Candidates for student government presidents at the West, Downtown and Polytechnic campuses have started their campaigns, attempting to promote their platforms before the April 5 and 6 elections.
From increasing student engagement to extending dining hours, the candidates have come up with platforms to make their campaigns stand out to voters.
While some ideas are unique, all the presidential candidates said they want to work with legislators and organize students to work against higher tuition.
Political science sophomore and current senator Mason Hunt is running on a platform to create more student jobs on campus, reform student government and reform club appropriations.
Currently the seven members of the West campus executive board are paid a sum of $40,500 throughout the year. Hunt would like to cut that amount in order to staff other offices and create other opportunities.
Hunt plans to introduce legislation to require all senators and student government members, paid and unpaid, to have office hours. Under the current rule, student government members who are paid must have office hours. In the past, some student government workers declined their stipend because of this requirement.
“I want to make Senate members and executives available to students whether there is pay or not,” Hunt said.
He also aims to get rid of the itemized requirement for club appropriations in order to give clubs more flexibility with their funds. Hunt wants to make it more feasible to hold club-sponsored concerts and other events on the West campus.
“It’s so bureaucratic it sickens me how much people have to do,” Hunt said.
To increase communication between the student representatives and the student body, Hunt plans to attach a student government update to the “What’s happening” email sent out by West campus administration.
Political science junior Joshua Tucker wants to create student jobs on campus, greater student government representation and visibility and encourage student engagement.
Tucker is the current vice president of policy and the representative for the Arizona Students’ Association on the West campus. He said it’s his goal to work with administration to use money from student fees to create student jobs.
While a small pay cut to the executive board is a possibility, he said providing stipends is important because students would have to make up the income loss through outside jobs.
“Money is an important factor in the amount of time [students] are able to contribute,” Tucker said.
Tucker does not plan to eliminate itemized budgets for club appropriations because he said the itemized budget increases transparency. He said he will make it a priority to help streamline the process.
In addition, he does not plan to make office hours a requirement for senators unless the movement originates within the Senate itself. He said requiring office hours might make it hard for some officers to succeed in school and “kill their passion” for working in student government.
“My goal is to work with the senators and encourage them to be involved, not require them to be involved,” Tucker said.
He plans to create a website for the West student government other than the one provided on the campus organization directory. Tucker also wants to use social media to inform students about student government activities. He would like to encourage engagement by highlighting a club every month on the student government’s website and social media for excellence, as well as honor the most outstanding club at an event at the end of the year.
To increase representation this year, Tucker helped work on legislation to create one senator per 1,000 students per college to provide a wider range of ideas and connect the college deans with specific representatives. Right now the representatives are not college specific.
The West campus currently has 16 senators who represent the entire campus of 8,500 full-time students and 11,000 students who pass through the campus.
He said he expects the senate to pass the legislation.
The revision to the constitution will be presented to the senate before Friday.
To increase student bus services, Tucker would like to reallocate resources to provide more intercampus shuttles during peak hours and some shuttles to Tempe on weekends. This past year, shuttles only ran from West to Tempe for football games. He would also like to require a student ID check in order to track ridership and make sure only students were using the shuttles.
He will also continue to work toward a voting location on the West campus. The voting location has been a goal of the West student government in the past, but an agreement has not been worked out between the University and the city of Glendale.
Applied biological science junior Josh Hoyt has plans to help increase student engagement, representation and services.
Hoyt plans on halting the $40,000 of funding the Arizona Students’ Association receives from Polytechnic unless ASA refocuses on Polytechnic issues and sends a full-time staff member to work at the Polytechnic campus. Students pay a $2 per semester fee to fund ASA.
“We can vote out Republicans who don’t support education; we can’t vote out the ASA,” Hoyt said.
He would like to extend the dining hall hours and work around the contract ASU has with Aramark to bring in outside food vendors.
He also would like to reallocate funding from student fees to the Student Success Center, which he said is about 500 square feet and is used by about 10,000 students a year. It is generally crowded and understaffed.
In addition, he wants to work with administration to restructure the campus class schedule so the campus would be less crowded on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
He also would like to reform the student government system. Currently, anyone who wants to be in student government is given some position.
Hoyt said he would like to make the government’s liaison system more focused so the people involved have a specific task. This would include a sustainability liaison responsible for reporting ideas to make the campus run more efficiently.
“Rather than giving people a title and putting them in student government, we should make sure they have a task,” Hoyt said.
Communications senior and current senator Juliet Martinez supports increased campus security, greater communication between students and student leaders and more food options.
Martinez said she felt ASA has done a good job, but she felt the association could be more efficient in communicating with student government.
Martinez plans to maintain the liaison system as it stands and give everyone a chance to have a position.
“There are issues to go around,” Martinez said.
She is supporting a position of greater campus security due to recent break-ins, thefts and incidents in which rooms were egged. She proposes new security cameras and lighting.
Martinez expects Aramark to provide more food options when the new dorms open and supports student government providing small additions such as an ice cream machine.
Only the College of Innovation and Technology will be on the Polytechnic campus next year, and neither one of the candidates supported this shift.
Criminology sophomore Joseph Grossman is running unopposed for president on the Downtown campus. But he said he would encourage a write-in candidate because he would like to earn credibility before taking his seat.
“I am not here just to step in and take the presidency,” Grossman said.
If elected, he said he was willing to run a door-to-door grassroots campaign to help fill any empty senate seats. Only four of the Downtown senate’s 12 open seats had candidates as of last week.
Grossman would like to increase club visibility by working with the club presidents to spread awareness about activities and encourage more campus life.
He would also like to increase transparency so students know exactly how their tuition money is being spent. Grossman wants to work to give students a greater voice in the development of the Downtown campus as it continues to expand.
Kelley Stewart, the current president of the graduate student body, is also running unopposed.
Stewart said she waited until the last day to submit her packet for re-election because she wanted to see if anyone else would run.
“I really believe in diversifying student government,” Stewart said.
This coming year she would like the graduate student government to revise the constitution so the government could have its own election director instead of sharing one with the Tempe USG.
She said her goals include having more socials on campuses other than Tempe, sponsoring a community service event and working to maintain teaching assistant and research assistant positions as state budget cuts continue.
Reach the reporter at mary.shinn@asu