Meet the fall 2022 candidates for Undergraduate Senate and School Councils

Voting closes Oct. 26 at noon

Meet the fall 2022 candidates for Undergraduate Senate and School Councils

With the election underway, here are the candidates for Student Government’s fall elections. Voting opens Monday, Oct. 24 at 12 p.m. and closes Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 12 p.m. with positions for the Undergraduate Senate and school councils on the ballot.

For all 36 positions on the ballot, only three are contested: the Senate races to represent the Class of 2026, the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Public Affairs.

Every candidate running for an Undergraduate Council position is running unopposed. Only one person is running for Senate to represent the Class of 2024 and none are running for the Class of 2023.

The SG Elections Commission published ballot statements it collected from candidates.

“The idea for these statements was that voters could hear more about each candidate prior to casting their ballot on Monday,” the commission wrote in a press release Saturday. “Every effort had been made to include every qualified candidate's information on this document.”

Here’s what this semester’s ballot looks like:

Undergraduate Senate: Class of 2026

 Aru Rastogi, a freshman in SPA and Kogod, said in an interview that one of her goals, if she is elected, is to make sure greater inclusivity is allotted for all students and support is raised for communities’ needs.

“When it comes to inclusivity and promoting diversity, for me it is beyond just, you know, appreciating the culture and stuff, but truly willing to respect it,” Aru said.

Another important point of change she wished to implement is more transparency of AU administration, so the student body knows who is holding the power and where they can bring any concerns.

Benjamin Piccarillo, a freshman in SPA, wasn’t initially planning on running for Senate, but after some time at AU, he felt that “there were a lot of things … that [the administration] didn’t tell [freshmen].” He said, as an example, that he didn’t feel the University communicated its policies about dorm access effectively.

Piccarillo wrote in an Instagram post that, if elected, he plans to propose legislation that would urge the University to provide all freshmen access to all freshman dorms using their One Card.

“The current policy limits how much students can socialize and connect with [each other],” the post read. He said he will also work with local restaurants to expand meal exchange usage to off-campus options.

Piccarillo told The Eagle he served on his high school’s model congress and debate team, and founded the school’s philosophy club. He said he has “expertise in logic and policy that could be applicable” if elected.

Marisa Singh was contacted for comment. As of publication, The Eagle is awaiting a response.

Richard Young Jr., a freshman in SPA, wants AUSG and AU’s campus to be a more inclusive environment where all students feel appreciated.

“Unfortunately, I haven't really been seeing the diversity that's been preached to me when I applied for American,” Young Jr. said. “I don't think that it's something that's been done on purpose, but I just want to be here to push it forward.”

Young Jr. said that he knows what it is like to be silenced, so he is determined to be a person that amplifies the voices of others in a genuine manner and advocates for serious topics that matter to him and those he represents. 

“That's the best part because I will not stop until there's change,” Young Jr. said.

Reilly Jackson, a freshman in SPA, said when she came to AU, “I started meeting friends, especially upperclassmen, it was either, ‘Oh, I hate Student Government, they're awful, they don't do anything for us,’ or, ‘Student Government's great, you should absolutely join and run.’”

She said she took that opportunity to determine for herself what could be improved. After running for student government the last three years in high school, and serving as student body vice president, Jackson said she wanted to continue that trend in college.

At AU, she wants to focus on harm reduction, Student Media Board funding, dining hall reform, structural change in SG and COVID-19 safety.

Ty Burrell, a freshman in SPA, said he believes that the Class of 2026 deserves a voice in Student Government.

Burrell’s platform includes “[f]ighting to keep gender-neutral bathrooms,” the cancellation of classes on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, expanded usage of meal exchanges and EagleBucks off campus and Starbucks and Subway gift cards on campus, changes to dorm safety and residential guest policies and “[i]mprovements for [f]ood [s]ervices.”

Undergraduate Senate: Class of 2024

Chandler Eby, a junior in SPA, is running to abolish SG. He told The Eagle that he has heard from fellow students that this goal is shared.

Eby’s official platform is “Go outside, touch grass, have a beer.” 

“The campaign itself is a meme. It is a joke; it is a troll,” he told The Eagle. “The goal isn’t.”

When SG hosted a State of the Union event last spring with limited tickets, Eby called it a “circlejerk.” 

“I hate being serious … but there are real issues that I gotta get serious about,” he said.

Undergraduate Senate: CAS

Arusa Islam, a sophmore in CAS, said in a ballot statement that with dilligent effort all of the students in the CAS can be represented fairly.

“I truly believe that with hard work and dedication, unity and representation will continue to be established for all majors and minors under the College of Arts and Sciences,” Islam said.

Sebastian Winter, a sophomore in CAS, noted in his ballot statement that he was an environmentalist and he hoped to push for more environmental policy being implemented at AU.

“I believe that we as students can do more to help contribute to stopping climate change and that as senator I will be able to push the senate to act on this priority,” Winter said.

Undergraduate Senate: SPA

Braeden Watkins, a junior in SPA, said in his ballot statement that he believes that positive change can be made through more focus on policy and reform especially in terms of introducing a bill of stipend positions to be available for anyone in SG to work on students’ needs such as mental health and campus safety. 

“I believe in using stipends to make AUSG positions more accessible, not just for select members,” Watkins said.

In an Instagram post, Watkins promised to share “regular updates” on what he is working on with SG and to ask for feedback from those he represents.

Ryan Nolan was contacted for comment. As of publication, The Eagle is awaiting a response.

This story is ongoing and will be updated with candidate responses.

Editor's note: Ava Falkenwrath, a candidate for an at-large senate seat and Taraji Ellington and Aaron Russell, who are both candidates for positions on the CAS Undergraduate Council, were not involved in the writing, reporting and editing of this story. 

oaustonbabcock@theeagleonline.com and mkonjoyan@theeagleonline.com

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