2010 OUSC Elections – Candidate Meet and Greet

The Oakland University student congress election meet-and-greet session, held on Monday at 6 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge, featured free food and fun in the form of a candidate dance-off.

Students were able to formally meet the three OUSC presidential candidates and their respective running mates.

The three tickets running in this election are Brandon Gustafson and Amy Ring, Cameron Schea and Mike Diedrich, and Saman Waquad and Laura DeSanto: each president and vice president, respectively.

“I wanted to come and find out more about the different platforms,” sophomore Billy Polaczek said. “I have Facebook … I just felt like I should come meet the candidates themselves.”

The six executive office candidates circulated the room and spoke with attendees for the first of the two-hour event.

Waquad and DeSanto had campaign literature in tow while Gustafson and Ring passed out blue and white campaign buttons in their quest to garner votes for the election.

Schea and Diedrich mingled empty-handed with their every-man approach of a campaign.

“I want someone who represents what the students want,” Polaczek said. “I voted for the Dayag/Waquad ticket last year but I will get a more solid view on all of the candidates before casting my vote.”

About 50 people were scattered around the lounge at the very beginning of the event hosted by the OUSC elections committee, but the number dwindled to about 30 after about half an hour.

Most attendees were drawn in by the free food, but some came to support the candidates or learn more about OUSC.

“One of the candidates is a fraternity brother, and I wanted to support him,” said  junior Lou Teeter, a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon, of Gustafson.

OUSC administrative assistant and elections commissioner Bill Hamilton admitted that he was weary of the “6:30 mark” where many students would leave the event for once-weekly classes.

Presidential candidate Schea, a sophomore, remarked that the turnout for the meet-and-greet event seemed low, “at least compared to last year.”

Polaczek admitted that he was only drawn into the event by the music being played by OU student Joshua King.

Polaczek said that he has been interested in getting involved with OUSC for some time but “just really never knew how and when to do it.”

Hamilton said that there were currently 10 students who submitted their declaration of candidacy for 26 available legislator positions in OUSC.

He said that the race is not as heated, as spots are “automatic” if less than 26 legislators are on the ballot.

The deadline to declare candidacy passed last Friday, but students can still be voted in as legislators by becoming a write-in candidate.

“Part of our platform right now is to let students know how to get involved with congress,” vice presidential candidate Ring said.  “(We want to) let them know we exist, what we do and how to get involved.”  Gustafson said he would like to hold fireside chats with students if elected in order to “know all the issues.”

Involvement is also a centerpiece to the Waquad/DeSanto campaign.  “OUSC needs to make sure that they’re advertising more,” said DeSanto, who is not currently a member.”Out of 19,000 students; most students don’t know about OUSC.”  Schea and Diedrich are also advocates of increased campus visibility for OUSC.

“Student involvement really is key to getting the most out of Oakland,” Schea said. “Oakland can be anything and everything you want it to be.”

Hamilton said he is working on stepping up exposure of the campaigns and OUSC in general and has enlisted the help and guidance of former OUSC public relations chair and presidential candidate Janelle Arbuckle and former OUSC admistratie assistant and elections commisioner Jennifer Doptis.

“It’s a conjoined effort to get the word out about elections,” said Hamilton of the six-member elections committee. “There is never a large turnout. We’re a commuter school; people don’t care.”

He requested a $5,000 budget for the elections from OUSC, up 500 percent from last year’s $1,000, and was ultimately granted $3,500 at the OUSC meeting earlier on Monday.

The money will go toward the cost of and the advertising of the presidential and vice presidential debates, the winners’ announcement event and a newly created presidential address.

After the candidates introduced their platforms, Hamilton surprised them with an impromptu dance competition.

Schea and Diedrich won with their dance to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.”

Students can vote for the candidates of their choice, based on either dance ability or platform, in the Oakland Center’s Gold rooms March 29 and 30.

The last day of voting is March 31, during which students must find their own way to a computer to cast a vote at www.oakland.edu/voteou. The site will be activated closer to the election dates.

For more coverage on the 2010 OUSC Election, see our Election HQ.