Apr 042010
Authors: Kevin Hollinshead

It’s that time of year again, CSU. The Associated Students of CSU president and vice president elections bring with them three weeks of aspiring politicians wearing eye-catching T-shirts and waving signs trying to convince you they can fix unpopular student annoyances they have no control over.

Why talk about ways to leave a lasting legacy at CSU when you can rail on the CSU Board of Governors’ concealed carry decision ad nauseam or the lack of free printing on campus while throwing candy around?

Oddly enough, however, there’s one ticket that’s actually bringing something different to the table. You know, ideas that administrators might actually take seriously. Congratulations to Jack Becker and Darrie Burrage, you guys have earned my first published endorsement.

I am a student associate for the CSU Center for Public Deliberation, and I know Jack and Darrie well through my work there. The two regularly assume leadership roles in the program in organizing and conducting public forums to better our community, and it is here that I have seen their passion for making sure the input of everyone, particularly students, is included in decision making.

Their campaign is refreshingly concept-oriented, as opposed to a hodgepodge of silly little promises. Their slogan, “Bridging the Gap,” is based upon three main tenants: Sustainability, the Student Voice Initiative (SVI) and Experiential Learning.

“Sustainability” refers to CSU taking an economically sound step toward fulfilling its slogan as the “Green University” by implementing long-term environmental programs that involve collaboration with local industries, administrators and student groups alike. They would also create a new cabinet position in ASCSU devoted to long-term planning and development.

The SVI aims to marry the general mission of the Center for Public Deliberation (allow individuals the opportunity to converse in a collaborative manner with their community on issues that are important to them) with the vast resources of ASCSU to facilitate better student-administrator communication. For example, had a series of student-community forums been more visible during the U 2 and concealed carry debates, the outcomes may have turned out in a way that more students agree with. Students would, at worst, have felt less bitter because they were at least given a fairer shake.

Experiential learning refers to students not just learning about their interests in theory, but in practice as well. Students would become involved in various on-campus offices, initiatives and projects, as well as with local industries to receive a truly hands-on education. CSU could work with Engineering, Design and Construction majors to construct a building in a way that provides invaluable life experience to students involved, and they save money otherwise spent on hired experts in those respective fields.

These three pillars have two things in common. First, these proposals place a heavy emphasis on the collaboration of students, faculty, administrators and the rest of the greater CSU and Fort Collins communities to solve problems and explore issues in a time where students feel as though those around them don’t care about them. Second, the campaign is thinking in a more grandiose, long-term fashion than many of us may be used to seeing.

Yes, Jack and Darrie have smaller pledges too, but their ticket doesn’t revolve around them. ASCSU candidates are known for their grandiose promises about stuff that really doesn’t make or break this school.

Jack and Darrie are a refreshing challenge to that convention, and are the best candidates for President and Vice President of ASCSU. Voting runs today through Wednesday on RamWeb, so no matter who you support, please vote.

Kevin Hollinshead is a junior political science major and a student associate for the CSU Center for Public Deliberation. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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