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ASCSU Elections: Meet presidential, VP candidates Nick DeSalvo, Braxton Dietz

2024+ASCSU+Vice+Presidential+Candidate+Braxton+Dietz+and+Presidential+Candidate+Nick+DeSalvo+pose+for+a+photo.
Collegian | Cait Mckinzie
2024 Associated Students of Colorado State University vice presidential candidate Braxton Dietz and presidential candidate Nick DeSalvo pose for a photo March 20.
CTV Channel 11
Nicholas Desalvo and Braxton Dietz discuss their platform for the 2024-25 school year.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of The Collegian’s 2024 ASCSU elections coverage. Search 2024 ASCSU elections on collegian.com to see complete coverage of all other candidates.

With campaigns for the Associated Students of Colorado State University elections for the 2024-25 academic year fully underway, The Collegian sat down with presidential candidate Nick DeSalvo and vice presidential candidate Braxton Dietz to discuss their backgrounds, campaign platforms and future plans if elected.

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DeSalvo is a junior studying political science and is the current ASCSU president. Dietz is a sophomore studying political science and is the current ASCSU chief of staff. 

Background, ASCSU experience, qualifications

DeSalvo: I grew up very poor. … Higher education wasn’t necessarily something that was viewed as attainable for me or those who lived in my community. My experience coming to CSU is entirely based on government assistance, … so affordability is a major issue for me. … I think it’s important to lean into (my background) and make it known that (the) student body president is a first-generation student— he understands the concerns that you have, and he’s actively trying to solve them. 

A lot of this started when I was 17 and I ran for office in a local election. … I became the youngest person in Colorado history to ever be on a ballot or run for office. … It taught me the importance of voter engagement and letting people know what you stand for. … As a freshman, I was involved minimally in (the Board for Student Organization Funding), and then I decided to get more involved. I ran for speaker and won that election and then most recently won my presidential election. I’m also proud to say that I’m the chairman of the Colorado Student Government Coalition. 

The No. 1 concern I’ve heard in this role … is that there’s such a high turnover rate, specifically for the ASCSU president. Every single year when the president (is elected as) a junior and then serves as president their senior year, that’s only one year of development. If you don’t have much prior experience in the organization, it takes about a semester to learn the ropes. … You really only have a semester to do the work that you want to do. 

The benefit of this is that there will be no learning curve. … We provide stability, and I think that’s a qualification that has kind of been (overlooked) in past elections.

Dietz: My family comes from a military background, so I moved to a different place every two or three years and was immersed in a different culture. It gave me a lot of experience … (and) perspective on not only how to get to know folks but how to develop those deeper connections, … (and) I can apply that to the service of every single one of our 33,000 Rams.

I think moving all over the world, moving outside of your home country or even outside of your home state makes you feel really small in the world, and you start to understand this world has 8 billion people in it, and I’m just one of (them). But you start to do some of these things that … we’ve been able to accomplish in ASCSU, and you think, “I might be one in a billion, but here, I can make a difference.”

My (first) year, I joined the senate, and I hit the ground running. (I) began working on a transportation program to aid temporarily disabled folks on the CSU campus. … Since then, that program has expanded to also include those with permanent mobility needs as well as those traveling to the (University Center for the Arts). … I’m the only vice presidential candidate who currently sits on the Student Fee Review Board that is chaired by the vice president. 

Campaign platform, campus issues, priorities

DeSalvo: We have focused so much of our time, energy and effort on hiring staff to take (on U+2). I’m really optimistic that (once) that’s gone, we can focus on many other things … (like) other areas of affordability. I want to beef up the Governmental Affairs Department so that we (can) continue to put pressure on the Joint Budget Committee to ensure that our tuition doesn’t balloon at an excessive rate every single year. 

These affordability concerns have to be front and center because they are front and center for students. If there isn’t an ASCSU administration with a governmental affairs mindset, I worry that students’ concerns around affordability will be placed on the back burner. … Ensuring that we keep as many students at CSU as we possibly can — that should be the focus.

Dietz: Something I’ve been championing is the student experience. We recognize that college is a place where people come to discover themselves and discover the world outside of the hometown that they grew up in, and we want to enable that experience. 

The student experience, aside from these fun aspects — although that is important — also includes the resources that students need to succeed. … Our work so far this year has been looking right at the root of that problem. … Preventing an excessive tuition increase (through) conversation with the Joint Budget Committee or the textbook tax bill or U+2 — all of these things solve the issues right at the root.

ASCSU/student relationship, ASCSU future goals

DeSalvo: One thing I’d like to change is probably the campus perception of ASCSU or even creating a campus perception of ASCSU because I think it’s a little sad when we have 14% voter turnout, but we’re doing incredibly impactful work for students that they might not even know about.

We have to meet students where they are. My philosophy with this campaign and every campaign is, “No stone left unturned.” … (There are) students who come to class and leave, and we do a disservice to those students by not bringing them into the campus community and making them feel as though they belong at CSU because they do.

Dietz: I love the mantra, “Show, don’t say,” so that’s what we’re framing our campaign around. We’re showing the work that we’ve been doing, and we’re showing that we have the capacity to continue that. … That’s very impactful when we go talk to students on The Plaza, and we say, “Hey, this is what we’ve accomplished this year. Just imagine what we could do if we could have your vote.” … And they get really excited about that.

At the end of the day, I might not agree with every policy stance with the person (in) the office down the hall from me or the person that sits across the senate chambers from me, but I see them as a passionate person who joined ASCSU to make a difference. … I want ASCSU to resemble the CSU student body, not only in (the) diversity of thought and diversity of opinion … but also so that ASCSU has a finger on the pulse of the student body — anything that the student body needs, … we know how to put it into efficient action.

(ASCSU) is one united force to serve the students. … We want them to know that they can walk into our office and say, “This is a problem on campus,” or even, “This is a problem for students in general in Colorado,” and we’ll be able to solve that for them.

Reach Hannah Parcells and Sam Hutton at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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About the Contributor
Hannah Parcells
Hannah Parcells, News Editor
Hannah Parcells is currently the news editor at The Collegian, a role that she loves dearly. Parcells uses she/her pronouns and began writing for The Collegian in fall 2023 as a reporter under the news, science, opinion and life and culture desks.  Parcells is currently pursuing two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a concentration in global politics. Parcells has always been passionate about understanding and helping other people and hopes to use her education to try and leave the world a little better than she found it.  Raised in Castle Rock, Colorado, Parcells grew up with a love of learning, music and writing. She’s always working to learn more about the world through history and art and loves being introduced to new places, people and ideas.  On the off chance that she’s not buried in textbooks, research papers and policy analyses, Hannah can be found on a hike, watching movies or at any local bookstore or coffee shop, feeding her ongoing addictions to both caffeine and good books. Parcells is incredibly proud of the work she’s done at The Collegian so far and is excited to continue that work as an editor of the news desk.

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