IUSA hopefuls campaign on last day of election
Campaigns took to tabling and handing out merchandise one last time Thursday, the last day of the 2017 IU Student Association election.
Each ticket needed to reserve campaign spots on the days of the election, though tabling had taken place for weeks leading up to it this year. Engage’s presidential candidate, junior Michelle Long, was handing out fliers Thursday afternoon by the Ora L. Wildermuth Intramural Center.
She said after weeks of tabling and outreach, her campaign was finally seeing the results it was looking for. It secured endorsements from the Muslim Student Association, College Democrats at IU and a personal endorsement from current IUSA President Sara Zaheer. Long said she was glad people were becoming more aware of IUSA’s role on campus.
“I’m tired, but things are coming together really beautifully,” Long said.
Freshman Gabriella Brannock stood next to Long and interacted with passing students. Brannock said she was originally contacted by another campaign for her marketing and outreach skills relating to design.
“They approached me for my design skills,” Brannock said. “And I had to google what IUSA was because I had never heard of it, and I feel like that’s a big problem amongst freshmen.”
She eventually chose to work with Engage because of its sustainability policy. She said climate change and campus recycling were important issues for her since one of her areas of study is sustainable business.
Across the cement path from the two stood junior Eryicka Wesley and freshman Emily Tong , who handed out fliers for Empower IU’s ticket. Wesley has been in leadership positions in two residence halls and is running to be IUSA’s co-chief of diversity and inclusion. She said she likes how her ticket looked for two people with different perspectives for the position.
“Everyone’s ideas are taken into consideration and used,” Wesley said. “One thing that I really love about Empower is that we are not just fighting for justice for the student body but for justice for anyone that may step foot on this campus.”
Tong was part of IUSA’s 2016-17 freshman internship program, so working on a campaign was a natural progression for her. She said she chose Empower for its detailed and bold policy plan. Tong is running for co-chief of academic affairs and said her priorities include educational accessibility.
Halfway across the Arboretum from the Engage and Empower campaigners stood sophomores Alison Sandoval and Adam Pierce, who were tabling for IGNITE. The two went to the same high school as presidential candidate sophomore Will McKinney, and Pierce said they joined IGNITE’s policy team after seeing the good campaign their peers were running.
Sandoval said policies such as the ticket’s “Transparent IU” platform made her want to get involved in student government. She said IU students should hold their administration accountable.
“I really like the idea of transparency just because I feel like there’s a lot of things that IU promises, but there’s a lot of things that they’re doing that I think if a majority of the student body knew, they’d probably be in opposition to,” Sandoval said.
At the entrance to the Arboretum on 10th Street and Fee Lane, Focus’ presidential candidate, junior Brandon Sakbun, held his dog, Buddy-Kumar, who was wrapped in a campaign T-shirt like a superhero cape.
He and his staff members sat across the entrance space from and exchanged friendly greetings with Empower’s chief of staff Olivia Malone, sophomore, and candidate for vice president of administration, sophomore Molly Connor.
In Ballantine Hall, Focus’ candidate for vice president of Congress, junior Michael Schommer, sat at a condom- and lollipop-covered table with sophomore Liz Evans. Schommer currently serves in IUSA Congress and chairs the Student Life Committee. In the past he’s worked with Sakbun, who is adviser to the current vice president of Congress.
“I think we had a great idea for change that we want in IUSA because we’ve seen it in the past,” Schommer said. “But we also knew the potential it had and what we could build off of with IUSA.”
He said part of why his ticket invested in promotional condoms was their relevance to college students. Instead of handing out policy fliers, students could see proof of Focus’ commitment to preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Like other campaigns tabling Thursday, it also handed out lollipops.
Evans studies political science and worked on a campaign in last year’s Indiana gubernatorial race. She said she was looking to get more involved on campus and the ticket’s platform represented her values best.
“I looked at all the groups,” Evans said. “I looked at Focus’ policy, and that’s what spoke to me the most, so that’s why I started to help out a little bit.”
The Psych Up ticket reserved places for tabling on both days of the election. Despite their candidate for treasurer, sophomore Kyle Yohler, saying his ticket planned to gain support through word of mouth, the ticket was not campaigning when the IDS spoke with the other four.
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