Candidates for the Undergraduate Student Government 2020-21 academic year were announced online Tuesday. Four pairs of presidential candidates and 17 senatorial candidates, including six pairs running joint campaigns, were announced on USG’s election website.
Current USG Senior Director of Communications Truman Fritz and Sen. Rose Ritch are among those running for president and vice president.
Their platform emphasizes changing the culture of mental and academic health on campus, creating physical spaces for minority groups and increasing student accessibility to the administration through a student feedback platform.
“We know that there’s a mental health crisis; we felt it ourselves,” Fritz said. “[We] know that there’s not enough support, there’s not enough resources on our campus today, there’s not enough money that’s going to fixing this problem that we all are feeling, and we want to work to change that.”
Sen. Christopher McMorran and his running mate Trinity Lee will focus their presidential campaign on improving student access to public transportation.
“I think [the transportation program] is super important as a platform point for accessibility and affordability for students as well as sustainability and environmental stewardship,” McMorran said. “It also helps build relations with our surrounding community by getting students off campus more. I think it sort of checks all the boxes that we want to check with our campaign.”
They also plan to continue USG’s free legal counseling and want to expand the free blue books and HIV testing programs.
“Our big thing is that we want to prioritize student services with our budgeting,” McMorran said. “[We’re] really making sure that we’re spending our money on things that directly improve the basic needs of students.”
Despite coming from different backgrounds, Marketing Assistant Director Christine Nguyen and Miles Kay, who is new to USG, partnered up because of their mutual passion for service. Their platform includes establishing school-specific mental health initiatives, creating a campus culture that breaks the stigma of disabilities and enacting new sustainability programs such as reducing food waste and conserving water.
“The thing that connects the two of us is that we’re both so dedicated to service in whichever communities that we are a part of,” Nguyen said. “We are just two individuals who have very different perspectives, especially with [Kay]. He has never been in USG before, so he really brings with him value and perspective from being outside of the organization but still having that same passion, fire and dedication for service, which is so important and integral to the mission of USG as a whole.”
Sen. Sara Khoshniyati and Philanthropy Fund Assistant Director Rohit Bolla’s campaign revolves around ensuring that students’ voices are heard. Their platform includes initiatives to expand the free Lyft program and create a Student Health Center-sponsored monthly check-in program.
“As president and vice president, we really want to push a platform that advocates for all students and creates equal opportunities,” Khoshniyati said.
Bolla said he and Khoshniyati hope to broaden extracurricular opportunities with their platform initiatives, which include grants for arts students to alleviate out-of-pocket expenses.
“We want people to be empowered in their experience here at USC, both academic and nonacademic, so just leveling the playing field by giving people who might not have access to those kinds of supplies and resources could still give them the same leg up as everyone else,” Bolla said.
Each presidential ticket provided a joint statement and a description of its campaign platform on the USG election webpage.
Seventeen senatorial candidates are running for 12 open senator positions. Lennon Wesley III, Cathy Ding, Isabel Washington, Dario Arganese and Kevin Gutierrez are running solo campaigns.
Alexis Areias and Max Gomez; Gabriel Savage and Ruben Romeo; Joshua Wigler and Shreya Chanda; Julian Lin and Trinity Moore; Mayra Rodriguez and Nate Manor; and Jonathan Kamanta and Vadim Trubetskoy are running joint campaigns.
Candidates running for USG will be campaigning until voting begins Feb. 11.