The Associated Students’ Government elections at Colorado State University-Pueblo will be held next week, and candidates are gearing up for their campaigns, which will be conducted across campus from April 14-18.
On the ballot are several veteran ASG members and a few who will be new to student government, but all are heavily involved and connected on campus.
This year, competition for these positions is divided into two parties: Redefine Initiate, Strengthen, Evolve and Together Never Torn. Although there are a few independent candidates running for senate seats, most of the students on the ballot are associated with one of the two parties.
During the campaign, candidates will be set up in various locations around campus, visiting with students informally, passing out information on their agendas and asking for votes. Students are encouraged to ask questions and get to know the individuals that aim to represent CSU-Pueblo.
Each of the candidates for president and vice president bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. They have been planning their campaign strategies for months, working on a platform of ideas for the upcoming school year.
RISE party candidates Michael Weiner and Michael Linsenman are both currently serving as members of the ASG. They look to work together as president and vice president.
“We have a full 16 member party. We have transfer students from Boulder and PCC who bring valuable experience with them. We have the best of the current active ASG senators. The other half of our party is aligned around freshmen because we’re trying to really build student involvement on campus for everyone including commuter students,” said Weiner. “We want to improve the overall culture here.”
“Getting involved is a huge part of the college experience,” said Linsenman. “Mike and I want to hit the ground running over the summer, working with faculty and administration because we already know them well. That way when fall rolls around, all we have to do is brief the senators and get busy.”
In addition, since they are already active in the ASG, Weiner and Linsenman believe they have an advantage over the other party.
“If the other party wins, they will have to establish relationships with campus administration and start from scratch. They failed to get any senate candidates from the College of Science and Math or the College of Humanities and Social Science, so they aren’t running with a full ticket,” explained Weiner. “If they win, they will have to rebuild before they start work.”
Representatives of the RISE party bring a variety of experience to the ticket. This includes previous student government membership, working as campus ambassadors, fulfilling administrative duties, athletic participation, involvement in Greek life and numerous club affiliations. Weiner and Linsenman feel that having such a level of involvement within their party will be one of the keys to winning this election.
They hope to accomplish a number of initiatives next year including a more visible ASG presence on campus, expansion of club involvement and Greek organizations and working more closely with the provost to encourage students to take ownership of their school.
When the campaign kicks off on Monday, Weiner and Linsenman will capitalize on their pairing as “Mike and Mike.” They, and the other candidates on their ticket, will be available across campus to chat about their current and future plans for CSU-Pueblo. They hope to meet as many students next week as possible.
TNT, and its executive candidates, Tim Zercher and Mario Ruiz, are no strangers to involvement on campus.
Although Zercher has not served in the ASG yet, he has been in numerous leadership roles during his time at CSU-Pueblo. These include serving as president of the Rotaract Club and the Marketing Club, as well as founding chair of the Hasan School of Business Student Leadership Council.
While Zercher is technically an undergraduate, he will soon be taking master’s level classes, getting a jump-start on his graduate work.
“I like to take organizations and turn them around,” said Zercher. “If there was no room for improvement in ASG, I wouldn’t run. I don’t like to be captain of a ship just for the sake of being captain.”
Ruiz has student government experience and has served as a senator and speaker pro-temp for ASG. He is currently serving as president of the Chicano cultural organization, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan. He won the Emerging Leader of the Year award in 2012.
Zercher and Ruiz have similar goals for their tenure as president and vice president of the CSU-Pueblo ASG, and reformation of the organization is one of their priorities.
“Our plan is to restructure the ASG and get more input from students through surveys and voting,” said Zercher. “We are focusing on equal representation. Our ticket isn’t full, but those that we have in place are diverse.”
“We’re being very selective,” he said. “I’m a marketer, and I’m all about brand strength. If I’m putting my ‘brand’ on you, you’ve got to be good. Even if we don’t have all the seats filled initially, I’m good with that.”
Zercher is confident that, even though his ticket has a few open senate seats, the quality of the students running with him makes his party the strongest contenders. He also feels the other party has some capable senators who are running unopposed that will work well with his team.
Both Zercher and Ruiz want the ASG to expand in diversity. Having representatives from all backgrounds and those who have different club and academic affiliations will represent the whole student body more thoroughly.
“Promoting and protecting diversity within our school is a key part of our identity,” said Ruiz.
Enhancing diversity, along with tackling some specific issues such as technology and food options on campus, gives TNT a strong platform for their campaign.
One of their campaign strategies will include a Bucket List for CSU-Pueblo. They plan to ask for students’ ideas about what they would like to see happen on campus and with student government next year. They will ask for opinions about what’s wrong and what’s right, using these as a reference when they begin work in the fall.
“I have a vision for CSU-Pueblo and for what ASG can become,” said Zercher. “The TNT party is made up of students from diverse backgrounds who believe in CSU-Pueblo and its students as strongly as I do.”
Throughout the week, Zercher, Ruiz and the other members of the TNT party will be focusing on hearing students’ concerns and getting to know the people they hope to represent.
Voting will occur on April 21 and 22.