Undergraduate Student Government candidates Josh Ahart and Jen Tripi said they hope Ohio State students consider experience when voting for the next USG president and vice president this week.
“Experience is one of the big things. You have to have institutional knowledge to run this organization not only internally, but externally,” said Ahart, a fourth-year in public affairs.
Ahart is currently the USG vice president, and has served as USG senator in multiple positions, the senate slate coordinator for USG President Taylor Stepp and the budget and finance chair.
Ahart’s runningmate Tripi, a third-year in psychology, said she thinks Ahart’s experience is a major advantage.
“I see (running with the incumbent vice president) as an absolute advantage because of Josh’s experiences. He has done incredible work with USG and he has created the relationships with faculty, staff, students,” Tripi said.
Tripi, too, brings USG experience to the table. She has served as deputy director for the health and safety committee for two consecutive years, is a member of the allocutions committee and served as a senator for social and behavioral sciences this year.
Both candidates said knowledge they’ve gathered from their involvement sets them apart from the other five campaigns.
“Josh and I both have the experience that certainly gives us the tools to lead this organization and be leaders of the student body. Josh, of course, is the current vice president of USG and I am the only vice presidential candidate that has senate experience, so I’ve learned, as a part of that system, how to be able to run the general assembly next year,” Tripi said. The USG vice president is tasked with running the general assembly.
Ahart listed his top three concerns as safety, affordability and overall student wellness.
“USG should be a representation of Ohio State,” Ahart said. “That’s why we’re running.”
Ahart and Tripi also aim to increase handicapped access to campus buildings, expand the Campus Area Bus Service options and work to prevent price increases for campus dining meal plans.
Ahart said they created their platform by listening to student opinions from all across the university.
“We’ve made ourselves more available every year, but it’s never enough until you get the opinions of all students. You can’t have 50,000 people in an office obviously, but if you’re proactive about hearing students’ input, that’s what’s gonna get you there. And like I said, our campaign is a representation of that,” Ahart said.
Stepp said Ahart has done a good job of soliciting feedback.
“Josh is really great at working with student organizations on an individual basis … Josh really took it to the next level. He created an online funding system for organizations to apply online instead of reaching out to a (USG) senator,” Stepp said.
The Ahart-Tripi campaign was recently accused of falsifying campaign expense reports by three of the opposing campaigns. The website “voteceliaandleah.com,” which includes the names of an opposing campaign, was registered in the name of the Ahart-Tripi campaign manager, though the campaign had not reported the expense. The USG judicial panel, though, reached a unanimous decision that the team had not committed a violation. The opposing campaigns who had brought the complaint forward – Celia Wright and Leah Lacure; Vytas Aukstuolis and Nick Macek; and Mohamd Mohamad and Sean Crowe – said they were not planning to appeal.
Ahart said students should vote for their campaign for several reasons beyond their experience.
“We have the institutional knowledge, we have a plan, and all of our policy points are definitely feasible … The platform that we have was created by students, not us,” Ahart said.
There are six campaign teams running: Ahart and Tripi; Aukstuolis and Macek; Ryan Hedrick and Nicole Spaetzel; Mohamad and Crowe; Andrew Warnecke and Logan Recker; and Wright and Lacure.
Voting is open online Monday through Wednesday.
Editor’s note: The campaigns were listed in alphabetical order by presidential candidates’ last names.