Finch, Visser share campaign goals at ASWSU presidential debate

Pair addressed concerns with multicultural outreach; outlined main campaign initiatives

Sydney+Finch%2C+ASWSU+chief+of+staff%2C+and+Kjelt+Visser%2C+Carson+College+of+Business+senator%2C+said+their+three+main+campaign+initiatives+are+transparency%2C+resources+and+engagement.

DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Sydney Finch, ASWSU chief of staff, and Kjelt Visser, Carson College of Business senator, said their three main campaign initiatives are transparency, resources and engagement.

LIAM CONNORS, Evergreen reporter

Sydney Finch, ASWSU chief of staff, and Kjelt Visser, Carson College of Business senator, addressed concerns regarding multicultural outreach and outlined their campaign positions in the first general debate for the presidential and vice-presidential positions.

Community Outreach:

Various audience members talked about current and past issues about ASWSU not making an effort to address and advocate for multicultural groups on campus.

Finch said there is a large disconnect between the executive branch/senate and multicultural groups.

Me and Kjelt are very passionate about representing these underrepresented groups. Multicultural groups, first-generation students and LGBTQ+,” Finch said.

The candidates talked about Cougar leadership retreats and building connections with multicultural groups and different Registered Student Organizations.

Finch and Visser both said they agreed that they can do a lot better at reaching out to these groups.

“One thing Sydney and I were talking about was setting up a meeting with RSOs and student leaders to come to a better understanding of their problems, and what we can do to address them,” Visser said.

Campaign Goals and Qualifications:

Finch and Visser emphasized the three main initiatives of their campaign: transparency, resources and engagement.

Finch said that the university needs to be a lot more clear with how they spend student fees. 

“Students pay about $2,000 a year in fees. We need to be more transparent on how our money is spent,” she said.

Finch said even as a member of the student government she still learns about new resources every day, and that it remains a problem that there are no centralized locations such as a website for all of these resources.

The pandemic has been very tough on a lot of new students, Finch said. Leadership needs to build upon a culture that engages with each other 

“We go to a school of 20,000 students. It’s a terrible feeling that you can walk around Terrell Mall and not recognize your peers,” she said.

Visser said he immigrated to the U.S. at a young age and was not able to speak English for a couple of years. He said he understands what it is like to fight an uphill battle where your voice is not being heard.

“I understand everyone’s story is different and we all come from different places. I’ll do my best to listen to every single Coug’s voice,” he said.

Accountability:

Finch and Visser both talked about the importance of accepting and taking criticism, and how it is fundamental to personal growth. They both agreed that multicultural outreach is a big area that they need a lot of improvement in.

Finch said making a connection if they are not holding up their end of the bargain is important.

The candidates said drawing more attention to ASWSU is vital to improving connections with students, and that increased visibility will allow for students to know who to talk to.

Senator Jacob Martinez brought up that every time there was tabling or some kind of event there was always an issue with Visser’s time management and asked how he would ensure that all voices are heard from multicultural groups.

Visser said that he is working on attending multicultural meetings, but the accusation of him having time management issues with external senate meetings is completely unfounded.

Mental Health:

Finch tied the topic of mental health back to their initiative about having a centralized resource location that can provide information on different mental health services.

Visser said that community involvement can play a role in improvement of mental health. One suggestion he made was holding a community 5K race because exercise plays a big role in improving mental health.

Greek Life

“I understand where the negative perception of Greek life comes from. I personally don’t see that at my fraternity,” Visser said. “I feel like I’m surrounded by a bunch of guys who have a great head on their shoulders, so we never really run into a lot of problems,”

There need to be some changes in the houses to create a more engaging dialogue, where Greek life members can call each other out for doing things that they should not be doing regarding sexual assault awareness and alcohol safety, he said.

Closing Statements

To close off the debate Finch emphasized their three initiatives of financial transparency, centralization of student resources and building an engaging Cougar culture.

“Tonight our goal was to demonstrate the skills that we bring to the table as candidates, and I hope we were able to convey the message clearly. … It’s a privilege to call ourselves Cougs for the rest of our lives, and I’m looking forward to hopefully serving you,” Finch said.