Ryan Chartrand

Are you a white shirt, brown shirt, or orange shirt? Not quite sure yet? Or maybe you’re not sure what I’m talking about.

Three words: ASI presidential candidates.

Whether you’ve already chosen the candidate who’s right for you or are still trying to figure it out, there are a few things you should know about the process.

Not only does the ASI president represent you and speak on your behalf on a daily basis, they’re also responsible for overseeing the $11 million ASI budget and ensuring the responsible use of your fees. It’s their job to make sure the Cal Poly administration understands student priorities and makes them their own. The ASI president is responsible for working very closely with the city on behalf of all students and making sure the student perspective is always considered.

Since he’ll represent students to people and different organizations, it’s obviously important the candidate you choose has had real field experience. Luckily, all three candidates have at least some history in and outside of ASI working and with university and city officials. Go ahead and give a plus to the candidate who you feel has had the most valuable background experience to help them represent the student body.

Beyond experience, there are a few other questions you should ask yourself when deciding who to vote for.

First, which candidate best represents you as a student? This is a tough one, but is one of the most important to consider. Of course, it’s likely none of the candidates fully represent everything about you, so instead focus on the candidate who is most capable of representing you. Being a good representative means being an excellent listener. It also means being able to understand what they are hearing from students, formulating an opinion representative of what they’ve heard, and putting the student opinion above their own. The candidate who you feel is most capable of representing the student opinion should get a big plus.

Second, consider the candidate’s personal motivation for running. Really consider it. In fact, consider it so much that you ask them what their motivation is.

Give a plus to the candidate whose answer you most agree with. From my experience, the people who make the best leaders are the ones who lead not because they want to, but because they feel it is their responsibility. They know for a fact they are the best for the job, and they are simply trying to do what is best for students.

Third, which candidate’s priorities are most important to you? Consider the impact the implementation of their goals would have at Cal Poly and in San Luis Obispo. Think about how realistic their ideas are and how much you’d like to see them accomplished. Regard the priorities they have promised to you about what they plan to accomplish next year. The candidate who has the most realistic promises should get a plus in your mind.

Finally, how successful has the candidate been in the past at representing students? Remember that people tend not to change their fundamental priorities in life and that strengths and weaknesses do not go away. In fact, expect them to be amplified in the candidate who is elected. Try and find out where the candidates have been successful in the past and where they seem to have fallen short. Be sure to give a plus to the candidate who has proven their strengths and has had the most successful and significant impact on the lives of students.

Most importantly, vote on Wednesday and Thursday. The ASI president and Board of Directors will be responsible for representing you for the next 12 months, so be sure to pick a strong and representative voice. Check out the candidates, take a few minutes to read about them and the promises they’ve made, and vote for the best candidates. It’s your voice, use it!

Todd Maki is your current ASI president and looks forward to seeing you at the polls this Wednesday and Thursday. Feel free to reach him at 756-5828 or tmaki@calpoly.edu.

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