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Unprecedented student turnout in 2011 SA elections

Student participation in SA elections tops record high; voters pick Dylan Lustig for president.

This year, student participation broke the record with 26.1 percent of the students voting in the Student Association (SA) elections. Before this year, the highest percentage of participation had been in 2008 with 23.6 percent.

Dylan Lustig, a sophomore studying international relations and economics, defeated opponent, Taylor Carr, to become SA president for the 56th term. Lustig obtained 64 percent of the vote.

Dylan Lustig talks to a group of Asian students studying at SU.

He says he is proud of having put SA’s name out there through this election process. His campaign helped gain recognition for SA, he says. But, he gives most of the credit to his campaign team.

“I couldn’t have done it without them,” Lustig said. “They are so enthusiastic and energetic. I’m very touched.”

Voter turnout since 2002

This chart shows voter participation since SA elections were conducted online.

Lustig received support from his team and beyond. His fraternity Phi Delta Theta helped him campaign and sought the endorsement of SU basketball players Kris Joseph and Dion Waiters. Lustig's team even got Gertis McDowell, patron coin-collector of Marshall Street, to hold his “Vote for Lustig” sign.

“The amount of people that came out and took this campus by storm to show the candidate that they believe should win I think made the difference,” Lustig said.

Despite his confidence in his campaign team, Lustig said the last half hour before he got the call announcing that he had become the new president was nerve-racking.

“It doesn’t matter how good of a job you’ve done over the span of two months, when it comes down to that last 30 minutes, you think that you are dead-even,” Lustig said. “It was scary.”

Goals of a New Administration

After some very hectic campaigning weeks, Lustig took advantage of Thanksgiving break to relax.

“I slept for a long time and then I got up and I slept again,” Lustig said.

But he has not forgotten his promises and his primary focus to accurately represent the student body. He believes in the power of student groups on campus and plans to work with them very closely.

“There are so many student organizations. They have so much influence over what happens here,” Lustig said. “We need to make sure that student organizations know that we are there for them and half of them don’t.”

He says one of the major reasons why he decided to run for president was because he felt that SA was not communicating with students well. He says he plans to change that.

“It doesn’t take that much effort to be in communication with presidents of organizations, Lustig said. “What I really plan to do is give those organizations a say.”

Another issue that he plans to address when he takes office is safety on campus. Lustig plans to work with the university's Department of Public Safety (DPS) staff to assess what measures need to be taken to minimize robberies.

He also plans to dedicate attention to the ongoing discussion over the university’s admissions policy. With SU’s recent drop in university rankings, some are questioning the current administration procedures when accepting students into the program.

“I need to make sure that I am doing my best job to represent the students on that issue because that’s a huge issue,” Lustig said.

Beyond the Office

Lustig has gone through an eccentric round of career aspirations: superhero, secret service agent and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent. He says he is sticking with the last one for now.

While this is a position that won’t directly prepare him for his future goals, he says he was eager to become SA president.

“This isn’t something that’s going to be like a building block for me,” Lustig said. “It’s just something that I’m passionate about.”

Besides his career goals, a very important part of Lustig’s life is his twin brother Nick. While they have very different personalities, Lustig says they are best friends.

“Everytime I’m with him it’s like the best time ever,” Lustig said. “I miss him a lot.”

Lustig also has an older sister, Meredith, who is an opera singer. She studied at The Juilliard School and now works for the New York City Opera. She has sparked his interest for music.

“If you look at my iPod I have a very diverse array of weird things,” Lustig said. “I have everything from opera to classical music that I like to listen to when I do homework.”


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