Meet the Smith 2017 executive ticket

Meet the Smith 2017 executive ticket

Illustration published on Monday, March 20, 2017. 

by Courtney Beesch / The State Press

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Meet the Smith 2017 executive ticket


Get to know the Smith 2017 executive ticket, one of four tickets running in this year’s Undergraduate Student Government elections on the Tempe campus. Brian Smith, a design management junior with a minor in business, is running for president. He is joined by vice president of policy candidate Grant Wallace, an economics sophomore with a minor in math, and vice president of services candidate Chenxi Zhao, a media and sports marketing junior.

Emily Harding | The State Press

Left to right, Chen Xi Zhao (former vice president of services candidate), Brian Smith (former presidential candidate) and Grant Wallace (former vice president of policy candidate), who made up the Smith 2017 ticket, pose for a photo.

What are your policy and platform ideas?

Brian Smith: “The main slogan that our campaign is running on, and the main theme we want to have through our campaign and time in office is to bring 'change through service'. We see ourselves as servant-leaders, in every area that we’ve been a part of on campus.”

“Through that we want to give students access, impact and success.”

Chenxi Zhao: “I have a lot of experience in student service, and helping other students on campus. This is actually my passion — that I want to help other people and serve them, and then through student events and help them engage with our school and help them have school spirit. I get really connected to ASU because I went to all those events.”

“It’s just the service I’m passionate about.”

Grant Wallace: “I’m really passionate about a lot of things, like sustainability and civic engagement, all kinds of stuff like that”

“I’m a little frustrated by the fact that not many people in our age group are actually getting involved politically. Your perceived ability to influence the government, it’s extremely low throughout our generation.”

Why are you qualified for the positions you seek?

BS: “I’d say I’ve taken necessary steps to (develop my leadership). But, it’s also been through tremendous mentorship on campus, I haven’t done it myself.”

“I’ve been everything from a freshman host for the more to explore program ... I’ve been a Camp Carey facilitator ... Everything I’m passionate about that I’ve enjoyed doing, I’ve striven to become a leader in those areas.”

CZ: “I grew up in China for 15 years, so I have international experience. I totally understand that when people come down here, how (hard it can be) for them to get connected to other people.” 

“Especially at ASU, where we have the fifth-largest international student population.”

“I want to serve them, and let them know that everyone is the same. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, we’re a family.”

GW: “I’ve been part of some national organizations (American Legion), and that’s sort of helped me to understand how policy comes about.”

“I’ve been able to observe how policy is made, and be kind of around and bask in that environment for a bit. I’ve seen people, great leaders, and how they act and how they appoint and how they deal with problems that come up.”

“I feel like we’ve experienced a lot of life. Chen grew up in China, I worked in plumbing over the summer.”

What motivates you to want to run for this office?

BS: “I was actually born in Tucson, and just seeing even from a young a age the rally behind a university that’s down there that I won’t mention, but just the support for a university like that.”

“One of my first experiences ever with Sparky and the Maroon and Gold was actually as a young kid. I had never been to a stadium or arena or whatever.”

“They got us into Tillman Tunnel before the game. I was literally a 10-year-old kid, the doors open to the locker room and I just instantly get pushed up against the wall and there’s just these giants walking by. The only reflex I had was to put my hand out and think, ‘Can I get a high-five?’”

“I was set as a Sun Devil in that moment.”

CZ: “For me, you know I grew up in China and then this is my sixth year here, and this is sort of a different environment. After coming to college and becoming a Sun Devil, I felt super engaged with school spirit, and I actually got to develop my leadership in my three years here.”

Zhao said that his experiences practicing with the women’s basketball team has motivated him, Seeing student-athletes or other students be there best “inspire him to become that type of person.”

“I don’t think any international students have run before, and I want to be their voice.”

GW: “My drive and passion is not necessarily to get leadership for leadership’s sake, but really to be in a position of service so that I can assist in helping these people that live here, and go to this university and are in this institution have the best time they can have ….”

Read MoreEverything you need to know about USG elections, a voter guide


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