MATT ARKFELD & 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.
“Our main objective is to reconsider the traditional structure of USG and make changes that better serve the student body,” Arkfeld said.
“Throughout every semester at USC I’ve taken a leap of faith,” Arkfeld said. “I joined a new organization and met a new group of people. I’ve really been able to dive into the Greek community but not let it define me.”
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 –— the most resolutions for a senator this term — and both he and Cascante have worked on long-term advocacy projects.
With their slogan “Think Different,” the two are most passionate about reforming USG’s budget. They want to use the funds that normally support USG internally and redistribute them to fund student organizations.
“Matt and I are running because we see a problem and we want to fix it,” Cascante said. “It’s our responsibility, as student government, to fix the USG budget so we can support more student organizations and promote positive change on campus.”
Both have vowed to cut the presidential and vice presidential salaries. They also want USG to reach out to students more effectively.
“Nobody knows what student government does, but what [students] should know is that [students] give $57 a semester to [USG],” Cascante said. “It’s really informing them about what USG can actually do and what we can do for them.”
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 candidates’ platforms demonstrates the need for change.
“We saw one re-occuring thing: The same candidates were recycling old platform points and nothing was getting done,” Arkfeld said. “We’ve really gone out to focus on what we actually control: the budget.”
Arkfeld said he looks forward to making positive changes for future Trojans.
“I want to take this opportunity, grab it full swing and really give 500 percent,” Arkfeld said. “I care about making USC a better place for the next generation of students after myself.”
CHRISTIAN KURTH & RYAN PARK
Christian Kurth and Ryan Park see their ticket as a continuation of Undergraduate Student Government’s 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.“I’ve been involved in USG since my freshman year, so I’ve gotten three years of USG experience, which is more than the other ticket combined,” said Kurth, who is currently USG director of university affairs.Kurth said his involvement in advocacy gives him an advantage in accomplishing goals.
“The president’s job is kind of like the head of the advocacy branch, which I’ve been involved with for three years,” Kurth said. “The advocacy branch’s essential job is to meet with administrators, cement those relationships and actually work on getting projects done and executing change — that’s what I’ve been doing.”
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.
“I love my USC mobile app [idea],” said Park of his favorite platform point. “When it happens, it’s going to be the most helpful [accomplishment], in my opinion, because it will be a centralized location for students to find out what’s going on on-campus.”
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.
“In terms of compatibility, if this was an eHarmony situation, I think we’d be great,” Kurth said. “I’m more of a serious figure, and as a president, I think that’s what you need. He’s kind of more the goofball between us.”
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.
“We 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,” Park said.
Kurth added that being Greek doesn’t define either of them because they are involved with other organizations.
With voting beginning on Tuesday, Kurth and Park are campaigning hard for students’ votes. The two believe that they should win because of their commitment to the election.
“I honestly believe that we have put in exponentially more hours and exponentially more time and passion into this campaign than the other ticket,” Park said.