A record-low number of students took part in this year’s IGNITE elections.
Just 4.5 per cent of eligible voters used their right to choose the members of the board for the upcoming year.
“I was really shocked,” said Gabi Hentschke, who was re-elected as a board member from Lakeshore. “I was certainly expecting it to be very different because the elections were completely virtual.
“But I was not expecting it to be that low,” she said.
Only 1,493 students among the eligible 33,292 students cast a ballot between March 1 and 5. The majority of voters were from the North campus, with 601 students. Lakeshore had 463 students who voted and 429 at University of Guelph-Humber.
The term for the new board is expected to begin on May 1.
North Campus students re-elected Eli Ridder for another term. Karani Puvanesan, a first-year student in the Architectural Technology program, and Maksym Botte, an international student from Ukraine who is in his second year of Business Administration are joining Ridder in representing students in the North.
“I saw my name [on the Zoom Call presentation], there were 137 votes,” said Botte, recalling waiting for election results at around 11 p.m. March 5 in Kyiv, Ukraine. “I realized it but I couldn’t shout or show it, so I muted my mic, but my family was already sleeping.
“At that moment I understood that over 130 students trusted me,” he said.
Alex Sein is in his third year of his Bachelor of Commerce degree. He will be a new Lakeshore representative along with Hentschke and Shay Hamilton, an former Vice President of IGNITE.
Guelph-Humber University student voted for all new members for the board: Andy Do and Melany Palacios-Naranjo who both are pursuing themselves in Law programs, and Gabi Rana from the Media Business program.
There there will be three students of the nine-member board who were reelected, Hentschke said she will “be a supportive board member to the incoming board of directors.”
She said she decided to run a week before the nomination period opened on Feb. 1, as she was worried it would impact her last year of school. But it was also difficult because of the restrictions COVID-19 imposed on campaigning.
“It was hard for me coming up with a strategy because everything is virtual,” Hentschke said. “It was very different from my campaign last year.”
In previous elections, she said she distributed “goodie-bags” to students and talked with more than 200 people, but COVID-19 forced the end of non-virtual campaigning for 2021 nominees.
Orangeville campus has its last active semester and was not part of the election.
“Because of the Orangeville campus closure, this year’s board of directors had made some decisions on how best to [reorganize] the board,” said Ercole Perrone, IGNITE’s Chief Executive Officer.
He said each campus is now each equally represented with three board members.