Beginning Wednesday at 7 a.m., students can vote for civil engineering junior Connor Paquin, agricultural business junior Jake Rogers or political science senior Joi Sullivan to be their next Associated Students, Inc. president. | Joseph Pack/Mustang News

Benjy Egel
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Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) presidential candidates Connor Paquin, Jake Rogers and Joi Sullivan faced off Monday night in a debate co-sponsored by the Cal Poly College Republicans and Mustang News.

While there was no clear winner, each of the candidates revealed interesting notes about themselves as they tried to win over voters for the April 23 election.

Civil engineering junior Connor Paquin

1. He has his executive cabinet planned out

If elected president, Paquin’s executive cabinet would be strategically picked. He said he would have one person focusing on sustainability, one on greek life, one on Cal Poly Athletics and one on clubs.

ASI now has people designated to work with College Club Councils, which encompass all clubs within a certain academic college. Paquin’s representative would also work with clubs unaffiliated with any of the colleges.

Executive cabinets can range from five to nine members, though presidents often choose to employ as many members as possible.

2. He has a plan for more transparency

Giving reporters permission to publish ASI presidential candidates’ names before active campaigning was a start, Paquin said. But to him, true transparency would mean ending the restrictions forcing ASI staffers to contact a public relations liaison before speaking to media.

“ASI should not fear talking to a reporter, nor should we have to be filtered by ASI staff,” Paquin said. “If there’s a report that we have that we want to release to students … we should be able to do it.”

3. He’s serious about Campus Dining changes

Paquin mentioned his work with Real Food Collaborative, a group of students working to bring more organic, fair trade and humanely produced — or “real” — food to campus.

Real Food Collaborative and Paquin teamed up to write a resolution to the administration, aiming to make 40 percent of Cal Poly’s food “real” at no additional cost to students.

Agricultural business junior Jake Rogers

4. His typical day goes from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Rogers spends his mornings at his full-time job cleaning stables and feeding and riding horses until approximately noon. He then changes out of his work clothes — into something cleaner, he said — before heading to class until 4 or 5 p.m.

After class, Rogers attends meetings as the Agricultural Student Council president or Young Cattlemen’s Club vice president. The rest of his night is usually filled with studying and participating in other extracurricular activities, such as the National Agricultural Marketing Association (NAMA).

5. He’s all about clubs

In a previous interview, Rogers credited his leadership career at Cal Poly to agricultural business senior Rae Danell, who pushed him to run for office in a club as a freshman. With no ASI experience, all of Rogers’ work has come through clubs in the College of Agriculture.

Unlike individual clubs, club councils are unable to apply for co-sponsorship for an event, Rogers said. The president serves on the ASI Business and Finance Committee, where Rogers would be able to advocate for more money toward clubs.

“Clubs are the heart and soul of the Cal Poly experience,” Rogers said. “And the bottom line is clubs need more funding, especially the club councils.”

6. He got a late start on campaigning — for a good reason

Mustang News’ poll last week showed Rogers trailing behind the two other candidates, which he said he expected. He had been competing in a national NAMA tournament in Jacksonville the week before, then came back and organized the College of Agriculture’s portion of Open House.

Rogers said he didn’t even sleep during Open House weekend, much less organize his presidential campaign. He then had to catch up on schoolwork while Paquin and Sullivan were out campaigning on Dexter Lawn.

With 67 percent of likely voters still undecided when the poll was conducted, Rogers said he looking forward to reaching out to as many people as possible before Wednesday.

Political science senior Joi Sullivan

7. Former candidate Will Blumhardt is in her corner

A familiar face showed up at the debate Monday night wearing a bright red “Choose Joi” T-shirt.

When the four initial candidates met to discuss fighting ASI regulations on speaking to the media, Sullivan organized their joint statement and emerged as the group leader in Blumhardt’s eyes.

“She was the person stepping up and showing leadership in a room full of people running for a leadership position,” Blumhardt said. “That alone speaks millions of words to me.”

After Blumhardt was disqualified, Sullivan sought him out to offer her condolences.

8. She loves current ASI President Jason Colombini’s office hours — but would make a small change

Colombini is the first ASI president in recent memory to hold office hours, and he strategically picks different corners of campus and times of day to reach more people. Students are free to come ask him whatever they like about Cal Poly, much like they would with a professor.

Sullivan said she would keep office hours if elected president, and would take the extra step to randomly approach students around campus.

She pledged to attend one club meeting per week and sit in the back, observing and taking notes unless she was called upon.

9. Plu$ Dollars will not be wasted with her in office

Sullivan proposed a system allowing freshmen with extra Plu$ Dollars at the end of the year to donate their food funds to students with financial need.

Though the system is not ready to be implemented, Sullivan said she had seen similar food banks work on other campuses.

“Prospective students who come from lower-income families can actually come to this school and say, ‘I am going to be supported when I’m here.’ And that might actually draw them to Cal Poly,” she said.

Voting begins Wednesday at 7 a.m. and extends until Thursday at 7 a.m. Students can vote using their My Cal Poly Portals. The results will be announced Thursday, after Atmosphere’s 11 a.m. performance in the Recreation Center.

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