RECAP: The State Press hosts USGP election Q&A

The election will take place March 27 and March 28

The State Press hosted Undergraduate Student Government Polytechnic executive ticket candidates for a Q&A session on March 22 in which the candidates focused on student engagement, diversity initiatives and intercampus relations for the next year. 

On one executive ticket, Daniel Pasco, a sophomore professional flight student, is running for USGP president. Aki Olambiwonnu, a junior manufacturing engineering student, is running for USGP vice president of services. Robert Roxy, a freshman business administration major, is running for vice president of policy. 

On the opposing ticket, Faradous Abbasher, a junior medical studies student, is also running for USGP president. Mikayla Castillo, a mechanical engineering freshman, is running for vice president of services alongside Kyle Hohmann, a political science sophomore running for vice president of policy. Only Abbasher, Pasco and Olambiwonnu attended the Q&A.


What makes your ticket unique? 

Pasco: What makes us unique is first of all we all come from different grades, different schools, and different majors which would allow us to connect to a larger portion of the student body, which is the most important thing in our platform — outreach. Especially on the campaign trail the past few weeks, we have noticed that a lot of people still don’t know what our undergraduate student government does on campus so it’s really important to us to reach to all grade levels, all majors.

Abbasher: The first issue would be culture awareness around campus. It felt like there was no representation of me, which is initially why I joined USG — to be the voice of international students as my current position is senator of culture inclusiveness. I feel that diversity and inclusion should be something that needs to be worked on at Polytechnic campus.

What campus and student life issues need to be addressed?

Pasco: One of the big things is student fees. We know as students ourselves that everyone is very sensitive to how much money they pay and for the quality of what they get, whether it comes to tuition or student fees. We want to make sure that we have some very thorough and comprehensive conversations about all different student fees that our students are paying, how much they are paying and for what, and whether or not they are satisfied with that. 

Olambiwonnu: We also are trying to see how we can expand our dining options here, which is another important issue to our students. We’re going to try our best to work with Aramark or whoever we need to work with to make sure that we can get better options on campus for our students and healthier options also. 

What role do you see your ticket having outreach to the state and federal government? What issue should students care about? 

Abbasher: My main goal right now is mental health and that’s what I’m trying to reach out to and trying to promote, probably with the state helping us to get more resources for that on campus.

Pasco: It’s important our students are civically engaged in our local and federal governments so it’s going to be important for our candidate for vice president of policy, Robert Roxy. He will be tracking what’s going on and relay that information to all people at the undergraduate student government and then reach out to the rest of the student body so they are informed and they can come with their own decisions of what’s important to them and we can help them advocate for them as well. 

Olambiwonnu: The government does a lot with education that affects students day to day, like defunding education, so students need to know what’s going on there and to hold their leaders and congress accountable so they need to get their voices out there. 

What is one issue that students misunderstand or are unaware of?

Pasco: Not everyone was on board with the health and wellness raise and are partially unaware of what those goes toward. ... That’s where the transparency comes into play. Having important conversations with the ASU administration will help relay that information to the student body through our initiatives. 

Olambiwonnu: Outreach is really important because we found out students mostly don’t know what (USG) is we do so we just want to continue to enlighten them and let them know we are out there for them and we are there for their benefit and they can always come to our office anytime.

This semester, the Council of Presidents has received a complaint about not posting their meeting minutes immediately after their meetings. How will you address this issue?

Abbasher: At the end of each meeting I would like for us to all discuss and have everything figured out, appoint someone to be fully in charge of that and just check up on that every single meeting similar to how we do our senate meetings. We check on previous agendas, previous meeting minutes and just make sure that there is someone responsible enough to be posting them online and have that transparency in between us for the rest of the student body. 

Pasco: We’re going to post meeting minutes and have open door meetings. Those are standard things that we shouldn’t take for granted but for other things we need to be advertising our meetings and we need to be promoting just beyond meeting minutes because a lot students might not know where to find the meeting minutes. We have to do our job like meeting minutes which the Council of Presidents hasn’t exactly done to their fullest capability this past year.

What motivated you to run for student government? 

Pasco: A lot of it has to do with the lack of transparency that we see right now. And knowing my personal commitment and how much this means to me I know that I can do and have what it takes to make those changes effective immediately.

Abbasher: The reason why I'd like to be president is because you could do so much being a senator but you have a greater influence being a president and I have so many great ideas that I would like to bring to the campus, between things that I have already heard from students by outreach and things that I would like myself to see on this campus.

Editor's note: Some answers have been shortened for clarity.


Reach the reporters at Edith.Noriega@asu.edu and wmelhem@asu.edu or follow @Noriega_Edith and @wissmel on Twitter.

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