ASCSU elections: President, VP candidates Ashton Duffield, Emily Aschenbrenner


Collegian | Lucy Morantz

Associated Students of Colorado State University presidential candidate Ashton Duffield and vice presidential candidate Emily Aschenbrenner March 28. Duffield and Aschenbrenner are one of the four pairs of students running to serve as ASCSU president and vice president for the 2023 to 2024 academic year.

Piper Russell, News Director

In preparation for the upcoming Associated Students of Colorado State University elections for the 2023-24 academic year, The Collegian interviewed presidential candidate Ashton Duffield and vice presidential candidate Emily Aschenbrenner.

Duffield is a junior majoring in business administration with a concentration in accounting and a minor in legal studies and has worked as vice president of alumni relations and fundraising chair for Delta Sigma Pi. 

Aschenbrenner is also a junior, majoring in sociology, criminology and criminal justice. Aschenbrenner was a level 10 gymnast for six years and team captain for three years, which provided her with leadership experience. Aschenbrenner also works as a server and bartender at a restaurant in Longmont, Colorado, where she has worked on community outreach events. 

CSU students can vote for next year’s ASCSU president, vice president and speaker of the senate on RAMweb April 3-5.

Background, ASCSU experience, qualifications

Duffield: I first got acquainted with ASCSU because I was in the President’s Leadership Program — so basically like a yearlong program where you learn about servant leadership — and I knew Michael Buttram, who’s the director of Rams Against Hunger. And there were some openings within (Student Leadership, Involvement & Community Engagement), and SLiCE technically oversees the (ASCSU) accountant position now, as there was some mismanagement of funds a couple of years ago. 


So basically, they took me on as the accountant. I run the budget of $1.7 million. Running the budget just includes accepting RFDs, which are requests for financial documentation, and then putting it in the book and making sure everything lines up at the end of the year.

One of the main responsibilities of the president is allocating the budget, and since I have been looking at the budget pretty much every day for the past year, I think I’d definitely be able to do that exceedingly well and know how to allocate those funds efficiently.

Motivations, campaign platform, priorities

Duffield: I’ve always wanted to further my leadership. … I remember freshman year, I was joking when I was walking through (the Lory Student Center). The (ASCSU candidates) were running, and I was like, ‘Maybe I’ll run when I’m a senior or a junior.’ So I’ve always wanted to further my leadership experience. 

Emily and I both used to play rugby in high school, and I think through rugby, I learned more about servant leadership, just learning how to build other people up, and that’s really what makes me happy: … just teaching others how they can be successful.

We have three values that we’re basing (our platform) off of, and the first one is unity, the second one is diversity, equity and inclusion and the third one is mental and physical health. We kind of wanted to look at those values and see what kind of action we can take since student governments are known for just simply using buzzwords and not taking action. 

We kind of want to build our platform off of improving upon the dorms. So the way we think we can incorporate all those values is by essentially analyzing the dorms and running an audit on them to see what percent of students have been assaulted in the past month, what percent of soap dispensers don’t have soap, just as much as we can get. … We’re really just trying to improve the dorm life on campus.

Emily and I got here first semester freshman year, and it was COVID, and the dorms weren’t good then, and we’ve heard from talking to students on campus that they’re still really bad. … That’s pretty much our platform: three values — one mission.

AschenbrennerI think that ASCSU is a really great close-knit community, but at times, I feel like there are issues in letting the rest of the campus know what issues are being addressed and what issues are being talked about within the ASCSU community.

I think the main reason why I wanted to do this was to be an advocate for the average college student and make their voices heard and, through making their voices heard, making changes from what they say is necessary. … I want there to be increased accessibility to ASCSU issues in the community, … together in unity — rebuilding (the) community is our biggest thing. 

ASCSU/student relationship, campus issues

Duffield: If elected, the president hires several directors, and I’d definitely try to … recenter one of the current director’s roles to allocate a budget to funding that audit of the dorms. So there are a couple (of director positions) like campus community, environmental, state and local policy. 

Another thing I could do would be to create a new position by allocating a percentage of the presidential budget to salary. (I) definitely just want to have some leadership behind that, and then I’ll also be attempting to set up meetings with all the dorm leadership, trying to send out surveys to everyone in the dorms, trying to get maybe a third-party contractor to evaluate the dorms and perform an audit separately — there’s a lot of ways we can go with this.


I think it’s a failure to focus on such a small group (and) to focus on the political aspect of this election. I think it is kind of a mistake because the election is to appeal to the entire body, not just people who know what ASCSU is. 

One of the reasons I picked Emily is (because) she’s in Kappa Alpha Theta, I’m in Delta Sigma Pi and we both just really want to bring a sense of community, that’s our number one value, also, is unity. We just want to bring a sense of community back to CSU. We think that the dorm audits are something that will help us accomplish that.

Whether it be the hostility in many on-campus organizations and SDPS offices (or) offices that I’ve heard, I think it starts at the culture at ASCSU since ASCSU funds so many of those programs and essentially is the backbone behind on-campus organizations and to advocate for the students.

So I think it really starts with building a strong culture, and I think that also starts with hiring really well-versed directors because leadership should always be responsible.

Through my leadership experiences, I’ve found that the best way to get to know people is (by) overcoming obstacles. … So I think just maintaining professionalism and just being as encouraging as I can during my presidency — as well as calling on resources from Emily because she’s really good at building close relationships with people — I think that’ll help us accomplish a strong culture.

Aschenbrenner: I think the biggest way to push change within voter turnout in CSU is to advocate for the common student, what their needs are (and) hearing their voices. And through that then, I believe there will be more student involvement if we reach out.

Reach Piper Russell at or on Twitter @PiperRussell10.

Editor’s Note: Read about president/vice president candidates Rithik Correa and Jessica Laffey here, Nick DeSalvo and Alex Silverhart here and Mia Ritter and Sammy Trout here. Find information on the speaker of the senate candidates on The Collegian’s website here.