Two visions for USG
MATT ARKFELD &Â ALEX CASCANTE
Matthew Arkfeld and Alex Cascante are approaching the 2013 Undergraduate Student Government election with reform in mind, focusing their platform on internal USG operations.
Arkfeld, a junior majoring in East Asian area studies, currently serves as senate speaker pro tempore. Cascante, a junior majoring in business administration, serves as a Greek senator.
âOur main objective is to reconsider the traditional structure of USG and make changes that better serve the student body,â Arkfeld said.
âThroughout every semester at USC Iâve taken a leap of faith,â Arkfeld said. âI joined a new organization and met a new group of people. Iâve really been able to dive into the Greek community but not let it define me.â
Cascante is in the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, as well as the Accounting Society, and works with Hillel and other Jewish organizations on campus.
Though this is their first year in USG, Arkfeld has written five resolutions –â the most resolutions for a senator this term â and both he and Cascante have worked on long-term advocacy projects.
With their slogan âThink Different,â the two are most passionate about reforming USGâs budget. They want to use the funds that normally support USG internally and redistribute them to fund student organizations.
âMatt and I are running because we see a problem and we want to fix it,â Cascante said. âItâs our responsibility, as student government, to fix the USG budget so we can support more student organizations and promote positive change on campus.â
Both have vowed to cut the presidential and vice presidential salaries. They also want USG to reach out to students more effectively.
âNobody knows what student government does, but what [students] should know is that [students] give $57 a semester to [USG],â Cascante said. âItâs really informing them about what USG can actually do and what we can do for them.â
Though Arkfeld and Cascante want to reform the advocacy side, they do not want to change Program Board, an organization under the preview of USG that plans events. In addition, Arkfeld said reviewing past candidatesâ platforms demonstrates the need for change.
âWe saw one re-occuring thing: The same candidates were recycling old platform points and nothing was getting done,â Arkfeld said. âWeâve really gone out to focus on what we actually control: the budget.â
Arkfeld said he looks forward to making positive changes for future Trojans.
âI want to take this opportunity, grab it full swing and really give 500 percent,â Arkfeld said. âI care about making USC a better place for the next generation of students after myself.â
CHRISTIAN KURTH & RYAN PARK
Â Christian Kurth and Ryan Park see their ticket as a continuation of Undergraduate Student Governmentâs current policies, and several of their platform points are policies that they began lobbying for in their current positions.
Kurth, a junior majoring in accounting, and Park, a junior majoring in business administration, believe what sets them apart from their opponents is experience.âIâve been involved in USG since my freshman year, so Iâve gotten three years of USG experience, which is more than the other ticket combined,â said Kurth, who is currently USG director of university affairs.Kurth said his involvement in advocacy gives him an advantage in accomplishing goals.
âThe presidentâs job is kind of like the head of the advocacy branch, which Iâve been involved with for three years,â Kurth said. âThe advocacy branchâs essential job is to meet with administrators, cement those relationships and actually work on getting projects done and executing change â thatâs what Iâve been doing.â
Their platform contains 21 different points, which range from bringing Jamba Juice back to campus to increasing the acceptance of discretionary dollars at off-campus locations.
âI love my USC mobile app [idea],â said Park of his favorite platform point. âWhen it happens, itâs going to be the most helpful [accomplishment], in my opinion, because it will be a centralized location for students to find out whatâs going on on-campus.â
The two have known each other since their freshman years, when they met as tour guides. Kurth and Park said they can achieve ambitious goals because of their chemistry.
âIn terms of compatibility, if this was an eHarmony situation, I think weâd be great,â Kurth said. âIâm more of a serious figure, and as a president, I think thatâs what you need. Heâs kind of more the goofball between us.â
Both are involved outside of USG. Kurth is a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, the Latino Alumni Association and the Trojan Investing Society. Park is part of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
Despite the fact that both Kurth and Park are in USG, belong to fraternities and serve as tour guides, neither sees their similarities in experience as a concern.
âWe have a lot of things in common but, to be completely honest, we have had a lot of different experiences in each of those things,â Park said.
Kurth added that being Greek doesnât define either of them because they are involved with other organizations.
With voting beginning on Tuesday, Kurth and Park are campaigning hard for studentsâ votes. The two believe that they should win because of their commitment to the election.
âI honestly believe that we have put in exponentially more hours and exponentially more time and passion into this campaign than the other ticket,â Park said.