The Undergraduate Student Government West's elections for the executive ticket and all senate positions run unopposed, with many running as returning candidates.
There are 12 senate seats up for grabs but only six candidates running for office, all of which are running for the seats they currently hold.
The executive ticket
Ally Hughes, Abigail Salman and Alexis Blasko make up the executive ticket. Hughes is running for president, Salman is running for vice president of policy and Blasko is running for vice president of service.
The members of the Hughes ticket have worked closely together this past year and are running on the platform of student outreach, student well-being and West campus affinity.
Hughes, a junior studying forensic science, is USGW's current vice president of policy. She said student government connected her with the ASU community during the COVID-19 pandemic. She does volunteer work with her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi and gives campus tours as a Devils' Advocate.
"I think that's something that's really important to me, is being able to give back to the community as well," Hughes said.
Hughes focused on working with student organizations in her time as vice president of policy. As president, she would have expanded oversight to balance both efforts and could collaborate more closely with the student governments from other campuses.
Salman, a sophomore studying English for secondary education, is currently the chief of staff for USGW. She serves both as the vice president of spirituality for her sorority, Mu Epsilon Theta, and as a Panhellenic delegate.
Salman sees the vice president of policy position as an opportunity to lead, which she said will help her be a better teacher.
"Naturally, student government, especially when you're getting into the higher positions, you lead a team," Salman said. "I definitely think 100% that these skills and I'm gaining ... are going to help me be able to lead my class (and) be able to work with them."
Blasko, a sophomore studying medical studies, is the current director of health and wellness for USGW. When elected, she plans on organizing events to help students relieve stress and address mental health issues that have resulted from the pandemic.
All three executive candidates value their small, community-based campus. They hope the continuity that comes from their experience and their relationship will be a strong combination for next year.
"That's the thing about student government I love so much," Salman said. "You don't just go and do work related things with these people, these people become your friends."
Vanessa Maciel is running for one of the two W. P. Carey School of Business seats. Celina Torres is running for one of the four New College seats, along with Michelle Gradillas and Mikaila Alcantar. Jessica-Lynn Pagliuca is running for the Barrett, The Honors College seat. Addison Sutton is running for the one Thunderbird School of Global Management seat.
Maciel, a sophomore majoring in business administration, currently serves as a senator for W. P. Carey School of Business and is a first-generation college student. Through her position, she works to advocate for all students. She said many students she talked to wished for more in-person events.
"They want to know what clubs are out there," Maciel said. "They want to know what they can join and what they can do, you know? How can I really be out there and really enjoy this college experience when, you know, a whole year was taken away from me?"
During her time as a senator, Maciel passed a bill that approved funding for a Second Chance Prom hosted by Spectrum, which is a group dedicated to raising awareness about the LGBTQ+ community on the West campus. The event is scheduled for April 9.
Torres, a psychology major at New College, currently serves as a senator for the New College. She serves as a secretary intern at Women's Coalition and is overseeing a collaboration with USG to bring menstrual product dispensers to the admissions office on campus.
One of the biggest frustrations Torres hears when speaking with students is campus shuttles being late or not showing up. She said an additional shuttle is needed to address the issue but said it would take time because it would need to go through an approval process and find funding for the project.
Torres and Maciel both want to create a more approachable senate. Maciel has offered to work with students to practice their presentations and to assist with them if they feel uncomfortable.
"If you were to sit in the senate meeting, and you were to see how scared these kids are, you know, coming up and presenting events and asking for funding. It's nerve racking," Maciel said.
Sutton declined to be interviewed, and Gradillas, Alcantar and Pagliuca did not respond to requests for comment.
There are no candidates running for Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, College of Health Solutions and Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Each of which only has one seat.
Voting will take place in-person and online on SunDevilSync on March 29 and 30. The results will be announced on March 31.
James Doyle Brown, Jr. is an opinion columnist at The State Press. He is also in his final semester as a graduate student studying investigative journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He has previously reported for the State Press politics desk, The Howard Center of Investigative Journalism and Carnegie-Knight News21.