GSB rejects funding request to advertise GSB elections

Whitney Sager

Advertising funding for Government of the Student Body elections, along with several other bills were voted on at the GSB meeting Wednesday night.

The GSB public relations committee asked the senate for $900 to purchase 45 interior CyRide advertisements.

The committee’s goal for these advertisements is to promote awareness of the GSB elections and increase voter turnout.

“When 15 percent of the student body is voting, something is wrong, and we need to take the proper steps to improve that,” said Spencer Hughes, liberal arts and sciences senator and freshman in open-option – LAS.

The committee said the CyRide advertisements would be effective because many students see them when they ride the CyRide.

“You don’t get a choice of whether or not you see them,” said Teresa Tompkins, Campustown senator and senior in political science. “You see them and they stick with you.”

Alexandra Meyer, engineering senator and junior in chemical engineering, researched the last time the GSB used CyRide advertising to promote GSB elections. The last time this was done was in the 1990s.

“There was an increase in voter turnout over three consecutive years,” Meyer said.

Several senators voiced concerns about the cost of the signs.

“It’s just not going to increase the turnout,” said Dakota Hoben, agriculture senator and senior in agricultural business. “My thought is if we already send out an e-mail to every student on campus, who is going to see an ad on the bus and be encouraged to vote?”

After speaking with his constituents regarding the signs, Jared Knight, Inter-Residence Hall Association senator and junior in political science, did not believe they would be effective in encouraging students to vote.

“I don’t feel that this is going to influence voter turn out,” Knight said. “Based on the [residence] houses and halls I spoke to this past week … they didn’t seem to think that it would do much either.”

The bill failed by a 12-17-0 vote.

Several other bills were voted on at the meeting as well.

Funding Promotions for Public Relations Committee: The GSB public relations committee asked for $129.65 to fund advertising to promote GSB elections in an effort to increase the number of students who vote during the elections. The advertisements would include fliers, table tends and posters for sandwich boards. The bill passed 29-0-0.

Funding Flood Relief: A group of ISU students requested $403.76 to take 15-passenger vans to Cedar Rapids to work on rebuilding the city after floods damaged parts of the city in summer 2008. The group will work with Block to Block, a group that works on rebuilding the city, one block at a time. The bill passed with a vote of 29-0-0.

Funding ActivUs: The group ActivUs requested $887.72 to cover the cost of registration fees and travel expenses to attend the Power Shift 2011 conference in Washington, D.C. The conference brings together students who are interested in sustainability and climate change issues. The GSB approved the funding with a 27-1-1 vote.

The next GSB meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union.