Amongst competing platforms and campaign slogans, one word prevails in the 2019 race for student body president and vice president: diversity. This year’s selection of candidates have prioritized the bringing together of different backgrounds, expertises and experiences like never before. With a unique story and partnership behind each ticket, discovering which pairing best exemplifies the community of Notre Dame and has the strongest ability to advocate for student interests can seem daunting. While in past elections choosing between homogeneous sets of candidates has provided its own set of voting challenges, students selecting their future student body president and vice president this year will be pleasantly surprised to find their hearts and minds divided between intelligent, interesting and motivated candidates.
Few people on campus haven’t heard at least a whisper of the work that junior Elizabeth Boyle, currently the Director of Gender Relations for Notre Dame student government, has done with the StaND 4 IX campaign. The movement successfully worked to keep Title IX proceedings survivor-centered in light of the rescission of the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter by Betsy DeVos, United States Secretary of Education. Her running mate, sophomore Patrick McGuire and a two-year member of the Department of University Affairs, provides a strong intellectual partner with research experience in socioeconomic empowerment and migration theology. Boyle and McGuire have a three-tiered platform which includes student empowerment, gender relations and dorm reform. On what their ultimate goal is for the campus, Boyle said, “We want every student to have a robust Notre Dame experience, regardless of the structural barriers they may have had.”
For Mario Markho and Charlie Ortega-Guifarro, approaching their potential tenure is as easy as A.B.C.: Action. Building. Clarity. More specifically, the pair of juniors plan to improve student life at Notre Dame, build on existing infrastructure and improve transparency within and outside of student government. For these running mates, understanding and communicating the message of marginalized students on campus is sorely lacking in student government, and they feel they are strong representatives of this experience. Prioritizing clearly outlined and specific goals characterizes the fundamental work ethic this partnership brings to the table. “We have practical goals that can get done during a one-year term, without having so much that nothing is getting done, or so little that you don’t see marks of progress,” Markho said.
Juniors Eduardo Luna and Haley Coleman represent two very different Notre Dame experiences, though they match each other in enthusiasm for the platform they have created. With focuses in residential dining, residential life, diversity and inclusion and transparency and communication, Luna’s experience in student government and extensive work history at North Dining Hall offers important administrative inroads for the team. Providing a balance of experience with study abroad and other summer opportunities, Coleman serves on the Junior Class Council and has interned in Washington, D.C. with the McCain Institute, advocating for human rights. "Our ticket unites the best of everything,” Luna said.
For freshmen Carlston Chang and Kevin O’Leary, accessibility and lightheartedness are the keys to a successful campaign. Drawing on advice from their Zahm freshman ticket predecessors, Chang and O’Leary have created a platform out of submissions from the student body. Their ideas are wide-ranging and at times ambitious, but they thank their outsider status for keeping a hatred for all things administrative at bay. If they could change one thing about the world today, it would be dissipating the permacloud hanging over South Bend this winter. It’s easy to see they’re a ticket for the people.
Considering how difficult it can be to make an informed decision come election day, Scholastic interviewed each of the tickets in order to put a face to their impressive campaign promises. Despite the wide array of specialities and priorities, one thing is for certain: Notre Dame is in for an exciting year of improvement, engagement and diversity.