A rundown of the 2021 USG Downtown Phoenix candidates

There are three executive tickets and seven students from four colleges running for Senate

Undergraduate Student Government Downtown candidates have begun campaigning, starting on March 15 with three executive tickets and students from four colleges running for Senate.

The executive tickets

USGD’s current Vice President of Policy Renuka Vemuri is one of three candidates running for president. On the same ticket, current USGD Barrett Senator Lex Weber is running for vice president of service and current USGD Senate President Spencer McClure is running for vice president of policy.

The ticket’s platform focuses on three pillars: safety, inclusion and accessibility, which would include supporting the proposal for a rape crisis center on campus, a mentorship program to promote inclusion and a campaign to make student leaders more visible on campus.

“We are 100% behind the proposal for the care center, we want to see that implemented during our administration,” Vemuri said. “We know those groups have been in meetings with (ASU) administration this semester and we know that administration has been dragging their feet and we want to help them implement that as much as possible.”

Vemuri, Weber and McClure plan on implementing a hybrid style campaign structure to engage both students who are on campus and those who aren’t.

“We definitely feel a lot of the pains that all these other organizations feel trying to keep members engaged, but we’ve taken a lot of that and tried to focus on everything that has worked from the past,” McClure said.

McKenna Hubbard, USGD’s current director of appropriations, is running for president on the next ticket. Gideon Kariuki is running for vice president of service and Litzy Hernandez Cota is running for vice president of policy, neither with any background in USG.

Their platform will focus on organizational transparency, financial literacy and mental health through town halls, support for nontraditional students and increased access to counseling resources. 

“I believe that there should be more opportunities for students to understand who we are as representatives and to understand that we’re a source to be utilized,” Hubbard said. “I want to be able to hold student leaders responsible for the decisions that they’re making and to make them more cognizant of the needs of their constituents.”

Hubbard, Kariuki and Hernandez Cota plan on implementing a creative virtual campaign strategy to engage potential voters with TikTok videos and Spotify playlists.

“I think creativity is a big (skill) in any leadership position,” Kariuki said. “It’s really the difference between leadership that is uninspired and can’t come up with something and leadership that can.”

Alyssa Kihoi is running for president for the final USGD ticket, with Jennifer Lopez for vice president of service and Chelsea Martinez for vice president of policy. None of the ticket members has USG experience, but will instead focus on their perspective as first generation students.

Their platform will highlight inclusivity, wellness and sexual assault prevention, including support for marginalized groups on campus, mental health check-ins and expanding the proposal for a rape crisis center.

Martinez said the proposal is a great start, but needs to include resources for ASU’s three other campuses. 

“We should address and create centers at each of the campuses rather than just having one at Tempe,” Martinez said.

Senators

There are two seats open for the College of Health Solutions. Breon Robinson is the only candidate.

Four candidates will compete for the two seats allotted to the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation: Taylor Sánchez, Sara Lopez, Dane Van Wagenen and Lance Lim.

Two seats are open for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, but only one candidate, Evan Lis, is running.

Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions has two open seats and two candidates, Natalie Murphy and Shea D.K. Johnson.

Barrett, The Honors College, the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts each have two seats open, but no candidates running. The Herberger seats were newly added to USGD for the 2021-2022 academic year, after the University decided to relocate several Herberger programs to the Downtown campus. 

Despite the low candidate numbers, Vemuri and her ticket aren’t worried about vacancies.

“A lot of times what happens when we don’t have Senate seats that are full is we usually catch a lot of freshmen who are new to ASU,” Vemuri said. “Obviously we want to see people running, but if that doesn’t happen, I’m still sure that we’ll be able to catch students that are passionate, they just may not have heard of us this time around.”

Elections will be held in person and on SunDevilSync from March 30-31. 


Reach the reporter at rpriest2@asu.edu and follow @reaganspriest on Twitter.

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