Ohio State Undergraduate Student Government’s six presidential candidates had their first chance to campaign this week.
An event called Floats and Votes was held Monday evening at the Ohio Union, as attendees enjoyed different kinds of ice cream floats and sundaes while they learned about USG’s role on campus.
Brandon Cruz, a member of the USG Judicial Panel and a first-year in political science and economics, said the event was essentially an election symposium.
“It is to gather undergraduate students to become more familiar with USG and USG elections,” Cruz said. “Therefore, they can become more involved within the university as well.”
Tyler Byrum, chief justice of the judiciary and a fourth-year in engineering physics, said although campaigning officially starts Wednesday, Floats and Votes gave candidates the opportunity to introduce their platforms and give a preview of their policies ahead of time.
Cruz said the event was good for the candidates to start establishing their campaigns.
“The benefit of this event for the candidates is that it allows them for the first time to officially begin to tell the undergraduate student population their dreams and hopes if they were elected,” Cruz said.
The six different campaigns, which are running on different platforms, each had a table and interacted with students who wanted to learn about their policies.
Celia Wright, a third-year in public health and the USG senior internal affairs director, is running for USG president along with runningmate Leah Lacure, a third-year in public affairs and the USG deputy chief of staff, the only all-female pair set to be on the ballot.
“Our slate has five main points we’d like to address including improving meal plans like bettering the block system, introduce a new safety plan, build up education across public and private Ohio schools, working to get a bike-share program on campus and improving student voice about academic advising,” Lacure said.
Ryan Hedrick, a third-year in linguistics and a presidential candidate running with Nicole Spaetzel, said he is hoping to focus on emphasizing health resources for students if elected.
“Our main themes and main talking points include renewing things such as our mental health, physical health, financial health and spiritual health,” Hedrick said. “Other policies include renewing inclusion, academics, the environment, student transportation, biking on campus, technology, USG, our outreach and our commitment to Columbus, but even if we don’t win, all of our points will still be talked about.”
Andrew Warnecke, a third-year in political science who is running for president with Logan Recker, is campaigning on student voice and student choice.
“There are many things I could do to help serve the students better, and one thing is that I think we need more of a visible student government,” Warnecke said. “With six candidates, students have the chance to choose the best to serve them, so I try to emphasize my love for people at OSU and why I want to serve them.”
Nick Macek, a third-year in geography and a vice presidential candidate running with Vytas Aukstuolis, a third-year in public affairs, said their campaign is centered around three main points.
“Our slate is focusing on responsibility, interconnectedness, and representation of the student body,” Macek said. “For example, we really want to emphasize our point about interconnectedness and connecting to smaller groups.”
Mohamad Mohamad, a third-year in chemical engineering and engineering physics and presidential candidate, is running with Sean Crowe, a second-year in chemical engineering.
“What we want to focus on is problem-solving, and since we are both engineers, we look at the issue is hand and think about what the solutions are,” Mohamad said. “We want to make leaders out of people and not just be the only people leading, through things like business programs and taking things to the next level with our resources and knowledge.”
Josh Ahart, a fourth-year in public affairs and current USG vice president, is another presidential hopeful, running with Jen Tripi.
“There are several different issues my committee and I are going to be working on, including improving safety for students on-campus and off-campus, working toward improving affordability because that’s a big issue with students, and sustainability,” Ahart said. “The biggest thing I’d like to say is that we really care about the students’ voice and that we need as much student input as possible, every single day, because this is the students’ university.”
Russell Patterson, a second-year in political science and economics, attended the event to learn about the different campaigns and their policies.
“The event was a good idea and a great way to get everyone together for people like myself to meet the candidates in a casual way instead of just reading about their policies online,” Patterson said.
Nick Brausch, a second-year in psychology, said he learned more about USG at the event and is interested in attending other USG campaigning events in the future.
“The presidential debate is definitely something I’d like to go to and I also found out when it’s time to vote,” Brausch said.
The USG presidential debate is set to be held Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Ohio Union and voting is slated to be open from March 3 to 5.
Correction: Feb. 24, 2014
In an earlier version of this article, Leah Lacure was misquoted as saying her slate plans to “build up education across public and private Ohio schools,” when in fact, she said “build an education coalition for public and private Ohio schools.”