Civil engineering junior Connor Paquin, political science senior Joi Sullivan and agricultural business junior Jake Rogers have decided to run for Associated Students, Inc. presidency.
Sean McMinn and Benjy Egel
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Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) presidential candidates have until Friday to officially file their candidacy, but three students have already thrown their hats into the ring.
Civil engineering junior Connor Paquin’s decision to run didn’t come from decades of interest in politics or a longstanding vision of topping ASI’s organizational chart — he just thinks he’d fit the job.
“Having information I have, two years in … I know what the students need, and I know what the students deserve — and their qualities in a leader,” he said. “And that is why I’m running, because I know I can get the students to that point.”
Paquin has served on the ASI Board of Directors for two years, most recently holding a spot on the business and finance committee.
Recently, he’s worked on legislation to “support students” regarding the ongoing policy discussions of greek life party registration. Paquin is involved in current discussions to present a resolution to the Board, but he declined to go into detail before the proposal reaches an ASI committee.
The most recent recommendation from ASI to keep Cal Poly on quarters also included Paquin’s name as a co-author, and he said at the time he wanted to show California State University Chancellor Timothy White that “this is not a dictatorship with the chancellor on top.”
“If we don’t like something he does, let’s tell him about it,” Paquin said.
Citing campaign rules, Paquin declined when asked to go into specifics about his platform. But he said ASI, under his administration, would see a larger emphasis on pushing campus officials to adhere to students’ requests, rather than just relaying their concerns.
“I think that’s something we can definitely improve on,” Paquin said. “That’s something we can always improve on. It’s not necessarily knowing we need to do that, but it’s also, ‘How do we get there?’”
Joi Sullivan, a political science senior who will graduate in June after just three years at Cal Poly, is hopeful this election cycle will give her a better result than the last.
In 2013, she was the campaign manager for last-place candidate Nate Honeycutt, who netted fewer than 1,000 votes. She also lost her own bid for the Board of Directors in the College of Liberal Arts.
Citing campaign rules, Sullivan declined to comment for this article other than confirming she would run for president. But long-time friend and ASI coworker Daniel Wasta said if Sullivan turns it around, she would have an “efficient and effective” presidency.
“I know when I talk to her about some things she wishes she could do, she always says she would want there to be a lot of outreach to students,” said Wasta, who ran for president and lost in 2013. “She’s a very determined leader and very energetic leader, and she’s really good when she’s able to go along with a project — and she always sees it through to the end.”
Earlier this year, Sullivan praised ASI President Jason Colombini for his work reaching out to students and having a more student-driven focus than his predecessors. She’s also a supporter of his office hours, a new program this year to further reach out to students.
Sullivan is currently a member of the ASI executive cabinet, which was appointed by Colombini. During the year, she sat on the recruitment and development committee, which shapes the rules for campaigning and governs ASI elections.
When asked about her involvement on the committee, Sullivan said she recently switched to the outreach and communication committee. She referred further questions to Board of Directors Chair Tatiana Prestininzi, who said Sullivan was moved after a discussion between herself and the recruitment committee chair. Recruitment committee bylaws require candidates for student government to become non-voting members when they decide to run.
This year’s ASI president is from a walnut farm in the Central Valley — could another ag man be headed for office?
Agricultural business junior and Agriculture Student Council President Jake Rogers confirmed he will run for president, but declined to interview about his campaign.
Most of Rogers’ contributions to Cal Poly have come from his work in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES), though he has no current position in Cal Poly’s student government.
Rogers has been involved in the Agricultural Business Management Club since he was a freshman, when he first caught the eye of the club’s current president, agricultural business senior Jacqueline Van Ruiten.
“He was that freshman who was always asking me how he could help and introducing himself to make sure we were aware of him,” Van Ruiten said. “By spring quarter everyone was like, ‘Oh, Jake. I know him.’”
Van Ruiten got to know Rogers even better after he became a board member in his sophomore year.
He also joined the National Agricultural Marketing Association and is the vice president of Young Cattlemen at Cal Poly.
Cattle, however, don’t ask their leader to fund concerts and lower tuition costs.
But Van Ruiten said Rogers’ skills and drive in the agricultural world would translate easily to student government.
“His work ethic is so amazing,” she said. “He’s someone I admire just (because) of his ability to handle the challenges that come his way … He’s so aware of what’s going on. He’ll always use his experiences to look forward and make a positive impact.”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated Paquin’s resolution would keep Cal Poly on semesters, but the resolution was in support of the quarter system.