Old vs. New, Tried vs. True

Author: Ashley Lo


It’s 2018 and at Notre Dame, fresh minds and novel campaigns find their way to the persistent battlefront between traditions and change. This year’s student government election brings new faces: None of the six candidates has served as president, vice president or chief of staff. Despite their distinctive causes and hopes, all three tickets take on a non-conformist attitude, from repealing the three-year, six-semester on-campus housing act to making Chick-Fil-A a reality. 

Andrew Gannon, running for president, and Mark Moran, running for vice president, are both members of the class of 2021. Their campaign announces the return of the Zahm ticket, the first to gain the necessary signatures since 2014. Their campaign manager is senior JP Bruno, former member of student government and current Zahm RA. Gannon and Moran share a non-traditional spirit with Robert Kersten, who, with his cat for vice president and an office in the fourth floor bathroom of Walsh Hall, became the unofficial king of Notre Dame after winning the presidential election in 1972. Yet this year’s budding ticket has every serious intention of growing with the university and upholding its tradition — not tearing it down — in the years to come, as they stand by the motto, “For the people, by the people.” 

Juniors Alex Kruszewski and Julia Dunbar are running for student body president and vice president. Their campaign manager is Arturo Prestamo, of the same grade. Their ticket is complementary, with finance major Kruszewski handling the numbers and long-time wellness advocate Dunbar tending to student mental health, among other issues. Their combination of experience, information and a detailed plan for their first week in office seeks to make the impossible possible: whether that be lowering tuition or redefining “consent.” 

Gates McGavick, Keough’s current president, and Corey Gayheart, members of the class of 2019, are running for for president and vice president, with Mary Ninneman as their classmate and campaign manager. McGavick and Gayheart pride themselves on their experience, ideological diversity and willingness to bring informed student leaders to important discussions. Their platform “ACT” stands for: Approachable, Collaborative and Transformative. 

The three campaigns each face their own challenges. Kruszewski-Dunbar must alter the realities of their most ambitious goals. Gannon-Moran need to compensate for their inexperience. McGavick-Gayheart should bring in clear and specific plans to their grand but vague initiatives. 

This year’s election sees an impressive mix of diverse values and energies. Scholastic spoke with all candidates, evaluated their platforms and chose which ticket to endorse. While critical changes happen on and off campus, from Duncan Student Center to DACA, students might find a voice through their votes in this year’s election.