Mar 222010
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

*Editor’s Note: This is the first story in a three-part series. Check the Collegian Wednesday to read a story about the second of three teams running for student government president and vice president.

Student government presidential candidates Jack Becker and Darrie Burrage said their ticket isn’t about “grandiose” promises, but rather collaborating to empower changes in the university community.

And their ducks are in a row to make this happen, as the university administration is hungry for someone to identify student wants, Burrage said.

Becker, an Associated Students of CSU senator, and Burrage, who regularly attends Senate but isn’t an official ASCSU member, are promoting their ticket with the slogan “bridging the gap.”

The campaign platform, which touches on sustainability, student involvement and hands-on learning, is a reflection of the team’s “passion” and came naturally during the brainstorming process, Burrage said.

Pulling from experience with CSU’s Center for Public Deliberation, which hosts open forums to encourage the sharing of opinions and ideas, the two communication studies majors plan to host similar forums to get a feel for what students and community members want.

“People are more than just a check box,” Burrage said, explaining that they want ideas, not just votes. “People have passions and values.”

Sustainability made the list because finding renewable resources is both a university and state focus –– one that all students should have the option to be involved in.

The team plans to amp up retention and enrollment rates by working with the university to provide more opportunities for students to get involved in their fields of interest. The platform outlines the possibility of more work-study jobs or projects that would span across departments to ensure diverse involvement in academics and the community.

Immediately following elections, the winning ticket is expected to produce a budget for the following year, a task Becker said he and Burrage have already tackled.

A proposed approach to “trim fat” in the budget would increase collaboration with other student organizations to host events on campus. The candidates have spoken with Student Leadership Involvement and Community Engagement and are planning to meet with other groups this week.

Becker said he and Burrage have also kept a tight personal budget with their campaign by limiting spending to $1,000, instead of the official election cap of $2,000.

If elected, Becker and Burrage plan to “recraft” the inner-structure of ASCSU by creating committees to enhance the relationship between Senate and the president’s Cabinet, a measure Becker said he has discussed with current cabinet members.

They also would like to bring a graduate student into the Cabinet.

In addition to strengthening the “ASCSU family,” the idea of a cohesive student government would allow better communication of student interests, he said.

“There is a difference between being a representative and representing people,” Becker said.

Nothing at CSU is possible without students, Burrage said, explaining that the focus of the campaign is not to win but to help the campus community achieve its goals.

Voting will take place on RAMWeb April 5 through April 7. Results will be announced at 8 p.m. in the ASCSU Senate Chambers in the LSC and live on CTV Channel 11.

To learn more about the candidates and their opponents, students can attend two debates, one March 26 at 11:30 a.m. on the Lory Student Center Plaza and the other March 31 at 7 p.m. in the LSC Theater.

Even if the duo doesn’t gain the president and vice president chairs next year, Burrage said he and Becker are ready to work with ASCSU and other campus organizations to accomplish their platform goals and other projects.

“No matter how the ticket swings, we’re going to get these things done,” he said.

_Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at _

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