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ASUA Elections: Here’s how the Senate Q&A went down

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(Illustration by Pascal Albright)

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona elections are quickly approaching, and they kicked off election week with the Senator Q&A, which had current senators asking the candidates seeking positions about what they hope to accomplish as senators. 

The candidates are running for senators of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Science, Nursing, Education, Engineering, Architecture, Fine Arts and Eller College of Management. 

Along with college specific senators, there are also four candidates running for senator at-large, which will see only three of these candidates serving in this position next year. 

The candidates running unopposed for college-specific senate positions include Lauren Heath for the College of Architecture, Elsa Ayon for the College of Education, Swathi Ramkumar for the College of Engineering, Paige Campbell for the College of Nursing, Jack Haskins for the College of Fine Arts and Sydney Mathis for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 

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Joe Ross and Jack Healy are competing for Eller, and Kendra Martinez and Louise Lalescu are both running for the College of Science. 

The candidates running for the at-large senate positions include Lady Elli, a current senator at-large, Giselle Lugo, Jordan-Isaiah Toyos and Kaleb Nichols. 

The Q&A took place virtually over Zoom and was broken down into two parts, the first part being questions for the college-specific candidates, and the second for the at-large candidates. Deputy ASUA Elections Commissioner Matthew Start moderated the event, giving each candidate a minute to speak after each question. 

There were five questions asked for each candidate to answer, as well as questions from the audience. The questions centered around plans that the candidates had for what they would do for the student body, as well as for their colleges. The questions ranged from the topics of sustainability and how they would amplify student voices, to their experience, their plans and the future they see for their colleges. 

The most important questions focused on what the senators were running on and what they could do for the colleges, students and student body as a whole. 

One of these questions asked about what experiences they had and how these would help them in their positions. Many of the candidates spoke to their experiences in organizations and on campus. 

Healy from Eller spoke to his time in the Sigma Nu fraternity, working on the diversity board and as the alumni chair. Heath from the College of Architecture spoke to her time working through ASUA at the club resources center and aiding all the clubs that came through for registration. 

Joe Ross, also running for Eller Senator, highlighted his time as Corporate Director for Spring Fling and being a preceptor for two Eller classes, giving him hands-on experience with businesses and the students. Kendra Martinez of the College of Science spoke of working with Students for Sustainability. Her opponent, Louise Lalescu, spoke of participating within the college and her experiences in the college, with advisors, professors and students alike. 

Another question was what the candidates’ goals were as ASUA senators and how they planned to achieve them. Most of the senators spoke of the disconnect and broken relationship between ASUA and the students, how ASUA is supposed to be an advocate and students aren’t even aware of them being there or what they do. 

While many of the candidates’ answers echoed this notion, a few pointed out other more specific things they had planned, like Jack Haskins, Joe Ross and Swathi Ramkumar. Haskins, current Senator for the College of Fine Arts, spoke on following through with the issue of the mandatory meal plan and the barriers that creates, along with amplifying the climate action plan. 

Ramkumar, also a current Senator for the College of Engineering, said she wanted to keep up her relationship with the college’s dean, making sure the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion classes she has worked on implementing into the college are pushed through. Ross spoke on the idea of incorporating and uplifting the community through local and minority owned businesses, giving them campus advertising like that of the “mega apartment chains”. 

The most important question asked was how the candidates would amplify student voices if they were to be elected. Every candidate talked about making sure the students know they’re there to be advocates for them and finding ways to do this. 

Paige Campbell of the College of Nursing said she would like to implement new, COVID-19 friendly communication lines that would help nursing students stay connected whether they are in-person or online, as well as making sure they are able to stay connected to the university as a whole since they are somewhat isolated geographically. 

Lauren Heath of the College of Architecture echoed this sentiment, hoping to connect students from her college with more of campus due to architecture students often being stuck within their college. 

Joe Ross also spoke similarly, saying he would vouch to bring his personal office hours off-campus to “Eller Island”, since Eller is often isolated as well. Jack Healy of Eller said his goal would be that every business major knew his name, and would achieve this through social media communication and introducing himself in Management and Information Systems classes. 

Kendra Martinez answered similarly, saying she would connect through social media and student clubs/organizations. Leslie Lalescu said she would like to connect to student organizations, especially those in her college like Women in Computer Science, which Ramkumar also echoed for students in her college. 

In case you missed it, you can watch the recording of the ASUA 2021 Senate Q&A here and read about the candidates here

ASUA’s 2021-2022 election week will continue with the executive and administrative vice president debates on March 25 at 6:30 p.m., followed by the presidential debate on March 26 at 6:30 p.m. 

The elections will be held March 30-31. Until then, you can find updates on the ASUA elections’ Instagram page


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