ASCSU Speaker of the Senate candidates plan to open communication with students

Ceci Taylor

The Associated Students of Colorado State University’s Speaker of the Senate is the leader of the legislative branch, which represents the student base and votes to fund various legislation using student fee money, according to ASCSU’s website.

This year, three candidates are hoping to fill the position for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. 

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Blake Alfred

man stands for a photo
ASCSU Speaker of the Senate candidate Blake Alfred poses for a portrait after the LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

After spending some time on the Senate, Blake Alfred, a junior journalism and media communication major, moved to director of marketing for ASCSU. The Department of Marketing makes sure that ASCSU can communicate to students about resources and events, according to ASCSU. Alfred said he believes his experience with marketing has prepared him to take on this new role.

“I’ve learned what students want and what students like,” Alfred said. “I think that experience has taught me that students really want to hear from ASCSU, what we’re doing to make students lives better.”

Alfred said he plans to further ASCSU’s marketing to make it more accessible and available to students.

“I want to let students know what bills are coming on the floor and what’s happening; we could do that through marketing,” Alfred said. “A lot of times students come in and they don’t know what’s happening until it’s already been voted on a week later.”

He said he can promote that in the Senate and get more bills with student input. Alfred said that setting up a better website, working more with The Collegian and utilizing the ASCSU Instagram page are all options to better promote what’s happening with the Senate.

Alfred said that since a lot of ASCSU members have been a part of the organization for so long, an outsider’s perspective is important to make a change. 

“There are a few cliques within ASCSU and I think it’s important for somebody who is involved in a lot of student organizations on campus to come in and shake things up,” Alfred said. 

Alfred said that his experience working with other organizations on campus has further prepared him for the role.

“I’m involved in a lot of student organizations on campus,” Alfred said. “I’ve let people know I’m running for this position and they’re super excited for me to run instead of somebody who’s part of the establishment, part of the clique within is ASCSU.”

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Alfred said that one of his main reasons for deciding to run was to offer students another option, since Hendrick was running unopposed before Alfred decided to campaign.

“I just didn’t think it was fair for one person to be running because I didn’t think that represented the student body well,” Hendrick said, “I thought it was important for the students to know that more than one person is running. It brings the job to a higher pedigree.”

Conner Hendrick

Conner Hendrick, a sophomore political science major, currently serves as the Speaker Pro Tempore for ASCSU, which he said is the person who works directly below the Speaker of the Senate to chair and manage sessions when the Speaker is unavailable.

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ASCSU Speaker of the Senate candidate Connor Hendrick poses for a portrait after the LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

Hendrick said he wanted his campaign to focus on the connections between ASCSU and the student body, as well as bringing diverse voices into the organization. He said that his three goals, if he were to win, would be transparency, awareness and involvement.

“Our worst problem is the image that ASCSU has,” Hendrick said. “Either lots of people on campus have no idea what we are, that we even exist, or they do know us and a large percentage of those people think that we’re elitist or unfriendly. I really want to change that image. I want to make us appear as what we truly are: a welcoming organization that prides ourselves in our diversity, involvement and ability to create change.”

Hendrick said that his main focus will be crafting that welcoming and diverse image of ASCSU.

Hendrick said that improving the ASCSU website would be a top priority for him to achieve this goal of transparency and diversity.

“I really want to focus on making our website as good as possible, keeping it as updated as possible. Bills, open positions and making it as clean and user-friendly as possible,” Hendrick said.

Hendrick said that running for Speaker of the Senate was important to him because of his experience as Speaker Pro Tempore and because of his dedication to the organization.

“I decided to run because I truly love the organization and I believe my purpose in life is public service,” Hendrick said. 

Hendrick also said that since CSU has been such a welcoming community and has really helped him on his path in life, he wants to give back in any way that he can.

Hendrick said this role is important to him because it’s something that he really wants to be involved in.

“It’s my community,” he said.

After having spent most of his college career involved with ASCSU, Hendrick said he is ready to take on a higher role.

“I feel like I’m personally the best candidate for this,” Hendrick said. “I’ve been preparing for well over a semester, I’ve honestly been preparing for a year and a half now. I have the capability to be Speaker because I truly care about ASCSU.”

Kevin Lorusso

Kevin Lorusso, an undeclared junior with an interest in Organization, Management and Enterprise, said he is running in order to bring strong leadership to the ASCSU Senate.

Lorusso said he brings years of experience maintaining composure throughout incredibly intensive environments during his time in the military, explaining he first came to love Colorado while stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs.

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ASCSU Speaker of the Senate candidate Kevin Larusso poses for a portrait after the LSC Theatre Debate April 3. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

“I was not born or raised in Colorado but I can promise you I love it all the same,” Lorusso said during his opening statements of the LSC Debate Wednesday night. “I love Colorado for its scenery, its seasons and most importantly for its people—especially you guys who chose to go to CSU over CU.”

Lorusso’s said that he believes the Senate needs strong leadership in order to ensure that they more accurately and efficiently use their time to listen to ideas that can directly improve the student’s lives.

“I believe that the ASCSU is currently in need of a strong, rational understanding new leader,” Lorusso said. “I promise to give ASCSU and the students of Colorado State the same leadership I work to provide day in and day out to my soldiers in the military. That’s a promise I can make, and that’s a promise I will keep.”

He emphasized attainability of ideas being a major goal for him in the Senate, were he to be elected, as he said he feels a lot of things discussed in the Senate fall outside of ASCSU’s jurisdiction.

“When the Senate wastes time trying to grandstand and pass resolutions it has no business involving itself in, it’s wasting time that could be better spent providing students with programs from organizations that improve their learning experience and improve this University as a whole,” Lorusso said.

On the issue of transparency, Lorusso noted the discovery that ASCSU has found a rollover budget of $800,000, sharing that although he came to CSU on the GI bill, this doesn’t mean he can’t be upset for students.

“I believe that these elections are incredibly important right now. Especially with this current climate where we have apparent fraud, waste and abuse going on within ASCSU Senate chambers,” Lorusso said. “To me, transparency means going through the books, making sure all the money is accounted for, making sure all the organizations are being treated equally as far as that money goes, making sure the students know what is happening within the chamber.”

Ceci Taylor can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @cecelia_twt. Charlotte Lang and Natalia Sperry contributed to this report.