Statesman Debate the 2017 USUSA candidate finalists squared off yesterday in the taggart student center.

First, organizations and diversity vice president candidates Geraldine De La Mota and Chelsea Yoshikawa got the chance to debate their platforms for the audience gathered in the Hub. The organizations and diversity vice president receives a total compensation of $8400.

Question: There are two parts to this position. What are your specific goals for both the diversity aspect and the organization aspect?

De La Mota said she will improve the diversity cabinets, where people can be represented. For clubs and organizations, she plans to raise membership and inform students.

De La Mota's platform involves creating "unity between all USU clubs and organizations," building stronger relationships between various diversity organizations and USUSA clubs, and starting a diversity newsletter.

Geraldine De La Mota // Photo by Sydney Oliver

Yoshikawa's campaign platform involves organizing an alumni base for international students, creating a "Celebration of Diversity" campaign, and continuing to improve the Club Portal, something current organizations & diversity vice president Luis Armenta has focused on throughout his two years in the position.

Chelsea Yoshikawa // Photo by Sydney Oliver
"The reason I'm so focused on fixing the club portal is because that's the biggest complaint I've had from clubs this year," Yoshikawa said.

Next up were Joe Aratari and Keaton Whitney, the finalists for student events vice president. The student events vice president is responsible for coordinating and improving university-sponsored events and receives a total compensation of $8,400.

Photo by Sydney Oliver

Question: In preparing to run for this position, what research led you to create your specific goals?

"My research has been being in the office every day," said Aratari, who has been involved with the student events office since his freshman year.

Aratari's campaign goals involve expanding the outreach of USU's blue crew, reestablishing open meetings so volunteers feel welcome, and creating a council to plan events for diverse groups and organizations.

Joe Aratari // Photo by Sydney Oliver

Whitney's goals include creating an app to centralize information about student events and incorporating information from student suggestion polls into event planning.

Keaton Whitney // Photo by Sydney Oliver

Asked whether he was aware of the difficulties previous USUSA officers have had with app development, Whitney said he's already begun work on the app and hopes to have it ready to launch this fall.

After Aratari and Whitney, executive vice president candidates Blake Harms and Dallin Johnson took the stage. The executive vice president plays an important role on the USU Fee Board, which decides how much money organizations funded by student fees receive. The executive vice president also oversees the activities of all college senators through the academic senate. If elected, Harms or Johnson will receive $8,400 in compensation.

Photo by Sydney Oliver

Question: The executive vice president plays an important role on the USU Fee Board. How do you plan to be an advocate for students with regard to how their money is spent?

Johnson: "With regard to the fee board, I want to get student input for this."
Harms: "I want us to feel like we have a surplus while keeping fees low. There should be active participation from students with this."

If elected, Harms promises to work to create policy mandating diversity training for recruiting groups, help connect students with alumni working in their field of interest, fix waitlist policy by creating a system to organize high-demand courses, change the way USUSA volunteers use their time, and incentivize "real-world" coursework through the faculty senate.

Blake Harms // Photo by Sydney Oliver

If elected, Johnson promises to "be a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and initiatives," build cohesiveness between colleges, clubs and organizations, "cultivate a positive, welcoming culture within USUSA," and support the USUSA president with his/her initiatives.

Dallin Johnson // Photo by Sydney Oliver

Question: In preparing to run for this position, what research led you to create your specific goals?

Harms: "I was able to develop relationships with academic senators and gain working relationships to help me in the future."
Johnson: "I've been preparing to run for this position specifically for months, and I feel like I've done the research for it."
Finally, Rachael Fresh and Michael Scott Peters pled their cases for election as the next USU student body president. The USUSA president receives an overall compensation of $17,000.

Both candidates' platforms involve raising awareness of sexual assault and mental health issues in the USU community and creating an environment where students feel safe getting help for those issues.

Michael Scott Peters // Photo by Sydney Oliver
"I want to make sure that both sexual assault and mental health are addressed. That's where I'm putting my focus," Peters said.
"I believe education will save our world. We need to change the culture and the stigma (surrounding mental health) here," Fresh said.
Rachael Fresh // Photo by Sydney Oliver

If elected, Fresh's campaign platform states she will create a mental health and sexual assault awareness education plan, provide compensation for organizations that complete QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) and Bystander training, increase diversity in USUSA leadership by providing a specified seat on the President's Cabinet for clubs and organizations, and "provide an opportunity for freshmen to join a group designated to learning about the opportunities at Utah State."

In addition to initiatives designed to improve mental health and sexual assault awareness, Peters promises to host "Parfaits with the President" to build relationships between USUSA and the student body, "revamp" the USU mobile app to publicize events, and "enrich the cultural experience" by recognizing students through the President's Scholarship program for helping "#EveryoneBelong."

Complete candidate platforms can be found on the Utah Statesman website at Polls will remain open at until 11:59 p.m. tonight.


Debate photos by Sydney Oliver.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.