30 Weeks to Save the World: The 2016 ASSOU Presidential Election

Trump, Clinton, and Sanders are not the only presidential candidates students should be concerned with this week. Elections for student government kick off next week and with a whopping 3 candidates running for Associated Students of Southern Oregon University president, the race is sure to be heated.

“My advice to the winner is to utilize the organization as a whole as much as possible. It’s not about what you know or what you are capable of… It’s about the people that you surround yourself and work with. Their ability to support you in your role and ensure that at all times you are properly representing the student voice,” said Uyehara sharing some helpful insights for the next president. “At the end of the day it’s to diverse of a campus to possibly accomplish alone. It’s what we call 30 weeks to fix the world and at the end of the day that’s what you got and you have to make it worthwhile.”

For those who missed the candidates address campus last week, or are still on the fence, here is an in depth guide on ASSOU’s presidential nominees. Polls open Monday, May 16 until Friday May 20. Ballots will be emailed to SOU students. A full list of candidates can be found here.

Colin Davis and Tyler Takeshita

P Colin and VP Tyler

One of the main issues Presidential hopeful Davis and VP Takeshita aim to fix is the disconnection between the many organizations and clubs at SOU. “We are not seeing the work that each other are doing and I think that is what’s causing us to have a disconnect on campus,” said Davis, “If we can come together as a community and acknowledge all of the hard work that we are all doing I think we’ll be able to create the best college experience possible.”

One way Davis and Takeshita say they will combat this disconnect is to promote large events among university organizations, such as the Ho’opa’a Hawaii Club’s 20th annual luau. Their idea being that these big events bring a great amount of publicity to a group. Which will allow students to enjoy and appreciate the hard work of their fellow classmates. Takeshita also hopes to foster closer relationships between various university organizations so they will collaborate on large events together. “This is what is ultimately going to create a stronger community at SOU. If we can encourage groups to work together at these big events the sky’s the limit,” Takeshita said.

To See Davis and Takeshita’s full address to the SOU campus check out the link here.

Emily Pfeiffer and Ricardo “Rico” Lujan-Valerio

Bridge the Gap

Emily Y Rico

Presidential nominee Pfeiffer and her VP Lujan-Valerio have built their campaign platform off of three key components:

  1. Increasing relationships with the Oregon State Legislature to ensure that SOU can receive more funding from the state. “Currently students are being priced out of higher education because of the state’s divestment,” said Pfeiffer, “We want to make sure that students have the opportunity to engage state legislature… and ensure that students don’t have to choose between paying rent or going to school.” This is something Pfeiffer and Lujan-Valerio plan to combat by lobbying the Oregon state legislature for University funding.
  1. Ensuring that all students have equal representation on campus regardless of identity or background. Pfeiffer believes that the best way to represent each student voice, is to ensure that “student leaders engage with all identities on campus.”
  1. Ensuring that students are informed and educated on the decisions and actions of student government. “Being part of student government we have noticed that the connection between the students at Large and student government is not very strong,” said Lujan-Valerio. The cornerstone of their campaign, Pfeiffer and Lujan-Valerio want to bridge the gap between ASSOU and the student body. They hope to keep students more informed on what ASSOU is doing and keep ASSOU more informed on the needs of the student body. Pfeiffer intends to do this by making sure “student leaders are talking to their constituents one-on-one, having real conversations with them.”

Julia Heinlein and Heather Buchanan

Julia and Heather

Presidential candidate Heinlein and her running mate Buchanan pledge to provide in depth education of mental health and increase the physical accessibility of SOU. “Americans with disabilities over the age of 25 are half as likely to achieve a bachelor’s degree as their (able bodied) counterparts…we envision a campus where all students can feel empowered and can come forward to share their ideas and shape the campus community,” said Heinlein.

If elected Heinlein and Buchanan plan to launch an American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) audit to see what changes can be made to make SOU more accessible for all students. They also plan to enact policies to ensure that ASSOU officials, sports captains, club presidents, and other student leaders take mental health and first aid training. Heinlein and Buchanan want to educate students so they are not only aware of the mental health resources available to them, but also feel comfortable enough to seek out help when needed.

As opposed to their aforementioned counterparts, Heinlein and Buchanan have a more macro approach to connecting with the student body. Buchanan explains that by uniting the leaders of the various clubs, resource centers, and other organizations, ASSOU can more effectively get the word out on their campaigns. “We want to integrate the Resource Centers into our campaigns,” said Buchanan, “we want more than just  ASSOU involved in our campaigns.”