During his six years in the military, Jason Sydoriak learned to communicate with a variety of people. From getting food and water to locals, to bonding with his fellow marines, coordination was key.
Sydoriak, a presidential candidate for the Associated Students of Colorado State University, and his running mate, Taylor Albaugh, said they want students and administration to be on the same page.
“The last few years, it seemed like the students voice hasn’t necessarily been heard,” Sydoriak said. “That’s not because students don’t have an opinion or they don’t have interest. It’s more because our student government hasn’t harnessed the potential. They haven’t used it as a leverage to bring to the table with the administration. ”
The candidates are not interested in causing conflict, but rather in evaluating the communication problems at CSU.
“What we have to do is take a step back first and realize what are the systemic causes, do these problems interconnect with each other,” Sydoriak said. “You can talk about the stadium, you can talk about tuition, you can talk about parking, but what it comes down to is that there’s a disconnect between the students being heard by the administration and by other departments on campus.”
Their platform can be divided into three sections: academics, experience and inclusion.
Academically, they hope to make printing easier on campus and change grading procedures. Because of their experience, they recognize parking and late-night snacks are important. Finally, they hope to establish a Middle Easter Cultural Center and a campus review board for CSUPD.
Presidential candidate: Jason Sydoriak
When the 2013 floods struck Colorado, Jason Sydoriak was one of the first to offer relief for victims across the state.
“I just got really dirty and muddy,” Sydoriak said. “It resonates with me because that’s the sort of stuff I did in the military. … Whether it was building roads, or figuring out how to get them food.”
Deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sydoriak says he learned to overcome many challenges. However, the senior political science and economics major said his difficulties did not end after the military. As he transitioned to civilian life with injuries from combat, Sydoriak valued the support he gained at CSU.
“People do face large obstacles,” Sydoriak said. “The most courageous people can ask for help, no matter where they come from.”
Tana Todd, the president of the Student Veteran Organization, described Sydoriak as a “loudspeaker” for the veteran community.
“(He acts as) the lighthouse, the first handshake, the slap on the back and the first cup of coffee for people who are leaving a very structured, well-organized lifestyle,” Todd said.
By running for president, Sydoriak hopes to provide more enriching support opportunities for the diverse student body.
“My service didn’t end when I left the marine corps,” Sydoriak said. “I want to continue serving the community.”
To do this, he plans to pursue a career in politics. He lobbied for legislation that passed in the U. S. Congress, including the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.
“I learned how to play with the big dogs,” Sydoriak said. “Knowing that there’s something bigger than you … takes a lot of courage and it takes a lot of tact.”
Andrew Bondi, an associate senator, said that Sydoriak is one of the most active members in ASCSU. He said his connections with the city and the University make him a valuable candidate.
“(He has the) ability to negotiate and work on getting things accomplished and taken care of,” Bondi said. “For conversations about U+2 and CSU’s impact on the local community, he already has direct ties to make that happen.”
Sydoriak says that his experiences — globally, nationally and locally — differentiate him as an opponent. As a member of the Coloradoan‘s editorial board, Sydoriak has met with city council members and Tony Frank.
“I’ve had really important conversations, and I’ve continued to fine tune that attribute,” Sydoriak said. “I would imagine that if I sat down at that table they would be pleasently surprised to see that they’d be working with me.”
According to Todd, Sydoriak prioritizes diversity in all areas of life.
“He’s been places that a lot of other student representatives haven’t been,” Todd said. “Jason’s experienced some of the toughest, harshest realities of the ugly, outside world. This is what inspires him.”
Collegian Diversity Beat and Entertainment Reporter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @h_ditzenberger.
Vice presidential candidate: Taylor Albaugh
If elected, Taylor Albaugh will represent campus by drawing on her extensive experience working with students — as a resident assistant, an orientation leader, a residence hall senator and the deputy director of ASCSU student services.
“I have seen students before they come here on campus, as they are transitioning from high school to a university setting, and then I see them once they’re living on campus as well, being immersed in the culture,” Albaugh, a sophomore business administration major, said. “With that I get to see hopes, dreams, ambitions — everything that people want and need from university as they’re coming in here, and then I get to see them once they’re actually here, and the things that might have been different from what they expected.”
Although passionate about working with ASCSU, Albaugh said she does not plan to pursue politics and enjoys her campus involvement because she gets to work with people, “giving them what they want and need, and hearing people out and hearing where they come from.”
According to Nate Melia, her Corbett Hall supervisor, Albaugh demonstrates that passion while working as a resident assistant, where she consistently focuses on alleviating students’ concerns.
“The thing that I appreciate most about Taylor is that whether a situation is positive or negative, or no matter how she feels about it, when it comes to drama or politics she’s really trying to look out for students beyond any other thing,” Melia said.
Andrew Bondi, Albaugh and Sydoriak’s co-campaign manager and an associate senator for the graduate school, has worked in ASCSU for over three years and on several campaigns. Bondi said he joins a campaign for “the challenge,” but that he sees Albaugh and Sydoriak as having the “presence and experience” necessary to win.
“I would like to think of it as the fact that Taylor’s the one that’s in the trenches, getting the student concern and really understanding, catering to the need of the students,” Bondi said. “Taylor helps bring in the student concerns and the input that we need, and then Jason can really help to make it actually happen and do what needs to happen.”
Collegian Reporter Ellie Mulder can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @lemarie.