At Duke Student Government Senate's first meeting of the year, executive members introduced a Fall Board of Elections for the upcoming first-year elections.

President Riyanka Ganguly, a senior, introduced the Board of Elections to the Senate on behalf of Attorney General Sabriyya Pate, a junior. The Board of Elections is currently designated to coordinate election proceedings for the Class of 2021 elections and will focus primarily on increasing diversity within DSG and general voter turnout.

“Although DSG has achieved relative success in bettering its stature as a representative body on campus, I believe there is so much more to be done in order to ensure that DSG serves the interests of all, not just those who occupy particular domains on campus,” Pate wrote in an email. “Complaints of homogeneity are not ill-founded, and it is up to DSG members and non-members to collaborate, strategize and hence carry out policy and advocacy work that leaves no one behind.”

Pate wrote that many institutions—such as Emory University—have similar election boards and that DSG has had a Board of Elections in previous years.

One particular source of inspiration was the University of Pittsburgh, where a nine-person Elections Committee oversees election proceedings for their student government, Pate wrote. Under this model, the committee assists their equivalent of Duke's Attorney General—the committee chairperson—in organizing logistics, planning campaign debates and improving voter turnout through other initiatives.

Pate also wrote that the DSG's Board of Elections should “provide a new avenue for students to give feedback on campus governance, without serving in DSG Senate, Cabinet or the Executive.”

In other business:

The Uber service program that DSG funded last year was described as both popular and successful. 

Senate originally allocated $1,500 to the program, which was meant to last until Spring 2018. In just two months, students have used the more than expected, racking up a $1,627 bill in fare, said senior Liz Brown, vice president of Durham and regional affairs.

“Over the summer, we needed to fund the little bit of money that we ran over, so we funded that—[the executive board] decided to fund that,” Brown said. “And then we realized we needed to find a more permanent source of funding, or at least a larger portion of funding for this upcoming year.”

Brown said that they presented their proposal to many potential donors and eventually received funding from the office of Larry Moneta, vice president of student affairs, and from the Duke Office of Durham and Regional affairs.