Tempe Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidates debate transparency, tuition
The three Tempe Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidates argued experience and transparency issues at a debate Wednesday afternoon.
Nicolas Parra began the opening statements by discussing transparency, improvement and engagement with the student body.
"I want every student who walks on campus to feel like they're at Disneyland," he said. "I want them to feel like they are home."
Parra went on to discuss his work in bringing Super Bowl festivities to Tempe next February and how he has already been working with organizers to make it a reality.
Emily McCaleb described how her ticket is set apart from the others as her experience and the qualifications of her vice presidential candidates will make them the right choice for office.
"We have seen exactly what has gone on in USG, and we know what needs to be done to make the events better and we have the experience to make that happen," she said. "Unlike some of the other candidates who may have a steep learning curve if elected."
McCaleb went on to discuss her platform, which is based on three themes, she said.
"We have a very strong platform based off of three themes and concepts that we feel are very important are very important to the success of the organization," McCaleb said. "That is being innovative, transparent and results-driven, and all of the ideas on our platform fit under one or multiple of those categories."
Cassidy Possehl emphasized the importance of the students' role in her campaign.
"My ticket is completely 'students first,' whether that is student money, student clubs and organizations or individual student initiatives," she said. "We are going to transform USG next year into a system that works solely on students' behalf, and we are excited to work for the students and with the students most importantly for what they want and need." The debate questions began with transparency and Parra's vice president of policy Ian Beck discussed how a lot of students don't know what is going on in USG and how they planned to fix that.
"We want to approach transparency in a little bit of a different way than the other tickets," he said. "We want to start sending out emails from USG every two weeks so students know how the USG is working for them, and we also want to live stream our meeting and lastly we want to have a state of the students address."
Possehl discussed "The Inferno," a website her ticket has created to get students involved with more events around campus.
"We are going to make sure to use this website to connect students in the time frame they want to know about events," she said. "Students don't want to know about events two weeks out. They want to know about them a couple days ahead of time, and if they have an hour on that day, they can attend these events."
Brandon Long, candidate for vice president of services on the McCaleb ticket, discussed their platform's determination to work with students.
"Our ideas are all focused on innovation," he said. "One way we want to do this is by having a suggestion box on the website which will be responded to within 24 hours and also to revamp OrgSync to make it easier to use."
With a student population as large as ASU's, one of the major questions of the debate was how the candidates would facilitate a stronger sense of community.
Long said the McCaleb ticket has discussed this a lot.
"One way we want to increase spirit, pride and tradition is by having an intramural showdown with UA," he said. "We already have this tradition on the NCAA level, but we want to bring it to the students."
Possehl explained her platform on the topic by describing a new walk for students on game days that would enhance spirit and pride when heading out to football or basketball games.
"We are going to work very closely with athletics as well as administration, the alumni association and students that will generate revenue but will also increase spirit and pride around campus," Possehl said. "Imagine walking through a tailgate every 50 yards going the stadium. This will increase the spirit of students when going to the game."
The debate went on to discuss tuition, with all of the candidates agreeing that keeping tuition as low as possible was in the best interest of the student body.
It concluded with three-minute closing statements by each candidate.
Possehl took the stage first and reiterated her idea of students first.
"The most important thing you can take out of this tonight is that our ticket is completely 'students first,'" she said. "Whether that is to engage other students to make them leaders themselves or engage with their initiatives and get them out to the public, we want to work with them on that."
McCaleb closed her debate by saying she had the utmost respect for the other candidates and the reason they do this is for the students.
"What sets us apart is the experience that we have working within USG," she said. "It has given us a lot of experience to step in on day one and start advocating for the students."
Parra closed out the event saying he wants to change things.
"I've been a part of student government, and I have been disappointed in what I have seen," he said. "I want to make ASU the best it can be, and we have ideas that are tangible, ideas that work and ideas that have already been put in place."
Students can visit the candidates' websites to learn more. Voting begins April 1 and will continue through April 2 with results released April 5.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @joey_hancock