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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “VP contenders discuss platforms, voter turnout”

    With the Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s General Elections beginning today, the Daily Wildcat’s Shain Bergan sat down with current senator and sole Administrative Vice Presidential candidate Gabby Ziccarelli, as well as current senator and lone Executive Vice Presidential candidate Emily Fritze, to discuss their platforms, plans for the future and how ASUA will reverse student apathy for the student government.

    Gabby Ziccarelli

    “”Change is a slow process. It won’t be an overnight or even a one-year thing. It’s going to have to start next year and keep on going.””

    Daily Wildcat: How do you feel your time as a senator has prepared you for administrative vice president?

    Sen. Ziccarelli: A lot actually, and I’m glad because last year as administrative chief of staff – had I jumped into this, I think I would have been a little lost. This entire year in the Senate, you grow as a senator. You’re like, ‘Hey, I have this certain platform. I’m going to do this.'”” But there’s so much more to the job. Sitting on Undergraduate Council has taught me so much about the budget crisis going on right now, the transformation process – because, you’re the one student that sits on that committee, and you’re hearing all these professors who are making this policy that’s going to affect all 38,000 students and you’re that one person that has to speak on their behalf … It’s been very eye-opening.

    As far as opportunity is concerned, you said (in your platform) that you’re going to “”find unique ways for students to obtain credits for their degree.”” What do you specifically mean by that and how do you plan to get it done?

    There’s a lot of things in ASUA where we could add a position that obviously can’t be paid, because with internship credit, you can’t receive any kind of monetary exchange … Right now, I’ve been talking to (University College), and there’s internship credit … that we can start with that will give students an elective credit. We can try that out for the first semester … It’ll draw some people in that maybe otherwise wouldn’t have looked at ASUA.

    As far as openness (another focus of your platform) is concerned, do you feel like openness has been an issue with ASUA in the past or currently?

    I think they’ve always wanted to be open. It’s just, it takes a lot of effort to go out, seek students out and talk to them. So obviously, I was telling you about the Town Hall Forums (in which students can ask ASUA specific questions). It’s something I want to continue, and I feel like if it keeps happening and it becomes part of our campus culture … I think people will be more likely to keep doing it …Also, I really would love to have some sort of executive newsletter, and I really want to find a way to reach as many students as possible.

    If you look at the general elections last year, less than 10 percent of (students) actually ended up going out and voting. Is this (openness) something you think might help reverse (student apathy)?

    I think it’ll be a good start and a good step forward, because if people think, ‘Hey, look. They’re actually listening to me – these individuals that I elected, or didn’t elect, they’re actually trying. Maybe when I vote, it will have a chance to change something.’ And change is a slow process. It won’t be an overnight or even a one-year thing. It’s going to have to start next year and keep on going.

    Emily Fritze

    “”It’s really hard to make students automatically want to vote or make them not apathetic to the process, but I think the best thing you can do is to campaign so hard that they remember you or you’re memorable somehow.””

    Daily Wildcat: If you could, please give me a brief overview of the platform for your campaign.

    Sen. Fritze: First and foremost, I think that I have the opportunity to really reach out to students from my position, because I oversee and represent the 500-plus clubs and organizations on campus. So I’d really like to utilize that, as more of a liaison on higher education issues – advocacy opportunities for students.

    As you know, last general election, less than 10 percent of people eligible to vote actually ended up going out and voting. What of yourself are you going to lend to try to reverse that kind of student apathy toward the student government?

    Well, you know, I think the difference this year is that there is a really competitive race for the Senate (with 20 candidates appearing on the general ballot). That’s hopefully going to increase voter turnout. Competition, and the more people running, always increases turnout. It’s really hard to make students automatically want to vote or make them not apathetic to the process, but I think the best thing you can do is to campaign so hard that they remember you or you’re memorable somehow … I think that’s the best way we can do it. Marketing, of course, helps. And everyone gets bombarded with Facebook messages, but it’s really the personal contact that makes students say, ‘Hey, that person really hit home with me.'””

    Aside from the Town Hall Forums (ASUA is) doing, what are some other things you are going to continue to do or things you might want to create to get more outreach out there and to bring more student interest?

    I think that if we had a more centralized, organized and structured program where someone was organizing the (club) visits and … we were making sure to contact every club through a centralized system instead of just kind of being a free-for-all, we would hit a lot more clubs and it would hold senators accountable and members of the club resource center accountable. So I’d like to implement a really structured club and dorm visit program, because that’s the most important part of my area of the office specifically.

    We’re at a time where students are actually scared – there’s rising tuition, budget cuts, slashing of funding. What kind of assurance can you give those people who are scared for the future that, ‘Hey, your student government’s going to stand up for you and we’re not going to just be a bunch of talking heads'””

    I can promote the individuals that I see working in our office every single day who are so passionate about this, who are there long hours working, strategizing, trying to organize and mobilize students. And I hope that they can see those efforts in the events we put on like the protests and see the passion and hard work that goes into it. But really, I can assure them that we have the best interest of students in mind. We are students and we can understand what they’re going through, because we’re going through the exact same thing. We want the best thing for students.

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