Mar 312005
Authors: Cari Merrill

It is election time at CSU and students are being bombarded with campaign information, while the Associated Students of CSU's office is a campaign-neutral zone with students performing on less sleep, more stress.

Whether it is the pamphlets handed out on the Lory Student Center Plaza or the massive signs located around Fort Collins, some may think there seems to be no escape from president/vice president signs for the two tickets – Chris Hutchins /Nicholette Andrews and Courtney Stephens/Jon Muller.

The office for the ASCSU, located in the student center, is officially a campaign-neutral zone. Once stepping a foot inside the door, election talk must halt. Any material related to the elections is banned from the office, said Cord Brundage, interim executive special assistant to the ASCSU president.

"This is a campaign-neutral zone so one of the most exciting things that happens is that everybody who comes into the office to do their work also has to pull off their shirts and throw on new shirts," Brundage said. "They check their pockets when they pull out a pen or a pencil to make sure it's not any election pen or election pencil."

Years ago, students came up with the idea of making the ASCSU office, the Association for Student Activity Programming (ASAP) and the senate chambers campaign-neutral zones during elections in order to remain objective from student's campaigns.

The office rule is especially crucial this year with the two candidates on the ticket both having involvement in ASCSU.

"Things are a little more tense, especially this year," said ASCSU Elections Manager Brian Hardouin. "Two of the campaigns are members of ASCSU and everyone kind of chooses sides and really puts all of their passion into it. So they really gut it out for the two and a half weeks of campaigning,"

While the candidates are battling on the Plaza and around campus, the ASCSU office remains busy.

"It makes it a little bit more fast-paced throughout the day. You end up having some later evenings," Brundage said. "It ends up being more than what you do on an average December week."

Spending limits took a dive this election year but that does not mean the competition will be any less fierce. Individual campaigns are now allowed to spend $2,000 to get their name out as opposed to last year's cap at $3000.

"You won't see the big showboating," Hardouin said.

The mayhem will eventually subside and the office will return to normal a few weeks after the election, Hardouin said.

Amid the stress, Brundage still considers election time to be the best time of year for the ASCSU office because the students really get involved.

"We have put on a lot of programs, we do a lot of outreach via the FYI but in terms of actually being out there and pursuing students and student input, it is the most active," Brundage said. "(It's) definitely most active almost to a breaking point. Students here miss classes unbelievably much during election period. Students are getting two or three hours of sleep during election period. People are pushing themselves in election period well beyond what is the healthy level to push themselves in order to reach as many students as they can. But at the same time we are actually trying to reach students."

While students are pushing themselves to the limit, ASCSU Adviser Mari Strombom tries to help the students as much as possible by acting as a resource. She is able to offer connections for the members of ASCSU to talk with people on campus.

"My primary focus is to help the students of ASCSU to be the best they can be," Strombom said.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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