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ASG executive ticket candidates share their views

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Today marked the beginning of the voting period in which the student body will elect the new members of the Associated Students’ Government.  To vote, navigate to the University’s home page and click on the vote now link.  The polls will close March 20 at 4 p.m.  This year’s election is unique from years past in the fact that students have three different tickets running for the top ASG positions of president and vice-president for finance and administration.

This means that students have options and the opportunity to vote for the candidates that represent views and ideals that they support.

“We’re very competitive, being from men’s soccer, so we figured that we might as well go all the way to the top, take on the ultimate responsibility and make it worthwhile,” presidential candidate David Fresquez said. 

He and his running mate Allan Chacon are juniors in the business school.  They admittedly have little experience with parliamentary procedures, but they see that as an asset to their positions.

“We would like to think that is to our advantage, we are fresh new faces and we want to provide a new culture,” Fresquez said.  Chacon continues, “We are new blood to it, so we can bring our own outlook to it.”

They both said that they want student government to reach out to the student body and be very accessible.  They have attended ASG meetings and said that they feel improvements can be made in the way that ASG reaches the student body.

In contrast, candidates Victoria Watson and Angelina Perez, said they have experienced ASG from two different sides.  Presidential candidate Watson has gone before the senate as a club member, while her running mate Perez is a former senator.

Watson and Perez said that they are in the unique position of having worked in a variety of roles on and off campus with students, from jobs off campus to work study to volunteer opportunities.

“I felt that there are a lot of opportunities to implement advancement and progress; I have a lot of ideas of how it can benefit clubs and the student body,” Watson said. 

“I feel that it is a very important position to handle very delicately.  You have to work with people and you have to be able to listen to people.  You have to know a lot of people on campus and know a lot about what’s been going on,” Perez said.

Perez said that she serves on a number of committees on campus, has worked everywhere from computer labs to the visitor transfer center as a student ambassador, which has helped her develop her perspective on life, as a student and beyond.  Watson and Perez are senior psychology majors, and they said that they took a more personal route in campaigning.

“I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities to hear what students like and what they don’t like.  There is such a big non traditional student population here and I didn’t go the traditional route so I have had a lot of opportunities to meet with a lot of different people and I’ve heard a lot of different things, I feel that is a great way to use that position to help the students have a voice,” Perez said.

They said that they have made it a point to use the two weeks designated for campaigning as time to meet with small groups of students from all spectrums of the population, giving them a chance to hear individual voices and develop an over-all understanding of the problems and concerns of every student.

The third candidate pair is currently representing the student body in ASG.  Amanda Cristelli, who is serving as vice-president for finance and administration, and Nathan Pesch, who served as chief justice before resigning his post on Feb. 5 to try for a senate seat, are running for the executive offices this time around. 

Pesch was confirmed to fill the vacant senate seat representing the College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Feb.19.  They are both political science majors and are currently president, Cristelli, and vice-president, Pesch, of the political science club.

“We are the best candidates for the positions for several reasons. We have the experience, which means that we can jump right into the job with no lag period of learning the ropes. Also, we understand that this is a position of service to students and have each been committed to this service for three years now,” Cristelli said.

The pair said that through their time in ASG they have met and developed working relationships with administrators and have felt the fire and pressure of the negotiation room first hand.  The results of what they have already accomplished in ASG will be seen this summer with new projects being put in place, Cristelli said.

“Our goals are three fold. Parking is one; it is an issue especially for BRH residents who are often forced to park in other lots because of events.  Second, the new vision statement of the University puts CSU-Pueblo at a mid-sized institution (12,000 to 16,000 students) in the next ten years. We need to put in place emergency infrastructure such as, emergency text messaging, and more call boxes. This year we were able to push through $100,000 in street lights that will go behind the library.  Finally, recycling, we are replacing many of the old trash cans on campus with new trash cans. This makes no sense to Nathan or me. We will fight to see trash cans replaced with recycling bins,” Cristelli said.

All three tickets agree that more campaign time would be helpful in establishing and defining a platform and making the student body aware of their viewpoints.  Cristelli said that she pushed for a debate this year, but that it just didn’t materialize.   Fresquez said that he was looking forward to a debate, and said that  he hopes that in future elections one will take place.  Watson and Perez said that they held open forums in which they invited students from all different perspectives to share ideas and concerns with them.

“Getting to know students and having them be aware of ASG is part of our platform,” Fresquez said, continuing, “Hopefully, if nothing else comes of this, our legacy is that we provided good competition for the presidency because it has never been that way.  We needed to run because competition brings out the best in everybody.  If they win, then they truly deserve it, and if we win, we truly deserve it. We are just two normal students that decided to step up and do it.”

Watson describes their platform as a work in progress, one that they continue to shape and build on as more students voice their opinions.  She stresses the importance of the conferences and guest speakers that different clubs on campus organize and bring in.  She said that herself and Perez are very social and have a lot of interaction with students, which in turn has earned them the trust of those who share ideas and opinions with them.

“It is very inspiring to see people from all walks of life meet at CSU-Pueblo.  A lot of the student body I feel is under represented or simply unaware of the resources available to them.  I personally would like to see that students are encouraged and more aware of the opportunities that CSU-Pueblo can offer them, as well as the ones that already exist,” Watson said.

Cristelli and Pesch have served in many different roles in ASG, but this year they said that they were given the chance to experience running a campaign and are hopeful that their hard work will reach the students.

“I have served in many leadership roles over the years and have learned that to be a leader you must be a servant. I have been serving students for three years now in ASG and would love the opportunity to serve for another year.  Running a campaign has been exciting. It has been interesting to observe democracy in action and in the end the students’ voices will be heard,” Cristelli said.