With a recurring desire to keep platforms practical, the 2019 candidates for student body president and vice-president present a wide array of diversity in both ideology and background.
Always a Notre Dame favorite, this year’s freshman Zahm ticket, Carlston Chang and Kevin O’Leary, recognize the need for serious change in student government. That is, it shouldn’t be taken so seriously. The team makes sweeping promises to increase advertising revenues by renting out wall space on the Hesburgh Library and to find a loophole which would allow Notre Dame to recruit LeBron James. Despite their ambitious aspirations, Carlston and O’Leary’s s greatest strength may be their subtlest quality: innocence. While traditional platforms and impressive resumes may have won out for Scholastic’s endorsement, their passionate soliloquies on the need for two-ply toilet paper certainly won’t be forgotten.
Under a four-tier platform which prioritizes residential dining and residential life, Eduardo Luna and Haley Coleman offer a balance of experiences and aim to dedicate their greatest resources to improving on-campus life. The team identifies one of their greatest strengths as Luna’s administrative experience and student government background. While Coleman is not as deeply entrenched in student government as Luna, they feel this allows for the representation of differing Notre Dame experiences within their partnership.
Luna’s experience in campus dining and residential life does appear to be the team’s strongest asset, as his past achievements and knowledge of the administration are undeniably impressive. Coleman’s largest experiential asset is likely her involvement with study abroad programs, but the biggest concern with regards to a relatively strong partnership is a fairly limited platform that, while potentially achievable, needs to be more heavily detailed and more wide-reaching to convey stronger feasibility and desirability in such an important student leadership position.
Mario Markho and Charlie Ortega-Guifarro will undoubtedly be strong competitors in this student election, as their ticket proves to be unique, diverse, practical and student-friendly. Strongly identifying with underrepresented minority students and students of low socioeconomic status, Markho and Ortega bring both creativity and organization to their platform. A priority on their list of goals is implementing a St. Benedict Joseph Labre Program in South Bend. This program would allow students to serve the community by bringing food to the streets of the city on a weekly basis, offering an opportunity to engage with South Bend in an intimate and immediate sense. Just one on a list of interesting and realistic goals for their potential tenure, Markho and Ortega also promise to bring more fruit to the dining halls, prioritize transparency and reform student-to-student football ticket sales.
Despite an impressive and achievable platform, one which suggests a ticket largely in touch with the student body and its concerns, as well as a diverse and unique partnership, the lack of experience Markho and Ortega have working in student government felt like too big a hurdle compared to other tickets with more experience. While the goals they have set for themselves are achievable and their stance on practicality is admirably refreshing, more in-roads in student government would have made loftier goals seem possible.
Therefore, Scholastic offers its endorsement to Elizabeth Boyle and Patrick McGuire. While some may denounce their platform as overly ambitious and impossible to achieve, their combined five years of experience in student government would suggest otherwise. Boyle’s “Stand for IX” campaign last year garnered thousands of signatures and helped enact concrete change to the university’s Title IX policies. McGuire also earned support from residents of Siegfried and Knott to oppose the minor renovation that the university planned for those two dorms. Originally, the plan was to eliminate the section lounges and turn them into super doubles. McGuire proposed an alternative: make the lounges into a resident assistant suite with lounge space and turn the old RA room into a double. The university agreed, maintaining common spaces for Siegfried and Knott residents. While their accomplishments are by no means limited to just these two examples, they prove Boyle and McGuire’s understanding of how to implement change and make their platform attainable.
Additionally, Boyle and McGuire’s eagerness to listen to the student body is apparent. From their interactive social media presence to their team of nearly 20 people to their approachable and extroverted personalities, Boyle and McGuire truly know Notre Dame and its students.
Boyle and McGuire’s three-pronged platform of student empowerment, gender relations and dorm reform is well-outlined and specific. Their passion for Notre Dame is unquestionable. While other tickets have their strengths, Elizabeth Boyle and Patrick McGuire offer the brightest future for Notre Dame.