Student Life

Thanks to Lockdown, Filling WHCS’ Electorial Board Wasn’t Easy

Moving WHCS’s live shows from the studio to homes across New York posed a dilemma for the station heads. To broadcast the shows, hosts downloaded a program called “Broadcasting Using This Tool” (or BUTT) and found a quiet space in their homes. Michele Borg, host of “ComicBook Convo” runs her show out of her Ridgewood, Queens living room. Tyler Sepulveda of “Tyler Talks,” takes over his bedroom when he needs to go on air.

The student leaders of WHCS thought they were in the clear, until the next challenge sprung out of the pandemic: electing new electoral board members while the school was shut down.

Before the May 5 voting deadline, WHCS was up against a firm rule: If it did not elect four members for the electoral board for the next year the station would close. (Disclaimer: This reporter is a radio host at WHCS.)

“Now it’s harder to pass along the baton to new people,” said Marc Roy, who uses they/them pronouns. “We don’t even know if we’re going back to school in the fall.”

Roy, 20, the station vice president for the past year and a half, said the reasons the station is popular is that it provides a space for students to hang out together.

The radio station’s main problem leading up to the election was communication. Members are not involved like they were before the outbreak. Although the station uses Facebook’s Workplace to post about future events and meetings, getting people to show up to virtual meetings is difficult.

The seven-year-old station is run by students, so all decisions are made by board leaders or votes from the station members. This makes communication and interaction with all station members key during the election.

Station manager Johanna Kim, 20, ran for the vice president position, though she’s nervous about changes now that it feels like online communication is not effective enough to pursue voters.

“It’s harder to get people to actually vote when we’re not face to face like we’re used to,” said Kim. “Everyone has a choice at their home whether or not they want to vote.”

Every spring the station undergoes a hiring process to fill next year’s seats for the electoral board. While the group usually has an in-person meeting to answer questions about open positions, this year, to help encourage students to run for electoral board positions each board member created YouTube videos explaining their position and the importance of it. “This position is fun really fun and it definitely teaches you a lot,” Kim says in her 3:33 minute video.

According to the club’s bylaws, the four position general manager, vice president, station manager and treasurer needs at least 25 votes in total to be considered the ballots. The results will be released by the Office of Student Activities, according to the treasurer Denise Dilone.

Candidates running for office also made videos saying what they wanted to improve.

Christopher Valleau, 20, a third year student who studies human biology, ran for general manager on the platform that he will focus on publicizing the station throughout Hunter.

“I want the station to be known for more than just music,” said Valleau.” I want everyone to come by and join to know that it’s a welcome place.”

WHCS Radio is especially looking to fill the general manager and treasurer positions because the current position holders, John Ribaudo and Dilone, respectively, are graduating this month.

“You can overcome any difficulty with a great team and that is what we have,” said Dilone.

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