Candidates stump on The Plaza as ASCSU presidential race starts


(Graphic illustration by Abby Flitton | The Collegian)

Naomi Hillmer

Dylan Tusinski, Staff Reporter

The two-week election race for president and vice president of Associated Students of Colorado State University began Monday as candidates handed out flyers, posted on social media and gave speeches to win student support.

Three campaigns took to The Plaza to kick off the 2023-24 election season. The slate of candidates includes Nicholas DeSalvo and Alex Silverhart, Rithik Correa and Jessica Laffey and Mia Ritter and Sammy Trout.


The campaign begins amid a series of controversies inside ASCSU, with inside sources claiming the Senate has become a “hostile environment” that has misused student funds in anonymous letters to The Collegian.

Each campaign is focused on rebuking that image in their own way, with candidates announcing plans to increase student engagement with ASCSU, lower student fees, abolish U+2 and increase availability of affordable housing.

“We handle $1.3 million in funding in ASCSU — and that’s a lot of money. We want to be able to tangibly make sure that all of those fees are being used responsibly.” –Mia Ritter, Budgetary Affairs Committee chair

DeSalvo and Silverhart announced their candidacy for president and vice president in a set of speeches from atop The Stump. DeSalvo is ASCSU’s current speaker of the senate, and Silverhart is ASCSU’s director of health and wellness.

In front of a crowd of 20-odd students, DeSalvo and Silverhart touted their experience with ASCSU and set affordable housing as their top priority.

“The City of Fort Collins has never been so anti-U+2 before, and we have the opportunity to show up and take it down,” DeSalvo said. “My promise to you is that I will continue to fight for housing affordability, and when Alex (Silverhart) and I assume the oath of office, U+2 is in jeopardy.”

Candidates Correa and Laffey began their campaign by handing out flyers to hundreds of students over the afternoon. Correa and Laffey are both senators of ASCSU, representing the Office of International Programs and the College of Liberal Arts, respectively.

Correa said transportation is his campaign’s primary focus, and he wants ASCSU to work with outside organizations to tackle the issue. Additionally, he plans to reduce the cost of parking permits by decreasing demand for on-campus parking. By expanding bus routes and partnering with car-sharing company Zipcar, Correa said his plans could solve the parking issue for good.

“What ASCSU can do is sign deals with Zipcar or other organizations that say, ‘Hey, we’ll provide you this money, we’ll provide you parking’ (and) get more cars … from Zipcar more students sign up, less cars on campus,” Correa said. “It serves both the population of students that don’t have cars and students that have cars.”

Ritter and Trout also took to The Plaza to hand out flyers for their campaign. Ritter and Trout are both chairs of ASCSU senate committees, overseeing the Budgetary Affairs and University Affairs committees, respectively.


Ritter said their campaign is focused on lowering student fees and increasing transparency within ASCSU and the university’s administration.

“We handle $1.3 million in funding in ASCSU — and that’s a lot of money,” Ritter said. “We want to be able to tangibly make sure that all of those fees are being used responsibly.”

Ritter said she wants to mobilize ASCSU against the university’s proposed tuition increase next year and make students a bigger part of the university administration’s decision-making process.

“We want to make sure that we’re transparent in terms of what’s happening internally at CSU,” Ritter said.

The flurry of campaign announcements stands in stark contrast to last year’s ASCSU elections, which saw Robert Long and Elijah Sandoval run unopposed on the official ballot in an election with a record-low voter turnout of only 6.17%.

Reach Dylan Tusinski at or on Twitter @dylantusinski.