A total of 29 students are running for 18 our of 22 available positions to represent their colleges in the 2022 Undergraduate Student Government Tempe Senate election.
The State Press reached out to all candidates running for a USGT Senate position and spoke with the 12 of them who responded.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences candidates
There are five open Senate positions at The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and 10 candidates running. Those running are Miguel Ortega, Timothy Donnelly, Hannah Berryman, Ainor Elgamal, Nolan Speckels, Jake Standridge, Lucas Holton and Kyler Quaempts. Two current USGT Senators, Jasmine Perez and Rachel Porché are running for re-election.
Jasmine Perez, a sophomore studying philosophy, was elected to the USGT Senate in 2021. Perez is a member of the appropriations committee for the senate and is the senator liaison for the Women's Coalition as well as a member of the executive board for the Residence Hall Association.
Perez's platform focuses on having USG be more transparent about its budget and the resources it can provide, in addition to having USG increase the accessibility of its resources for individual students and student organizations. Perez sponsored a resolution supporting the Equal Rights Amendment and said she may explore ways to increase menstrual equity on campus.
Hannah Berryman, a sophomore studying psychology, was also elected to the USGT Senate in the previous election. Berryman serves on USGT's finance committee, is a member of the sorority Kappa Delta and has performed in the Barrett Choir.
Berryman wants to simplify the process the finance committee goes through to provide money for student organizations. This way students can receive the resources they need faster without paying out of pocket.
Miguel Ortega, a sophomore double majoring in political science and public service and public policy, ran in last year's USGT Senate election and wasn't elected. He is a first-generation college student who has experience serving on the student council in high school and on a district council.
If elected, Ortega wants to push University administration to expand student safety resources so they can feel secure on campus. Ortega said increasing safety would include supporting the creation of a rape crisis center, advocating for students from different backgrounds, LGBTQ+ students, and students of different religions and cultures, and possibly reforming USG’s escort services.
Ortega also wants to create a resource where students can more easily learn about the decisions USGT is making and how those decisions impact them. “I feel like a lot of students don't really know what's going on sometimes," Ortega said. "And it's not their fault."
Timothy Donnelly, a senior double majoring in philosophy and political science, is currently working in a lobbying firm and is interning with the state Legislature. Donnelly is also the president of the Pi Sigma Alpha National Honor Society.
Donnelly said he wants to create a student lobbying firm so "all students can have a voice" and make "persistent procedural changes preempting ASU capacity."
Donnelly wants to improve safety on campus by establishing more blue-light emergency call boxes and establish flat tuition rates to help make an ASU college education more accessible, especially as student concerns rise in regards to ASU President Michael Crow's proposed tuition increase.
Ainor Elgamal, a sophomore double majoring in political science and public service and public policy, ran for a USGT Senate seat last year, but wasn't elected. She is a marketing intern for the Women's Coalition and a member of the service sorority Omega Phi Alpha.
Elgamal wants to help provide more resources to help students succeed in school by expanding access to tutoring services and reducing financial barriers for students to get textbooks. Elgamal is also looking to improving USG’s outreach with the student body, support the establishment of a rape crisis center and make counseling services more accessible.
Rachel Porché, Nolan Speckels, Jake Standridge, Lucas Holton and Kyler Quaempts did not respond to requests for comment.
W.P. Carey School of Business candidates
The W.P. Carey School of Business has five open seats and eight candidates running. The candidates are Thomas Brugger, Drake Tasev, Joseph Grantham, Cole Anderson, Ahmed Dandeni, John Monpas-Huber, Kyle Farrell and Muskaan Gupta.
Cole Anderson, a freshman double majoring in marketing and finance, is a current intern for USGT who has been working on getting new washers and dryers in the Hassayampa Academic Village. He is also a member of the fraternity Kappa Sigma.
Anderson's platform focuses on encouraging the inclusion of diverse groups and improving USG's marketing of club events so more students can enjoy them. Anderson said he wants to make sure his decisions in USG would "benefit everyone."
Ahmed Dandeni, a senior studying finance, is an international student who provides small business advertisement consulting services in his spare time.
If elected, Dandeni wants to focus on making class registration more fair and accessible, so that no students have priority status when they choose their classes. He also wants to ensure students are able to share student concerns with University administration, according to a post on his campaign's Instagram page.
Muskaan Gupta, a sophomore studying business management, is an international student from India, an event director for the Coalition of International Students and a student ambassador for the Indian Students' Association.
Gupta wants to promote sustainability, create a more diverse menu for the dining hall, make students feel safer on campus and improve the efficiency of ASU's health and counseling services to make them more accessible to students. She also wants to increase mental health awareness on campus.
Candidates Thomas Brugger, Drake Tasev, Joseph Grantham, John Monpas-Huber and Kyle Farrell did respond to requests for comment.
Barrett, The Honors College candidates
Five people are running for the two open Senate seats for Barrett, the Honors College. The candidates are John Nethers, Rafael Ortiz III, Maria Cornejo-Terry, Amit Fudim and current USGT Senator, Sophia Chez.
Sophia Chez, a sophomore double majoring in Spanish and politics and the economy, is currently a USGT senator who serves as the chair of the finance committee. She is also a member of the sorority Pi Beta Phi and is on ASU's competitive figure skating team.
If re-elected, Chez wants to continue to work with USGT's finances. Her plans include having USGT be more transparent about its finances, making the process easier for students to receive funding for events and spreading awareness about the types of funding USGT can provide so students can utilize that resource more.
Amit Fudim, a sophomore studying politics and the economy, is a USGT senator who serves on the appropriations committee. Fudim is a member of Sun Devil Mock Trial, a tutor and a Hebrew language intern for the U.S. Department of State.
If re-elected, Fudim aims to pass legislation preventing concealed weapons carry on campus. Fudim wants to hold ASU administration accountable for its actions by pushing it to be more transparent with students, whether or not they are members of student government.
"It's frustrating for me as someone who wants to help our students explain what's going on to them when events occur on campus, and the administration doesn't comment on them or provides a very cursory sentiment which doesn't really give resources for students," Fudim said.
Maria Cornejo-Terry, a junior studying political science, is involved with several Barrett organizations, as the president of the Barrett Women's League, treasurer for the Barrett Indigenous Culture Association and treasurer of the Barrett Book and Tea Club.
Cornejo-Terry, who identifies as Latinx and queer, said her platform primarily focuses on advocating for and giving representation to underrepresented communities, especially ASU's students of color. This is especially important in USG because Cornejo-Terry has noticed that those in student government tend to fit a "set image," she said.
John Nethers did not respond to requests for comment, and candidate Rafael Ortiz III did not respond to requests to schedule an interview.
The College of Global Futures candidate
There is one Senate seat for the College of Global Futures with one candidate running.
Grace Reiter, a freshman studying sustainability, is currently an intern for USGT President John Hopkins, an event planning intern for Tempe's Programming and Activities Board and a tutor for refugee children at RISE Tutoring.
Reiter's platform focuses on making ASU a more green campus, as she is working on getting rid of receipts in the dining hall and replacing paper towels with hand dryers in campus bathrooms. This would include engaging with students to find ideas for how to make the University more sustainable.
"ASU has a really sustainable campus, but it's something that can always be improved on," Reiter said. "My campaign runs around the concept of students observing things that they would like to change and then actually making those changes."
The four candidates running for the four available seats for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering are Trevor Alford, Sheil Patel, Parker Johnson and William Hanson.
William Hood is running for the single Senate seat representing the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts.
There are no candidates running to represent the singular seats at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and College of Health Solutions, or the two seats open at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
Elections will take place in person outside the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and online over SunDevilSync on March 29 and 30. The results will be announced on March 31.
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Alexis Waiss is an assignment editor and senior reporter, covering breaking news and writing long-form stories. Alexis worked on SP's politics desk for a year, where she reported on the Legislature, higher education policy, student government, the city of Tempe and stories highlighting social justice. She previously worked as a fellow for the Asian American Journalist Association's VOICES program.