Tempe Undergraduate Student Government candidates emphasize experience as elections near

The three Tempe Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidates are making their final push toward election day and want the students to know they are running for position with them in mind.

Candidates Emily McCaleb, Cassidy Possehl and Nicolas Parra all said they emphasized engagement with students.


“The engagement that we have gotten from students, not just from the 6 percent of students that vote, but students from small organizations and students who aren’t involved in organizations have really come forward this year to engage in the student representation for next year,” Possehl said. “It has been very amazing for us to have the opportunity to talk to them.”

Recognition on the Tempe campus was key for all three candidates as each put out their own color palettes for the campaign and that recognition has been fun, Possehl said.

“Every organization we have walked into, they recognized the shirts, they recognized the signs, the platform pitches, so that has been really fun in hearing their questions,” she said. “They have really thought about what they want, their student representation and what they want as our platform for next year.”

Possehl said her campaign has been putting students first and she once again reiterated that idea as being the key point to her platform.

“We truly are for students first,” she said. “Students’ money, students’ clubs and organizations, student individual initiatives, that reaches everywhere in our platform whether it is healthcare, whether it is redoing the USG appropriation bylaws, any of these areas, it is really going to reach into every individual student’s area next year and we can’t wait to advocate for them.”

Experience is also an issue that Possehl wants to emphasize within her ticket.

“First and foremost, we feel that experience matters,” she said. “You can call experience by many terms, but I don’t think that just pure USG experience, or however many months you have spent in USG is experience for positions like these.”

Real-world experience is needed for the positions in the executive office, Possehl said.

“You need real world experiences in business today if you are trying to be a vice president of Services, and you need experience in policy and politics if you are going to be a vice president of Policy,” she said. “Both of my vice presidents have that and I have been involved in small organizations on campus, large organizations on campus, small and large events, and I know how these things work, and I understand what students need and want and haven’t been seeing this year.”


Nicolas Parra said his experience has been similar to the other candidates and has enjoyed working with students around campus.

“Overall, this has been a fun experience,” he said. “Going to chapter meetings and going to meet with all of these different organizations you get to meet a ton of people on campus, so that was the highlight.”

Parra said he believed he ran a good campaign and had a lot of awesome ideas, but didn’t anticipate how personal the elections would get.

“It’s supposed to be about ideas and who has the best platform, but unfortunately it is all about who you know and what they do and that is kind of a sad point to the elections,” he said.

The key point to Parra’s platform is his introduction of the ASU Genius App, which will match students with clubs, he said.

“The Genius app will connect people throughout the campuses,” Parra said. “It’s making sure that people know about what they would be interested in, and it’s about connecting people with the campus. I just think it’s the best idea ever.”

Informed students and seeing who will be the best leader next year is what he is hopeful for from voters, he said.

“If a student is going to vote, read all three platforms and make sure they are well versed in what USG does and what their responsibilities are and see who can use that to the best of their ability and hopefully that will be me,” Parra said.

The Parra and Possehl tickets were caught up in controversy two weeks ago when the University Affairs Committee attempted to remove Parra from his chair position a day after the campaign season started.

Possehl’s running mate Nick VandenNieuwenhof co-chairs the committee and would have become sole chair if Parra was removed.

While Possehl’s ticket has denied involvement, Parra strongly believes the move was political.

“There is no doubt about it that it was a political move,” Parra said. “If you say it’s not a dirty political move, then you’re just not paying attention to the facts.”

Parra pointed out that VandenNieuwenhof said little at the meeting.

“It’s just facts that obviously he wanted me kicked out, because he could market that as Nic (Parra) can’t do his job so I (VandenNieuwenhof) had to come in and do it for him,” Parra said.

Possehl emphatically denied the idea that this was a political move and that her ticket had involvement at all as it was a committee decision.

“It absolutely was not from us and the motion was not introduced by Nick VandenNieuwenhof and he did not want to step into the position so it was not a political move by him,” Possehl said. “This is something that has been talked about and I heard from the committee for the past six months that Nic Parra has brought many no action bills that aren’t going to accomplish anything for the students, so it was his inaction that lead to their (University Affairs Committee) action on the senate floor.”

Parra said he was fine with the situation now that it is finally over.

“I take it as flattery that I had such a good platform that this is what they had to do to take me down,” he said.


The McCaleb ticket is pleased with their campaign and the emphasis they have placed on social media throughout the election process.

“I think that our campaign has gone very well, and we have had a lot of support from not only people that we have known before but from people who have read our platform or have approached us,” McCaleb said. “We’ve heard a lot of great feedback about our social media presence, and we think that is really going to help us in this day and age to get our message out.”

McCaleb said she wants to make sure people do not look past her ticket’s experience within student government and that they have the qualifications for their positions.

“Working in the respective offices that we are running for currently has given us a huge advantage over the other tickets just because from knowing what is going on in USG now and knowing what needs to be improved upon and from day one we will be able to get the ball rolling,” she said.

Having relatively no backlash against her campaign at all, McCaleb said she has nothing but respect for the other candidates.

“We all have the utmost respect for everyone in the campaign now,” she said. “It’s a hard job, long hours and isn’t always easy, and I really hope that the students pick who they think should be the student leader and not have it come down to who knows who, but the students voicing who they want to be the next student leaders.”

To cast your vote visit www.asu.edu/votenow.

Reach the reporter at jshanco2@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @joey_hancock