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With CUSG elections beginning this week, the candidates for student government are all looking forward to providing a voice for student groups on campus.
Voting begins today and candidates from the Refresh and Excel tickets, as well as the independent candidates, are continuing to campaign for votes.
Brittni Hernandez, a Refresh candidate for representative-at-large and a 20-year-old junior majoring in ethnic studies, said the Refresh ticket is a combination of diverse students from various groups at CU including GLBT, diversity and environmental groups.
“Our ticket is made up of people from all over the CU community,” Hernandez said. “We want to make it known that we are the progressive ticket and we want to represent the majority of the students at CU and what they value.”
Hernandez said the Refresh ticket is coming together as a team to voice the opinions of the student body.
“We’re coming together as a community to say that we want our voices heard,” Hernandez said. “We want to create a campus that feels welcoming and safe for everyone.”
Hernandez said she feels students feel comfortable and thrive within the small groups around the university, so the Refresh ticket wants to fight for funding for those student groups.
“We need to make our college affordable and accessible for all people,” she said. “That requires fighting for funding at the state level, and literally going and lobbying as representatives to our congressmen for higher education funding.”
One of the main goals of the Refresh ticket is safety. Hernandez said they believe it is time for CU to step away from the safety model currently used that informs students of precautions after an event occurs.
“We need to start talking about the ‘why.’ For instance, the hate crimes: ‘Why is this wrong and why are we doing these things?’” Hernandez said. “Right now our tactics are fixing the problem after it happens instead of preventing it in the first place.”
Hernandez said possible plans for creating a safer school include bystander intervention training classes on campus and partnering with CUSG Safety Director Corey Wiggins to promote the Safety Buffs program.
Connected to the safety issues on campus, she said requiring students to become informed on the importance of diversity through classes could help the student body to understand and open up on the topic.
“We need to start having a conversation with students that first come into the school about knowing that there’s a larger systematic issue in play here,” Hernandez said. “We want to work with the chancellor’s office to specifically work on diversity programs.”
Hernandez said being available to talk with students on a personal level is important and opening up the lines of communication within the CU community is the first step toward finding a solution to many of the problems on campus.
“I think it’s important to call upon students to step up and to be accountable for what happens at their school and to help be involved in the solution,” Hernandez said. “I also think that it is essential to hold office hours and be there when you say you’re going to be there. It’s a part of the bylaws for a representative.”
While most of the candidates are running on one of the two tickets, there are several students running as independents for the position of representative at large.
Independent candidate Larissa Armand, a 20-year-old junior majoring in sociology, said she’s running as an independent candidate because she believes students should have more choices.
“I have chosen to run as an independent because I believe that the students should have more choices available during the election and that there should be as many dedicated and qualified candidates as possible,” Armand said. “As an independent, I am universally approachable and there is not the element of exclusivity that can be created by a ticket.”
Armand said she believes running as an independent is harder than running on a ticket.
“Running as an independent means that all my platform ideas are my own, all the planning and work for my campaign is done by me, every campaign expense is coming from my wallet, and I need to work 10 times as hard to get the same support as a ticket,” Armand said. “People running on a ticket can count on their running mates to campaign on their behalf, which I am working hard to make up for.”
Armand said she thinks the biggest difference between her positions and the positions of both the Refresh and Excel tickets is that she wants to represent all students on campus, whereas the two tickets focus more on student groups.
“I am hoping for the opportunity to represent all students on campus, regardless of whether they are involved in organizations on campus, rather than focusing largely on student groups,” she said.
Armand said her platforms are affordability, sustainability, safety and diversity. She also is hoping to increase support of the “Buff Up the Rec” initiative.
“In regards to affordability, I plan to address two aspects of educational expenses,” Armand said. “Firstly, I will ensure that CU is in compliance with HR 4137, The Higher Education Opportunity Act. Secondly, I plan to address the rising costs of tuition by being active in lobbying, communicating with our state and national representatives, and attracting public attention.”
Armand said she plans to enact her platforms through educating the student body and legislation to make policy changes.
Armand said what makes her unique from the other candidates and tickets is her diverse range of knowledge and ideas.
“I have been taking this seriously and campaigning hard to promote myself in a very competitive election,” Armand said. “I also place a priority on representing the student body favorably to university officials, the community and state legislators.”
For more information on the CUSG tickets, elections or to vote, visit http://studentu.colorado.edu/content/elections.
Find information about the Excel ticket here.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Carli Auran at Carli.email@example.com. or
CU Independent Staff Writer Lindsay Wilcocks at Lindsay.firstname.lastname@example.org.