Disclaimer: The views expressed in the opinion section are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Collegian in its entirety.
With student government elections coming up, now is the time to get informed on the two campaigns for the ASCSU presidency. While many on campus may find the topic of student government annoying or uninteresting, it should warrant at least some attention if due only to the fact that the organization is responsible for millions of dollars in student fee money. We in the student community have a say in how we’d like that money to be spent, and the bare minimum we can do to have our voices heard is to vote for other students to represent our interests.
So, if you’re voting in student elections this week, I’d like to offer my insight on the matter. My opinion, of course, means no more than that of anyone else, but after poring through the Collegian‘s coverage of the two student campaigns and speaking with the candidates, I feel pretty well-informed in my decision to endorse Ashley Higgins and Steven Losolla as our future ASCSU executive leaders.
Unlike last year’s elections, which saw three presidential campaigns with starkly-contrasting goals and approaches to leadership, the two campaigns running this year have expressed similar goals for their campaign and strike me as having a similar approach to how they plan to lead student government. While there are minute differences between the Higgins/Losolla and the Pineda-Soraca/Lensky campaigns, both have identified transparency and diversity as the main focus of their campaigns.
While these similar goals make it more difficult for either campaign to stand out from the other, I believe this is a very good thing for ASCSU overall. I am confident that both groups understand what needs to be improved within student government, both in how it functions as an organization and what information it provides to the student community. While there have been some moments this year in which ASCSU’s shortcomings were pretty plainly exposed, the Sydoriak administration has a done a good job overall of improving the function of student government over the year, and I think both Higgins and Pineda-Soraca know what needs to be done to further improve the organization next year. But how prepared is each campaign to apply this knowledge and affect positive change within ASCSU?
This is where the Higgins/Losolla campaign stands out out to me — while all candidates involved in the race have a fair amount of experience working in various student organizations, Higgins and Losolla simply seem to have more experience relevant to student government.
The Pineda-Soraca/Lensky campaign has many great ideas for improving student leadership and they continue to be very approachable people open to discussion about the issues facing ASCSU, but great ideas don’t go far if you don’t know how to implement them effectively. This isn’t to say that they don’t, but Higgins and Losolla have a lot more knowledge of how ASCSU actually works, which leads me to believe that they will be much more successful at implementing their ideas in student government and holding student representatives accountable in Senate. Steven Losolla in particular impressed me with his knowledge of student politics and emphasis on optimizing the budget. His insight on the influence of group culture on student senators’ performance leads me to believe their campaign will also be more successful at managing competing personalities, which is very important in an ever-changing organization like ASCSU.
In sum, regardless of who you may choose to vote for in student elections this year, I believe we can be confident that we will be getting approachable, personable leaders who understand what most needs to be improved in how student government functions. The Higgins/Losolla campaign stands apart because they have more experience and knowledge relevant to leading student government. They are the best choice for affecting the positive change that is necessary to improving ASCSU.
Collegian Senior Columnist Sean Kennedy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @seanskenn.