The University Union (UU) Plaza is filled with campaign booths and presidential propaganda while students around campus support their presidential choice by wearing candidates’ T-shirts. The countdown to the Thursday announcement of the new Associated Student Inc. (ASI) president has begun.
Last year, at this point in the campaign, Cal Poly students saw the two presidential hopefuls dwindle down to one. This year, the two candidates, Kiyana Tabrizi and Daniel Galvan, started actively campaigning April 17, and both are still in the running.
Kinesiology senior Anthony Leonardi said both candidates have made their presence well-known around campus and are promoting themselves well.
“I see signs everywhere — all around campus there are shirts, different ideas and ways of promoting themselves,” he said. “They’ve been doing good, so it should be a close competition.”
Leonardi said it is important for the two candidates to campaign because it allows for their hard work to pay off more in the end. It also makes for a more exciting election process.
“(Having the two candidates) is important because it is a little more fair, not only to the people making the votes but to the people actually running,” Leonardi said. “Competition is fun, and everyone likes it and to see it being built off of.”
For their part now, Galvan and Tabrizi are focused on reaching out to students and making their voices heard.
Tabrizi, a political science senior, stood with various members of her campaign team on the corner of California Boulevard and Foothill Street on Monday from 7:30 to 10 a.m., campaign manager and sociology sophomore Katie Morrow said.
“It’s just another way for us to get our name out there,” Morrow said. “It is a Monday morning; no one is really excited to be up. We just wanted to boost peoples’ spirits. Let them learn a little bit about Kiyana and have them meet her.”
Initially, Morrow said she wanted to remain neutral in the election process, but after hearing more about Tabrizi’s platform, she said it grew on her until she decided to actively support Tabrizi.
Tabrizi’s platform is focused on improving the representation students have in ASI and transparency in the decision-making processes. She said she is focused on maintaining a strong line of communication. Since she cannot predict what is to come for the 2011-2012 academic year, she said she is committed to staying flexible and dealing with issues as they arise.
Her platform has been called a “non-platform” by adversaries, but Tabrizi said this isn’t entirely true. She said her approach is aimed at improving communication and collaborations between ASI student government and students, so as not to make false promises.
“Usually, candidates have platforms with those ‘buzz words’ such as sustainability, diversity, community relations, greek affairs and the list goes on,” Tabrizi said. “I couldn’t pick those buzz words because it was too fake to me. I could not be fake in the office, and I could not say that I was going to do these things but then come into the office and they weren’t going to get done.”
Instead, Tabrizi is focused on adding the finishing piece to the puzzle that is the ASI-to-student relationship on campus, which can be seen in her campaign materials around campus. She said she wants to be the connection between knowledge and students on campus.
Although this is Tabrizi’s first year in ASI — she served as the internal co-chair of the University Union Advisory Board this year — she said it is to her benefit, because she hasn’t been “hooked into ASI all four years.”
“I know how the system works now, but I see it as an average student,” Tabrizi said. “I see it from both sides rather than always having been in the ‘in crowd.’ To be honest, I feel I represent the regular students, and I feel that I could sit down and have lunch with the majority of the students over (Galvan). He’s great, but I represent more of the student perspective.”
On the other side of the ballot is Galvan, a sociology senior who has been involved with Student Life and Leadership for four years, and served on the ASI Board of Directors this year.
He said his experience has given him the connections to bridge the gap between ASI student government and Student Life and Leadership programs, and to use these connections to address issues as they arise.
“A lot of problems and concerns have been brought to my attention (while serving on both), and that is what has led me to run for ASI president,” Galvan said. “It is to represent and address those concerns and develop a platform that reflects those concerns of the students.”
Galvan said these connections with Student Life and Leadership and ASI student government, as well as his definitive platform, are what set him apart from Tabrizi.
“With myself, having a platform is so that students can hold me accountable during my term and at the end of my term,” Galvan said. “If I didn’t have a platform, what would they hold me accountable for? This isn’t a check list, this is more of a backbone for what is to come next year, and to open up the doors for many more programs for students and things like that.”
Galvan’s platform includes focusing on improving sustainability on campus, promoting diversity and creating a more transparent student government with representation on three levels — in the university, community and statewide — or as he calls it, advocacy.
“I’m not going to say I have all the answers to all the questions, but I am going to try my best and do my work in representing all Cal Poly students,” Galvan said.
This tangible, hands-on approach is what sociology senior and Galvan’s campaign manager, Michelle Fox, said attracted her to his campaign.
Fox said students can see Galvan at his campaign booth daily answering questions and handing out oranges, which follows suit with his promoting sustainability (by not having trash from candy or other handouts) and healthy lifestyles.
“I think the biggest thing is that I know he means what he says, and his platform is something he strongly believes in,” Fox said.
Fox said it is important for students to be informed about the voting process and encourages students to learn more about both candidates before they vote.
“It is important just to know who you are voting for because it will affect who you are at Cal Poly, and your future here,” she said. “Making an informed decision, whether it be for (Galvan) or (Tabrizi), is important.”
ASI’s electronic polls via the ASI website and students’ Cal Poly Portals open April 27 at 7 a.m., and will run until 7 a.m. the following day. The new ASI president will be announced April 28 during UU hour preceding a performance by Zion I & the Grouch. More information about the candidates can be found on ASI’s and each candidates’ (Galvan and Tabrizi) respective websites.