter the longstanding lack of interest in the UA Engineering seats, NEC took a more active approach in promoting the election to Engineering clubs.

Credit: Izzy Crawford-Eng

After zero students ran in last month’s special election, the Nominations and Elections Committee will be holding another election this week to fill the four vacant Engineering representative seats on the Undergraduate Assembly. 

This time, six Engineering students declared their candidacies for this week's election, NEC Chair and College senior Olivia Crocker said on Sunday evening. The election opens on Monday and closes on Thursday at 5 p.m.

The six declared candidates represent a large uptick in interest for the UA Engineering seats — both the last special election and April general election had zero students formally declare candidacy. There is currently only one student serving in a UA Engineering seat because of a successful write-in campaign in April.

The lone representative is Engineering and Wharton sophomore Kshitiz Garg, who was elected in April as a write-in candidate. No other students formally declared their candidacies in the first general election. In September, the NEC held a special election in hopes of filling the four remaining Engineering seats, at the same time as the UA New Student Representative and freshman Class Board elections. Zero Engineering students ran for the empty seats, prompting the second special election this week.

To counter the longstanding lack of interest in the UA Engineering seats, Crocker said the NEC took a more active approach in promoting the election and reached out to Engineering clubs to encourage their members to run.

Engineering junior Claudia Detre, Engineering and Wharton sophomore Akash Jain, and Engineering sophomores Sydney Baker, Sarthak Jain, Ronak Bhagia, and Arnav Joshi are running to fill the vacant seats.

Several candidates submitted statements to the NEC describing why they are running and what they hope to achieve if elected.

Sarthak Jain said his platform is centered on “wellness and inclusivity.” Some of his policy goals include training “wellness TAs” for Engineering students for stress management and having professors record introductory videos for their courses so students can get to know their teaching style.

Joshi said he wants to focus on professional development and mental wellness for Engineering students. He hopes to implement more avenues for engineers to meet employers and hold more events for students in the same major to develop a community.

Bhagia’s goals include introducing a no-study zone in the Engineering Quad to encourage students to de-stress with their peers. He also pledged to work with Career Services to expand options for non-Computer and Information Science majors at career fairs. Bhagia said he hopes to improve transparency within the UA by publicizing his projects and encouraging student attendance at UA meetings.

Baker aims to reach out to underrepresented groups within the Engineering school. She said she wants to allocate funds for conferences discussing underrepresented minorities in the engineering field and lobby for free access codes and textbooks for low-income students. She also hopes to implement napping spaces in Engineering buildings for students to take a break from studying.

Only Engineering sophomores, juniors, and seniors can run for the seats. These students are also the only ones that can vote in the election.

The newly elected Engineering representatives will serve until the UA general election in April 2020.

The voting period will open Monday, Oct. 21 at midnight and will close on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. Students will be able to vote through an online link. Results will be announced later Thursday night, unless a candidate is charged with violating the NEC’s Fair Practices Code, which sets guidelines for candidate conduct.