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The Tulane Hullabaloo

USG executive board candidates begin campaigning, release platforms

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Executive board elections for Tulane Undergraduate Student Government will take place on Thursday and Friday.

The USG executive board is made up of six positions including president, executive vice president, vice president for student life, vice president for finance, vice president for student organizations and vice president for academic affairs.

Outgoing USG President Autumn Gibbons, who has served as the assistant news editor for The Hullabaloo, believes that all students should educate themselves on the candidates and vote for qualified candidates. Gibbons said she has worked this year to improve transparency and efficiency within USG and to promote the interests of Tulane students. Gibbons said this year’s elections are the first step in continuing those efforts.

“Each candidate on the ballot this year brings a new perspective to the executive board,” Gibbons said. “I am excited to see how this election season turns out and am more than confident in the candidates.”

President

The candidates for president for the 2017-18 academic year are juniors Sam Levin and Robert Mannis.

Levin served on USG for three years and is currently the executive vice president. In his tenure, Levin led YelLBC, a communal event to raise awareness about mental issues, and he created the Liaison Committee for underrepresented student groups including transfer students, international students and ROTC students to voice concerns and ideas at USG meetings. Levin worked with Greek organizations to install recycling bins and increase sustainability on campus and has worked to create an advisor evaluation process.

If elected as president, Levin said he wants to expand the Liaison Committee to include freshmen and other student groups and hopes to focus on sexual violence prevention and transparency in USG.

Mannis previously served on USG but does not currently hold a position. Mannis’ hopes to foster partnerships with organizations to combat sexual violence, implement sustainability initiatives like a bike sharing program and create a new USG position to help student organizations write grants to receive USG funding.

If elected, Mannis will focus on mental health awareness and resources through expanding Counseling and Psychological Services and creating a mental health campus climate survey. He wants to allocate resources toward intersectional work on campus by expanding space and funding for the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Gender and Sexuality Advisory Council.

Executive Vice President

The candidates for executive vice president are Manolo Baca Pallais and Erin Blake.

Pallais served on USG as a senator and president for the School of Liberal Arts and has worked to implement an emergency fund for students and the USG Task Force to Improve the International Student Experience. If elected as executive vice president, Pallais said he will continue his efforts on these ongoing projects and would work to make USG more inclusive and diverse. He also hopes to work with the USG cabinet to increase mental health resources and prevent sexual violence on campus.

Blake served for two years as a USG senator and devoted her tenure to addressing accountability of USG and increasing student engagement. Blake helped to develop a USG Outreach form that would allow students to make suggestions to USG and share ideas with its members. If elected, Blake said she will continue to work toward an unbiased and transparent USG.

Vice President for Student Life 

The candidates for vice president for student life are Andrew Snow and Khristyan Anthonee Trejo.

Snow, who has not previously served on USG,  said he wants to expand mental health resources and awareness. Snow’s campaign focus is on sexual violence prevention as a safety, security and community-driven objective.

Trejo currently serves as USG parliamentarian, and his campaign highlights the need for including student voices in USG policymaking and wants to open opportunities for students to engage with USG members during meetings. He said he will conduct student town halls, attend organizations’ meetings and table on campus.

Vice President for Finance

Tyler Margaretten is running unopposed for vice president for finance. Margaretten currently holds the position and has worked this year to manage a transparent and equitable USG budget. In his tenure as vice president for finance, he has increased funding to a cappella groups to acquire new equipment, expanded on-campus space available for LGBTQ+ groups and worked to update the finance committee’s bylaws.

Vice President for Student Organizations

The candidates for vice president for student organizations are Laura Bartusiak, Julien Bourgeois, Grant Wilson and Adam Burstain.

If elected, Bartusiak will continue to advocate for gender-neutral housing on campus and hopes to implement a Peer Responder Training Program to help students understand and prevent sexual violence. Bartusiak also aims to increase USG transparency by conducting student town halls, including student leaders in administrative meetings and holding external office hours.

Bourgeois currently serves as a USG senator and hopes to represent students’ interests by improving communication. He said he will continue USG’s trends toward transparency and efficiency.

Wilson has not served on USG but currently serves on the Association of Club Sports executive board as fundraising chair. Wilson said he will streamline processes to help organizations run their clubs more effectively and promote membership. Wilson believes representing all clubs and organizations will enrich student life.

Burstain, who currently serves as USG performing arts organizations council chair, wants to encourage co-programming and dialogue among organizations. If elected, he said he aims to support newer organizations by connecting them to USG resources.

Vice President for Academic Affairs

Michael Morton is running unopposed for vice president for academic affairs. Morton has served on USG as president of the School of Science and Engineering and has worked to make OrgSync more user-friendly. Morton said he hopes to unify USG as a support network for all students.

To read the platforms in full, go to http://www.tulaneusg.com/execcandidateinfo. The candidates also answered a questionnaire conducted by Tulane’s Progressive Voter Coalition.

Josh Axelrod contributed to the reporting of this article.

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
USG executive board candidates begin campaigning, release platforms