Low on time, Olin council votes to back [open] slate

| News Manager

Olin Business Council voted to endorse Morgan DeBaun’s [open] slate on Wednesday in the first debate of the two Executive Slates.

The Council deliberated on whether to endorse candidates individually or an entire slate, but ultimately decided to endorse the entire slate due to time constraints.

The debate was the first between the two slates. After 40 minutes of dialogue, the Olin Business Council voted on an endorsement, choosing to support the [open] slate.

The candidates were presented with three questions prior to the event from the Olin Business Council (OBC), and the floor was opened up to other questions from the crowd. About 30 people attended the event, which had mostly Olin Business School students.

Before the event began, sophomore Ben Furtick, a member of Olin Business Council, said, “I’m looking for them to understand us as a business school student group. They are a new organization and there hasn’t been much in the way of connecting other student groups through the OBC specifically. I think a direct outreach approach to Olin Business School students would be the best.”

The questions posed by the council focused on how each slate would improve career services for business school students, how to close the gap between the different schools at Washington University, and how each slate’s agenda corresponds to the needs of each school. Finally, the council asked, “If revenue from the student activities fee were cut in half next year, what would you take out of the budget?”

DeBaun, SU president candidate for the [open] slate, said in regard to improving career services, “We would work with OBC and students in the business school. We would want to bring back the Netwurk, an initiative that has died over the past year, which would really help students.”

Netwurk was an initiative passed in fall 2009, which allowed business school students to network with Olin alumni to gain an advantage in the job market. The initiative lost momentum when the founder of the program and president of the OBC, Alex Rosenberg, went abroad.

Sophomore Kirsten Miller, who is running for vice president of administration for the [open] slate, commented on the importance of following through with initiatives.

“Netwurk started as a Senate project, and SU needs to be accountable for the things that we start,” she said.

Sophomore Cody Katz, the slate’s candidate for vice president of public relations, emphasized the need for all career centers on campus to respond to the changing economy and the strains it places on students as job applicants.

Junior Mike Post, the Bold slate’s candidate for vice president of administration, noted that improving career services is one of the most important issues in the campaign.

“Making sure that Career Center knows what students want and what their needs are would be a main priority for the slate,” he said.

Sophomore Ehi Okoruwa, the Bold slate’s candidate for vice president of public relations, agreed.

“We need to advertise the resources the Career Center offers, not only for students in the business school but for all students on campus, for those who aren’t in the business school but are business oriented,” she said.

The next question, about programming and outreach to bridge the gap between the different schools at Wash. U., allowed Bold slate’s presidential candidate, junior Nate Ferguson, to explain plans to make SU more accessible and strategic. He emphasized building a relationship with business fraternities Delta Sigma Pi and Alpha Kappa Psi. He also emphasized open office hours in public places on campus, as well as reviving OlinPalooza, a free concert organized by students in the business school, which hasn’t been put on in a year because of administrative concerns.

Miller brought up the revival of OlinPalooza as an example of a way to demonstrate support for the business school. She said that while other schools may receive funding for events such as Vertigo or Bauhaus, the business school requires more funding to put on such an event.

In an open round of questions, freshman Justin Blau, a member of the Olin Business Council executive board, said that OlinPalooza would require at least $15,000 in student funds. He asked the candidates if this was a viable target.

Junior Olivia Hassan, candidate for vice president of finance for the Bold slate, said in response, “One of the problems is getting finances for it, but if the passion of the student body is there we can all come together to make it happen and we would make it happen.”

Finally, regarding how to deal with a theoretical cut to the student activity fee, both slates emphasized making cuts across the board.

“We would cut things that aren’t used by all Washington University students,” DeBaun said.

Hassan stressed the need to gauge what the student body wants most when deciding what to cut in the event of a decline in student activity allocations.

“We need to prioritize money for things that people can participate in on campus and making Treasury more consistent,” she said.

An executives debate designed for the whole student body is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Monday.

Correction: The original version of this article stated that DeBaun was in the business school. She transferred out of the business school.

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