Elect your student reps, Be informed about those who’ll spend your tuition!

By Staff Editorial

This is the annual, obligatory “you should vote in the student congress elections” editorial.

But don’t just vote for your Oakland University Student Congress president and vice president because this editorial or somebody in the hallway next week solicits you to do so. If you’re going to be sticking around next year, and even if you’re not, please just take five minutes to get to know the people who are vying for the opportunity to represent you.

If you can make it, attend the debate on Wednesday, March 24 at noon in the Fireside Lounge.

The student body president and vice president aren’t simply a pair of students looking to get an extra line on their resume, or we hope not. They have real power and influence on student life and major decisions at the university. Particularly, the president and VP oversee the OUSC’s power to spend about $200,000 of tuition annually.

Student congress uses its share of tuition fees to provide “free” Scantrons, provide USA Today and New York Times in the Oakland Center, help sponsor trips to the state capitol and the NCAA tournament, and dozens of special projects thought up by members of congress, like the creation of the disc golf course on campus.

Members of each ticket hoping to win the upcoming election, being held March 29-31 online at oakland.edu/voteou, have different ideas on how to spend their time and the students’ money to improve OU.

Full details can be found in the center spread of this issue and also on The Oakland Post’s election page, oaklandpostonline.com/election-hq/.

On that page you will find a video of a candidate forum held in The Oakland Post’s office with all those running for president and vice president. Post editors fielded questions to the candidates. We were able to get a feel for what each ticket stands for, in case you don’t have the time to perform your own analysis.

Gustafson/Ring ticket

The Brandon Gustafson and Amy Ring ticket you have probably heard of. Their faces are plastered on banners all over the place. Their marketing strategies for their campaign mirror their proposed strategy as president and VP: To get the word out like crazy. They want to do more Facebook and banner advertising on campus for events.

They also want to have “Fireside Chats” on a weekly basis to meet with students and hear their concerns. Much like President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s radio addresses, these would foster a relationship between students and their representatives in OUSC.

Gustafson/Ring are fun candidates, and would be sure to bring the students some memorable and realistic changes, like a proposed quad for hanging out on hammocks outside and possibly a campus clock. They get along really well with each other and are sort of the every man’s ticket.

Schea/Diedrich ticket

The Cameron Schea and Mike Diedrich ticket is focused on creating a name brand for OUSC. They make a valid point that the student body only sees the free Scrantrons when it thinks of OUSC.

To expand OUSC’s image, they want to deliver large events that appeal to “everybody,” not the small or special-interest groups on campus.

While they have a few good ideas, like converting the Bear Bus into a safe-ride program and pushing to get the bookstore to be tax exempt, we question how realistic some of their other campaign promises are.

For example, they are pushing for stadium lighting and night sports games, which they said is to use as leverage for their SAE brother’s hopes for an OU football team.

They also want parking structures built, but that was found to be unnecessary and costly in a recent parking committee assessment. Diedrich mentioned at the debate Tuesday that students are “pissed” about tuition, but that’s how we would pay for such grandiose ideas proposed by the ticket.

Schea also said that the current student body administration has been ineffective, yet as a current legislator he is part of it.

Waquad/DeSanto ticket

The Saman Waquad and Laura DeSanto ticket definitely has the advantage of incumbency and experience, as Waquad is current student body vice president. She also has the most OUSC experience of any of the candidates.

DeSanto is new to OUSC, but as a commuter offers fresh ideas and perspectives, like reaching out to professors  to create an incentives program that would match class subjects with campus events and students could receive extra credit for attending.

The Waquad/DeSanto ticket is running on a platform that mirrors the overall goal of higher education: to work toward making OU students more well-rounded, helping them become more marketable for jobs when graduating.

They also want to reevaluate the inner workings of OUSC, and make sure that everyone on staff there is held accountable for the responsibilities given to them.

While The Post has decided not to endorse a ticket, we urge you to make whatever effort you can to get to know these candidates.

It counts.