Vote now or hold your peace

Hannah Sparling and Hannah Sparling

This week, Clayton Stewart and Kevin Basch, along with running mates Brandon Double and Dan Caldwell, respectively, are facing off in the USG election ring. To help students better understand each candidate’s goals and plans, The BG News met with and interviewed all four candidates separately. Below are their answers to our questions.

What is your platform?

Stewart/Double:

Set up a system allowing students to review academic advisers.Work with University Dining Services to get the food students want.Ensure University buses run the routes students want on time.

Basch/Caldwell:

Set up a system allowing students to register for classes two to three semesters in advance.Work with administrators to make sure student opinions on the new residence halls are heard.Work with city officials to pass legislation allowing underage students to go to the hospital for alcohol-related problems without getting cited (the first time).

Why do you want to be USG president or vice president?

Stewart: “I care a lot about the University, and just some of the things I want to fix, I know I can get it done. I know I have the energy and the passion for it. I love doing this stuff. Even though this is my first official year on student government, I’ve had a lot of fun with it. I’ve taken up a lot of big issues, and I want to continue. I see this as the next step.”

Double: “I feel I could bring a lot of change to the University. The things me and Clayton want to work on, busing, dining and advising … we feel like we can get these issues done correctly and in the right manner of time.”

Basch: “For me, I see an opportunity with USG to help out and to give back to the students. And because I’m so experienced and because I think I have a lot to offer, I want to run to be able to help people … Realistically, I firmly think I’m the best guy for the job, and I think students deserve the best leadership they can get.”

Caldwell: “I think being vice president is going to open a lot of doors to make changes and help change the University for the students. My biggest thing is I want to leave the University better than [when] I came to it.”

What is the most important issue facing students right now?

Stewart: “The biggest issue I feel is facing students right now is definitely finances. I feel that’s the No. 1 thing, hands down.”

Double: “People want better quality food, and Clayton and I are going to work really hard on the dining issue, working directly with Chartwells, creating a better relation with them [and] getting better home-style meals back.”

Basch: “One of the big things going on right now is faculty unionization. I think it could significantly impact the way shared governance works on our campus … We’re not going to take sides, but we fully expect to be part of the discussion no matter what happens.”

Caldwell: “Right now BG is going through a lot of changes with budget cuts and with buildings going up, buildings coming down … I just think communication is key because students are really the ones who are customers here. I think it’s important that the University communicates everything they’re doing and what is going on with the people that are paying to go here.”

If you were president this year, what would you have done differently?

Stewart: “[I would have had a] better introduction [for senators] into USG. Sundeep [Mutgi, current USG president,] did a good job; it’s just we needed a little bit extra.”

Basch: “First and foremost, I would really like to better utilize USG’s cabinet … There are very few restrictions on what the cabinet can do and who can be in cabinet, and I think it’s a great idea to get people who are passionate about USG and about students involved in areas they are skilled at.”

What makes you the better candidate?

Stewart: “The reason I’m running is I feel the ideas I bring to the table are just more important to the students. [Basch] has a lot of great ideas himself, but I think my ideas would better help the students and they’re more achievable in the time span we would have.”

Basch: “Experience, for one. It really lets me know the way things work … I’ve seen what doesn’t work and what does work. I think I have a lot more experience, and I’m just very familiar with the ins and outs of the system. The transition for me really won’t be a problem at all.”

If you could tell each student at the University one thing, what would it be?

Stewart: “I really love this. I would love it if [students] put me in the presidency. I feel I have a lot to bring to the table when it comes to ideas [and] experience because I have served on a lot of big committees. I’ve taken on a lot of jobs for the students. That’s really it. I really care about this University and the students and I just want to see something done.”

Basch: “I would want them to know how important it is to be educated on the issues that are affecting them. I think one of the most important things students can do is read the campus notes, read The BG News, do things like that because if someone locks himself away in his room, we can’t get his opinion so we can’t help him … Get educated so your opinion can be heard.”

How confident are you in your campaign?

Stewart: “I’m loving it. So far support has been strong … I just hope students remember to vote.”

Basch: “I’m not going to say I think I’m going to win; I don’t think I’m a shoo-in. I’m very confident that we’re the better choice … I’m very confident in who we are as candidates, but at the end of the day, it’s not my choice.”

What is your favorite food?

Stewart: Mr. Lee’s Chicken

Double: Filet mignon, rare, smothered in mint and garlic, with goat cheese on top

Basch: Cheeseburger and French fries

Caldwell: Pepperoni or buffalo chicken pizza

What is your favorite movie or TV show?

Stewart: “Star Trek”

Double: “Jeopardy”

Basch: “Independence Day”

Caldwell: “Forrest Gump”

What is your favorite color?

Stewart: Teal

Double: Blue

Basch: Red

Caldwell: Sky blue

What is your favorite celebrity?

Stewart: Denzel Washington

Double: Will Smith

Basch: Kate Beckinsale

Caldwell: Steve Carell

If you were a cartoon character, which would you be?

Stewart: “Bugs Bunny, because he’s so quick and mischievous.”

Double: “Mickey Mouse, because he’s always happy.”

Basch: “Wile E. Coyote, because he’s resourceful and he’s persistent, and he doesn’t believe in no-win situations.”

Caldwell: “Woody from ‘Toy Story.’ I feel like he’s a good friend, and he’s just friendly. He enjoys life while also [having] a little adventure.”