Outside of the library and around campus, the letters “TJ” can be seen drawn in chalk and on signs lining walkways. These are advertisements are for the Presidential and Vice Presidential running mates, for the upcoming year at Southern Oregon University.
Who are our future leaders, and why are they working to gain public attention, though they are currently unopposed? The answer to this question is just one example of how committed and eager Torii Uyehara and her running mate and best friend, Jane Silva, are to earn the titles of President and Vice President.
In an interview with Torii, she explains that she and Jane do not see the lack of an opponent as an excuse to partake in an apathetic election. “Even though Jane and I are currently running unopposed, we want to ensure that students do want us in office. We’re anticipating that we’re gonna get as many votes as we can through campaigning just like we’re losing.”
The third year student and her running mate can be found outside of the Stevenson Union, Monday through Thursday from 11 am to 2 pm, surveying and talking to fellow students. Torii and Jane intend to base their campaign not on what they feel should change, but on what students feel need improvement. “We’re hoping to survey around 200 students on campus, at least, and really see what they feel are the issues that they’re facing.” Torii and Jane are not currently running on a platform, as they are in the process of determining what students would like to see change. Based on their findings, they plan on creating a platform to address the issues, “Student government isn’t about bringing your own opinions to the table, it’s about representing the student body and we want to make sure that students’ voices are heard in any way possible.”
Running on the same ticket seems to be fitting as the two friends have been part of student government since their Freshman year in 2012, when they first got involved in ASSOU. During the election year, they met while volunteering for a Voter Registration Campaign on campus and continued to be involved in ASSOU, later becoming interns and joining the ASSOU cabinet. Because Torii and Jane have been working together for years and both felt they would be good candidates, they decided to run together. “We’ve really grown together and pushed each other to be better leaders and student advocates, and then also really supported one another as best friends.”
Torii and Jane will continue to survey and talk with students outside of the Stevenson Union for the remainder of the term.