ASUWT election executive candidate forum
Published: Monday, April 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2012 16:04
The 2012 ASUWT elections are upon us and choosing the right person to advocate for students on and off campus has never been more important. The Executive Candidate Open Forum was held last Tuesday to give the candidates for president and vice president a chance to answer student questions about their plans for next year.
The candidates, in order of the ballot, were given two minutes to answer each question posed by the audience. Joseph Franco, Jonathan Girmatzion, and Elizabeth Pierini are the presidential candidates; Jaime Toyoda and Nikolas Ahkiong are running for vice president.
If you want a glimpse into the candidates’ plans for next year, or just want to inform yourself before voting, here are the questions that were addressed to the executive candidates on Tuesday.
How will you improve student participation in voting?
Franco sees marketing and personal interaction as the best way to increase student voting engagement. If students are aware that there is a vote going on, they will more likely participate in it. Informing students of what ASUWT is when they enroll and are asked to register for voting will help develop student participation from the get go.
Pierini, as an experienced ASUWT public relations senator has already spent this past year working towards increased voter participation. Many students now recognize the ASUWT logo. “Creating transparency” and allowing for candidates to engage with students through open ASUWT meetings should go a long way toward keeping voters participating, while also keeping them well-informed about the candidates.
Girmatzion wants to increase facetime with students by speaking in classrooms.
UWT is a commuter campus; what mechanism will you implement to reach out and advocate for them?
Each senator is in charge of 500 students; Franco wants to increase interaction with them, as they are the voices for students. He would also like to create a team that goes out and speaks to students one on one. He said his “whole campaign is based on outreach.”
Pierini, who is running on the platform of a “move toward the future,” again pulled from her past to answer the question. Throughout this year she has been working to engage with students through technology by opening a Facebook page and creating a Twitter account. She would also like to create more public forums and more internal productivity that will increase ASUWT advocacy for students.
Girmatzion has had good experience in the past with utilizing feedback from surveys. Increased advertising for meetings and events will also allow students to ask him questions, thereby increasing engagement.
Ahkiong sees one on one conversation as the most effective outreach method. He will also work to improve commuting, as it is a big part of our lives here at UWT.
Toyoda, as a freshman, did not know what ASUWT was, and undoubtedly many of us can relate. She, first of all, wants to “brand” ASUWT so everyone knows who they are. In her past year as a senator, she has found that sandwich boards have been effective as have been open public forums and online engagement. In her opinion, one on one conversations are ineffective, as many students do not have the time; this is why she will continue to work on improving the ASUWT website.
Many events have unfortunately not enjoyed wide participation. How do you plan to get more student participation?
Again, Franco believes that marketing will be most effective. Students should know what is going on, so he plans to utilize every possible calendar outlet, talk to students, and send out Facebook invites to raise awareness.
Pierini spoke about the success of this years’ “Stop By, Say Hi” event, during which students could come into the ASUWT office and just talk to candidates. She also plans to make food a bigger part of open public forums, in order to make spending lunch hour there more inviting.