Few attend SU debates, exec candidates discuss developing platform

Manvitha Marni | Student Life

Fewer than two dozen students attended this year’s Student Union debates and nearly half of them were candidates.

The debates, which were held Wednesday evening in the Danforth University Center, lasted just over an hour and saw the Progress Slate, running unopposed for SU executive council, field questions unopposed while the Legacy and Inspire Slates took turns answering questions about their plans should they be elected as Senior Class Council.

Of the 22 students present, 10 were candidates, and many of the remaining students were affiliated with SU.

SU elections will be held on May 5 and 6.

Progress Slate candidates discussed topics ranging from the prior experience that qualifies them for executive positions to how they plan to help build community within SU. Responding to a student who drew attention to the slate’s unreleased platform, Progress Slate’s candidate for vice president of administration, junior Liz Hay, described the four “pillars” of development on which the slate intends to focus. The four pillars, according to Hay, were progress inward; progress together, a pillar which expressed the slate’s intent to work more closely with students; progress on campus; and progress beyond campus, which encompassed collaboration with other universities and the St. Louis community.

Sophomore William Waldron, candidate for vice president of public relations, was asked what he thought SU could have improved upon in the previous year. He expressed a desire for an all-school calendar to avoid overlapping events such as TEDx, the MythBusters visit and the Book of Mormon show, which all occur in the coming weekend.

Three representatives from each of the senior class council slates were present: among the absent was Legacy Slate’s presidential candidate, Varun Mehrotra, who is studying abroad. Members of each slate detailed how they planned to program for the class of 2014, which both slates agreed would be a challenge given the class’ size and diversity.

“We want to be able to hit every single student in the class of 2014 but not necessarily through the same program. We understand that 1,500 students are probably not going to come to every single program that we have, but we want to offer at least one or two programs that each student can say, ‘That is something that I would interested be interested in doing,’” Asha Thomas, Legacy Slate secretary candidate, said.

Both slates also expressed a desire to create new programming beyond traditional senior events. One event proposed by Bailey Breems, Inspire Slate’s presidential candidate, was a trip to the Boathouse in Forest Park for dinner and to make use of the paddleboats.

“I think the key part of this event is trying to get a cut rate on the paddle boats. I think it’d be just a lot of fun to have…a bunch of seniors out riding paddleboats around at 9:00 at night when nobody else is out there. That’d be a very unique experience and a very memorable experience for seniors,” Breems explained.

Breems also expressed a desire to focus on developing programming for students who do not wish to drink alcohol. Legacy Slate later addressed the same topic, answering a question about how the slates planned to reach out to such students. Hilary Brownstead, treasurer candidate for Legacy Slate, noted that the slate contained members who did not drink alcohol and would therefore keep in mind the importance of non-alcohol-focused programming.

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