With a microphone and empty stage, the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) presidential candidates summed up their campaign platforms in short speeches at ASI’s “Free Speech Hour” during University Union hour on Tuesday. It was an event for candidates to introduce themselves to students, according to ASI Board of Directors Chair Kaitlin Harr.
Here is what the four candidates had to say:
In his speech, agribusiness junior Jason Colombini said he learned three things while working on his family’s farm in Lindon, Calif. He said 1. Success comes from hard work, 2. Always help someone in need and 3. Honesty is the best policy.
Colombini said in his speech that he has paid for his entire education. In an interview after the debate, Colombini further explained that every expense about college — whether it be tuition, rent, food or fun — he pays for. As ASI president, Colombini said he would be more understanding of the students who have to support themselves in one way or another while going to Cal Poly.
Colombini also said that when ASI talks about how much a student is paying for education and possible increases in tuition, he knows firsthand how it will affect them. Students who go to school and work for their education are underrepresented, he said.
“The things that are worth most in life are the ones that take the most work,” he said.
Psychology junior Nate Honeycutt’s campaign is founded on making students first, he said in his speech. In an interview afterward, Honeycutt said the job of the ASI president is to be an advocate for students.
“It’s important for me to have this as my philosophy,” he said.
Honeycutt has two years experience as a Board of Directors representative for the College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Liberal Arts. His experience as an elected representative has given him practice with being held accountable and accurately reflecting what students need, and that goes in line with the job of the president, he said.
Sociology senior Haley Houle said every Cal Poly student brings something to the campus in her speech on Tuesday. Her goal as president is to start conversations and build relationships between the different groups on campus, she said.
In an interview after, she said it is ASI’s job to connect students to the existing programs on campus and improve relationships on campus by breaking down communication barriers that exist between the different student groups.
“Not my team, or your team — let’s make this about our team,” she said.
Political science junior Daniel Wasta said some of the things he will do as president are supporting athletics, making Cal Poly a sustainable campus and helping students get jobs as soon as they graduate.
Off stage, he said in order to get students jobs after graduation, he will strengthen relationships with alumni. He said that someone who went to Cal Poly knows how rigorous the education is here, and how it produces smart and capable students.
“I’m very proud to go to this school, and I think employers will notice that as soon as they start hiring,” he said.
For supporting athletics, Wasta said the campus has incredible teams, but the student body needs to be more involved in attending games.
“How do we have a women’s basketball team that goes to the NCAA tournament and not have a packed gym?” he said. “I want to breed a culture of athletic support where students know athletes personally and support not just teams ,but friends.”
Students who missed the Free Speech Hour talks have another chance to learn about their favorite candidates — ASI will host a presidential candidate debate today during University Union hour at 11 a.m. in the plaza. Candidates will respond to several pre-submitted questions, but comments from the audience will be welcome as well.
I can’t be the only one who noticed that the only candidate who actually gave tangible things was Wasta. Paying for your own schooling is wonderful, but that doesn’t make you qualified to be ASI President. And Houle and Honeycutt are just too vague with what they are going to deliver. I need something to hold my ASI President accountable for, and right now Wasta is the only one who has given me that.
Colombini has failed to give any explanation of what he is actually seeking to do within his campaign, and he fails to set up any means of the students being able to hold him accountable. Honeycutt speaks of being an advocate for students and their wants and needs, but what has he done to seek out what their wants and needs are? Houle speaks about wanting to connect more of the groups on campus, but how is she planning on going about this? Wasta seems to be the only one with exact targets for his term of president. A platform is extremely important in running a campaign, and I encourage the other candidates to think more seriously about how they want to present their platforms and about how students will be able to hold them accountable for their promises.
Wasta doesn’t explain how he’ll do these things though. He’ll reach out to alumni? How? And how would him reaching out to alumni help students be in communication with them?
He wants us all to be friends with the athletes? Again, how? And how will that honestly help education? A sustainable campus doesn’t explain anything either- sustainable by being green? Sustainable economically? And how is he going to do that?
It seems like he’s just promising things to get votes while the other candidates are at least being realistic.
Yes, this! What makes Wasta’s goal to “strengthen relationships with alumni” any better than Houle’s goal to “build relationships between different groups on campus”? The language is nearly identical!
People are claiming that Wasta has “exact targets” but they fail to realize that none of the candidates delivered actual game plans. They did what they could during their short speeches, so I don’t blame them too much right now, but I too would like to see actual game plans instead of vague promises. Is Wasta going to create a student-alumni mentoring network? Is Houle going to hold more open forums to promote communication? Is Colombini going to actually do something about the Student Success Fee–if it’s even in his power? Is Honeycutt going to open ASI meetings to input from average students?
Instead of jumping onto a train it’s important to read and listen carefully. At this point, it’s hard to call any one of these candidates less vague than the rest.
Furthermore, Wasta has NO experiance with ASI or leadership on a large scale. Sure he’s an RA, but that is totally different than ASI. He would have made a fine candidate for board, but president with no experaince- no. Also, the Mustang Daily should be clear that he is not a junior in the strict sense- he is a second year with junior standing who will be graduating in three years.
As for all the rest being vauge. Of course they are being vauge and all sound the same. They all have the same goals and understand the realities of student gov- exact agends get lost.
Katy, if you believe ASI is functioning as well as it can then all the more power to you. I currently feel ASI has a lot of improvements to make in terms of its connection with students. Its an issue if being a RA and being in ASI government is so different because it means two of our biggest leadership groups are not able to connect with each other. How would we know if exact agendas get lost because candidates have consistently not proposed exact agendas. It goes back to the issue of what are we holding these people accontable for.
Ashley, from my conversations with Wasta it seems he wants to work closer with organizations such as Career Services in setting up Career Fairs, in order to ensure opportunities are open to our students. Encouraging alumni to return to campus and giving them platforms to speak and connect with students would be a great way for students to prepare for what awaits them. Lastly, but talking with him you would see how his sustainable solutions are in terms of making the campus one of the most eco-friendly campus on the west coast, he wants to work with campus dining to continue to find ways to making the dining locations more sustainable, and he also wants to hold a Think Green competition where students can submit proposals for a green solution for the campus and then actually have the students implement the proposal over winter and spring quarter of next year. Regardless of who wins I would like to see the candidates at least consider some of these ideas.
Although Daniel Wasta is young and was not already involved in ASI, I believe he brings something different to the table than the other candidates. As a Resident Advisor, Wasta has the opportunity to interact with so many more students than the other candidates and has made a huge impact in the lives of his residents–I can tell you that from experience as a current resident. I believe that because he is constantly surrounded by students, he has a better understanding of what students need. From this understanding, he will be able to make improvements that better serve the future of cal poly (the underclassmen and future students).
Wasta is extremely professional, personable, kind, dedicated, determined, involved, and prepared to make Cal Poly the best it can be for current and future students of this institution. WASTA ON!
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