Today is the start of something very important, the beginning of three days of responsibility for every Ram enrolled at CSU.
Starting today, ASCSU will be holding presidential and vice presidential elections. Now, before you stop reading this column because the topic seems a little bland, I caution you to reserve judgment; I promise you this week’s elections really do matter to every student on this campus.
How, you ask, do the elections matter beyond who inherits that little corner office in the student center? They matter because the results will in fact be determining your destiny here at CSU. The ASCSU president and vice president are the sole student representatives for the student body when the administration wants to change things; our voice when the powers-that-be want to alter our academic world in any way.
The ASCSU administration is a lead decision-maker when it comes to allocation of student fees. Basically, that means the two people elected this week will be helping to spend the checks we mail in every semester, acting as a watch dog to make sure our money is not spent on frivolous programs and items.
Personally, I like to have a say in who spends my money, and my bet is that you do, too. The two teams campaigning for the top two jobs in ASCSU-Jason Green and Sadie Conrad against Jess Dyrdahl and Brett Dobinsky-have spent countless hours campaigning for the office, promoting campaign platforms that are very similar, yet certainly unique. The focus of both is to bring ASCSU closer to the student body it serves.
“We have to show that ASCSU is not some elitist group,” presidential candidate Jason Green said. “ASCSU is, and should be, the workhorse for the student body.”
When I sat down with the candidates on the plaza last week, it was easy to see the work ethic required to even campaign for the office; yet, even with the many hours already dedicated to the job, both pairs were energetic.
All four candidates were happy to outline their platforms, and talk about the future they envision for the campus and ASCSU itself. Combined, the four individuals running for office have more leadership experience than I could ever list in this column, and certainly plenty of passion about working for their fellow students.
Although both parties are qualified, I must say that after the interviews I came away feeling one pair was much more prepared to take over Ram Country. Jess and Brett – as their shirts, signs and slogans refer to them – have a truly nuanced and well-thought-out plan to keep CSU moving in the right direction.
Both teams feel ASCSU needs to reconnect with the student body, but it seems for Green and Conrad, the platform is an idea rather than an action plan. For Dyrdahl and Dobinsky, connecting to the students is not just an idea, but a necessity.
“Students can’t just see us while we campaign; they have to know who we are year round,” Dyrdahl said. “We will be out on the plaza at least once every week for something we call plaza-side chats, a time any student can talk to us about any CSU issue they can think of. The ASCSU office is always open, but sometimes it can be intimidating to go in there. We will bring the office to the students instead.”
Right now, I would bet good money that 90 percent of the student body could not pick our current president and vice president out of lineup. The throwback to President Roosevelt’s Fire Side chats is pure genius, an idea that I feel can really benefit every member of the student body.
In addition to more accessibility to the office, Dyrdahl and Dobinsky’s plan to build Ram pride throughout the entire student body with a group called Ram Fans.
“If you look at a school like Texas A&M, every single student is just crazy about being an Aggie. Here it is more hit or miss,” Dyrdahl said. “School pride is a very important thing to focus on; it really helps unify the campus.”
The Jess-Brett ticket also plans to enlist more alumni to get involved with the current student population, with the beginnings of a career connections program that would allow students to have an alumni mentor; the program would also help alums give back to the school without having to pull out their checkbooks.
The pair also wants to bring the many student organizations on campus together, acting as a conduit to improve campus-wide communication. Overall, the theme of their campaign is involvement-involvement from ASCSU, from alumni, and the entire student body.
To investigate the issues and candidates for yourself, go to their websites: www.jessandbrett.com or www.jasonandsadie4csu.com. No matter whom you decide to support, please, be a responsible Ram and make sure to vote this week on RamWeb; if you don’t, who knows who will end up spending your money while you aren’t looking.