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The Carletonian

CSA reps ponder upcoming election

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The Carleton Student Associations (CSA) is preparing for sixth week’s upcoming elections, which will feature both executive and senator positions on the ballot. Candidates will run for President, Vice President, Treasurer, and class representatives.

Current CSA president Marielle Foster ’16, acknowledges that being a member of CSA is “not a small amount of work.”

CSA elections have gotten more competitive in recent years, making elections even more crucial in deciding who represents the student body.

“Last year when I ran for president, it was the first year in six years that every position had become competitive. I would love to see every position competitive this term,” said Foster.

With increased competitiveness for positions, CSA has worked towards greater diversity in its members, who represent the entire student body.

“I think we have one of the strongest Senates we’ve ever had, in terms of drawing from different parts of campus” said Foster, pointing to the CSA’s move of “getting the conversation really going on socioeconomic status, and how CSA perpetuates or can alleviate burdens of people.”

Yet even with the increased competition for positions, CSA members acknowledge that there can still be a gap of communication and closeness between the CSA and the greater part of the student body.

Nayely Martinez ’16, current VP of CSA, notes that “there is always an ongoing struggle to make sure that there’s sufficient communication and transparency between what CSA Senate is doing and what that will mean for the student body.” Martinez went on to say that, “We’ve made headways into improving this communication link this year, but I think candidates hoping to run for positions this upcoming election need to push beyond their current established responsibilities and really aim to expand their outreach base.”

Josh Pitokofsky ’17, a Class of 2017 Representative, would also like to see a “shift towards senators coming off as more in touch with the student body in the upcoming elections.” He added that, “[CSA Senators are] here and we are like you, we know that you’re thinking about these things, so it’s a matter of getting that out and getting that implemented.”

CSA Class of 2017 Representative Su Kim ’17 admitted that “sometimes CSA is kind of intimidating. Our biggest goal is to ensure that the student body understands what’s going on, making it more accessible.”

Kim sees the CSA’s continuing conversations about diversity as a positive move this past CSA has made to make Carleton’s campus a better one. “Last year, we had a really big controversial thing where a lot of the campus was talking about the issue of diversity within CSA. Our CSA has gotten drastically more diverse. We have to ask, ‘Who are the people who are speaking up for us?’ ”

Martinez mentioned one action taken to address problems with the Student Activity Support Fund as one crucial project completed in her time on CSA. Martinez worked with CSA Treasurer Ben Strauss ’16 and the Budget Committee to increase the cap for maximum aid for the activity fee when the cost of the activity fee increases.

“For years, the maximum amount given to students had been set at a fixed $150. Back in 2008-2009, that covered close to 75% of the activity fee. This year, that only covered a little over 50%. This winter, we made sure to include the support fund in our regular annual discussion on the student activity fee,” explained Martinez.

Looking ahead to future CSAs, Martinez hopes to see a VP who will keep working with Governance Committee while balancing work with the Budget committee.

Reflecting on the position of President, Martinez thinks Foster has done a good job of balancing her dual roles as adviser and leader to members of CSA. Martinez commented, “I think that’s ultimately the key for any CSA president-the ability to put themselves aside and reach out to Senators and students to encourage their own ideas and allow those ideas to thrive.”

“I hope people continue the same passion for recruiting people [into CSA], looking down the pipeline for future leaders,” Foster responded when asked about her hopes for future CSA governing bodies. “Everyone knows someone who would be an awesome executive or senator.”

Platforms for students running for executive positions this term will be due Friday, February 5, at 5:00 pm. Debates will take place on Thursday, February 11 at 7pm in the Sayles Great Space. Polls will open after debates and will remain open until the following Sunday, February 14th at 9:00 p.m.

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