Pineda Soracá narrowly wins ASCSU presidency, constitution ratified with diversity amendment

Erin Douglas

A narrowly close win for the Associated Students of Colorado State University president and vice president went to Daniela Pineda Soracá and running mate Mike Lensky Wednesday.

By a difference of 22 votes in the two-campaign election, Pineda Soracá won the ASCSU 2016-2017 presidency with 1,596 votes from the student body. The Ashley Higgins campaign received 1,574 votes.

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A total of 3,545 students voted; 375 students students either voted for a write-in candidate or abstained by not writing anything. Included in the write in votes for president were, “Professor Chaos, Snoop Dog, Willy Nelson, The On Campus Stadium and The Base God (Lil’ B).”

Campaign manager Josh Williams, 2016-2017 president Daniela Pineda Soraca and 2016-2017 Vice President Mike Lensky embrace after the election results are announced.
Campaign manager Josh Williams, 2016-2017 president Daniela Pineda Soracá and 2016-2017 Vice President Mike Lensky embrace after the election results are announced.

The constitution was ratified after 12 percent of the student body turned out to vote. The constitution included a diversity amendment that creates senate seats for members of Student Diversity Programs and Services offices, as well as student organizations that represent historically under represented groups.

ASCSU requires at least 10 percent of the student body to ratify the constitution each year. On Tuesday April 5, the second-to-last day for students to vote in the election, only 4.9 percent of the student body had voted, and many stakeholders were concerned that low voter turnout would cause the amendment to be dissolved.

“Those in the SDPS offices are excited and ready to make a true change at CSU,” said Isaiah Martin, a sophomore majoring in political science. “We’re proud to say we’re going to make this first step with you, and we’re proud of what the future holds.”

The Pineda Soracá campaign was heavily focused on diversity issues. One of their campaign pillars was intersectionality, a concept Pineda Soracá says she hopes to incorporate into the culture of ASCSU during her presidency.

“Now, I get to make much more of an impact and reach so many more students than I could have in my previous roles,” Pineda Soracá said. “I can’t wait to start that mentorship with students who are going to be looking to us as role models.”

Following the announcement, Pineda Soracá and Lensky spoke about their plan to “pick up the torch” for the petition to change the Fort Collins city-housing ordinance, commonly known as “U+2.” The petition asks for one more unrelated adult to be added to the current structure of the ordinance, to allow four unrelated adults to live together.

While Pineda Soracá said she was concerned about the voter turnout, she attributed the win to campaigning on social media and “grassroots” efforts by supporters.

“There’s going to be obstacles and we’re going to have to rely on the people that have been with us since the first day of this campaign, and even before that, who have helped us get here,” Pineda Soracá said. “We need attribute credit where credit is due.”

Pineda Soracá said she was inspired to run by her personal and professional goals, but also by her mother.

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Daniela Pineda Soraca reacts after winning the ASCSU presidential election. Photo by Abbie Parr
Daniela Pineda Soracá reacts after winning the ASCSU presidential election. Photo by Abbie Parr

“She took so many risks to get me here and instilled the values of work ethic in me,” Pineda Soracá said between tears, explaining her family’s journey from Colombia. “Just knowing that one day it would pay off, knowing that fate brought me here, knowing that seven years ago I couldn’t have even dreamed to be here…I was an undocumented student and I didn’t know how I was going to pay for (college)…Now that I’m here and knowing this is the first step to my career, it is incredible. I just can’t believe it.”

The Higgins campaign declined to comment at this time.

Collegian ASCSU reporter Erin Douglas can be reached at news@collegian.com or on twitter @erinmdouglas23.