ASUU candidates differ over sustainability efforts

By By Michael McFall

By Michael McFall

The Focus and Spork parties have similar positions on several issues, including continuity of administrative projects from year to year and humanizing the Associated Students of the University of Utah. However, there is some difference to what extent the projects are expanded, particularly sustainability.

Sustainability is a major portion of the Focus party’s platform, said Patrick Reimherr, the party’s presidential candidate. Reimherr served as ASUU’s Recycling and Sustainability Board Director last year and left the office to run in the election.

“There’s so much we can do for sustainability,” including reaching out beyond the U, he said.

John Bowers, Spork’s vice-presidential candidate, said his party also wants to continue ASUU’s sustainability efforts, but wants to focus on existing efforts rather than starting new projects.

“If (Reimherr and Jon Hayes) want to do anything new, that’s great,” he said.

Bowers said he wants to focus on efforts already in place and uphold continuity between the current administration’s efforts and the next.

Sustainability is one of several projects both parties want to keep alive after the administration changes.

The continuation of administrative projects is also important to candidates from both parties, which they say has been a problem in past administrations.

Some projects are too grand for an administration to finish within its given year, and there needs to be continuation between administrations to see them through, said Hayes, vice-presidential candidate for Focus. Hayes cited a registration system to evaluate student involvement started by ASUU four years ago as one such failure. The project wavered until it died in the two years that followed.

Both parties plan to continue supporting the Graduation Guarantee advising plan, which started last October. The Graduation Guarantee attempts to ensure that students graduate on time by having them sign contracts and meet regularly with advisers.

Sustaining administrative projects is all good and well, Bowers said, but ASUU faces a more personal challenge — connecting with the student body.

The fact is, many students see ASUU as self-involved and elitist, he said.

“Our platform has a major focus on more continuity between ASUU and students,” said Bowers.

The Focus Party presidential candidates could not agree more. Madison Warren, Focus’ candidate for senior class president and director of the Union Programming Council, said she wants to bring the congenial atmosphere of the UPC to ASUU.

“It’s like we’re a big family there,” she said.

The Focus party’s presidential candidates said they want to include the students in the “family” they hope to establish and diminish the negative opinions some students have of ASUU.

ASUU leaders and candidates are students like everyone else, so there shouldn’t be a divide between them, Reimherr said.

“If anything, we should be looking up to them,” Hayes said.

Warren said they will bridge the gap between government and the governed, even if it means installing footprints on the floor of the Union that lead to ASUU’s office.

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Candidates hope to continue ASUU projects