OC: What students groups are you involved in?
AM: I am an ASUO senator, I work on the board of directors for the Oregon Daily Emerald, I am a student on the University hearings board, and I also serve in the student leader capacity on many University committees.
AW: I am a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority , I currently an advocate for the Substance Abuse Prevention Program and I’m working on internships for my major as well.
OC: Can you give us a description of your platform?
AM: Our platform is very comprehensive. It’s all under the realm of saving student’s money. The first is responsible spending; we have athletic tickets, LTD and enhancing the EMU. So I will go through the first two. The first is responsible spending, every year the mandatory fee students pay goes up, and we want to make sure it does not do this because currently we pay the highest mandatory fee in the country. We have as student leaders autonomy in our student government, we have direct access over the allocation of the money and in our capacity we want to make sure that number does not increase and in fact decrease. The next is student tickets, it has been a pretty long process for myself I have been very involved in the student ticketing process. This past year we created the season pass program, I think this was very well received very well thought out and implemented because it gives more students a opportunity to attend football games. It also gives, fans who are willing to pay for a season pass a guaranteed spot at football home game. That is something that many students really wanted and will provide them that opportunity. Next it actually decreased the size of the ASUO budget, we were able to reduce the size of the ASUO athletics contract by 5%, while increasing opportunity to attend those games. Because actually increased the amount of tickets being obtained by combining season passes and free tickets with a full student section for every Pac-10 home game and that was all done while reducing the budget, which was a great success. We want to continue this because we have the opportunity to increase opportunity while limiting costs. We want to expand the student section at Autzen stadium. Frankly 5,445 seats is not enough seats with the size of the student body we have now. So our first priority would be to lobby to increase the size of the student section at Autzen stadium.
AW: As you can see Alex really loves football and football tickets. I’m going to touch on a few of our platform points that are also very important. One of them being the EMU renovation that is going to happen with the Oregon 20/20 plan. With that being said there is several points we need to keep in mind in that renovation as a potential executive and that is increasing the space and facilities s and making the facilities in general more accessible for clubs, students groups, unions, all the students using resources at the EMU. Also increasing revenue because right now our EMU is not self sustainable, we are not bringing a lot of money in, and we are looking at getting a few more businesses and potentially a sports bar in the new EMU which would bring in a lot more revenue than right now and create more of a residential community where students really want to be. In addition to that we want to make sure that the EMU renovation includes input from students. We realize this is not something that is going to be happening any time within our legacy here, if you will. We would like to make sure that students are advocated for and when this does happen that it is well thought out and students are represented. Next I would like to address the issue of the urban Farm. Right now the urban farm has been here for thirty or forty years and they are a growing program but they do not have enough space and in order to work with them and address that issue we would like to put them on the I-fee. Also work with the CASTLE project as they are a partnership and we believe that sustainable living and sustainable parking are really important.
AM: Our next issue is student parking. Some students do not live within the realm of the bus stops, some students have no other choice to drive to school and to attend class they need to bring their car. Right now it cost an incredible amount to obtain a parking spot and currently the administration has more passes than it currently has spots. Which is the first thing we need to fix. Secondly, we also need to increase the amount of parking places we have. It is unfair to make students pay these outrageous fees to even get to class. The tangible way we can do that is to open up the Autzen lot for student parking. The Autzen parking lot is currently only used for football games and unfortunately there is not very many of those days. Every other day it is an empty lot not being used in any other sort of function. We can open the Autzen lot, let students park there and rework the LTD contract to provide a shuttle service from the Autzen lot to campus which will hopefully decrease the cost that is necessary to get a parking spot and increase the spots available so students have a tangible way to get to school without paying over $300 for parking fees.
AW: And also making sure that the LTD services are staying were they are right now and providing as much as possible for students with a lower cost in addition to the parking issue that Alex addressed.
OC: You talked about keeping the I-fee low, how would you achieve that?
AM: There are a variety of ways, first is creative growth. That is something that I strive for and something that I think the season passes did. Season passes increased opportunity while lowering the budget. Again we lowered the budget by 5% and increasing opportunity for additional services to students and that will lower the I-fee. Additionally if we move services off the fee to the general fund. Currently, the career center is in the process of moving off the I-fee to the general fund. The career center obviously still stands is still functional however students will not be paying for it through their mandatory fees. We can do the exact same thing with campus recycling. Campus recycling is a wonderful program, something we need on campus, something that we support however the administration is glad to pick it up, it can easily fall into facilities and services which is really where it belongs. If we move that of the fee and into the g-fund within in facilities and services we can lower the I-fee without reducing services, we can maintain and in fact increase services with creative growth and that is exactly how we lower the I-fee. Alden?
AW: We would like to also prepare ahead of time. When it comes to student budgets there are a lot of groups that are dealing with a large or small budget anomaly and are having issues but right now we don’t have advising or resources to create that budget and have to propose it to senate. The process of asking for money and budget forecasting is not that is readily accessible to all student groups. So we would like to improve that process and make sure that we are preparing ahead of time, not only ourselves but all groups involved so we don’t have unnecessary or unplanned shortfalls so that we don’t have that overwhelming surplus to refill the hole we can potentially create without planning ahead.
OC: Alex, you were big on bringing the New York Times to campus and if elected would you keep the NYT on campus.
AM: In the primary debates today they asked us what would you do in the first ten weeks of office I answered that the NYT is a clear tangible benefit that was in demand by the students and unfortunately it was not funded through the ASUO process this year which is OK, because as the executive if elected one of the first things we would do is secure funding mostly through fundraising as soon as possible.
OC: Can you define “sustainability?”
AM: Sustainability will not require funds to be continually increased, so if you want to be sustainable you are self-sufficient. You are able to provide for yourself without taking outside resources or outside funding and keeping the intake of student funds increasing every year.
OC: If you get elected, what is the one thing a year from now you would be proud of.
AM: The thing I would be most proud of is expanding the student section at Autzen stadium bringing the NYT to campus and most importantly reducing the cost of education at this university. That is my prime goal. That’s what I personally would be most proud of because this is a wonderful university, however it costs more and more every year to come here and as the ASUO president one of the most important things I could do to lower the cost of education.
AW: I think we both share that is important that students funds stay here on campus and students know where their funds are going and transparency within student government is very clear. I want students to be informed on what we are spending their money on and what their resources are and just exactly what it is what were doing.
OC: Thank you for your time.