UISG voting begins today


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Over the next two days, the University of Iowa undergraduate students will decide what kind of party it likes best for the next academic year — a TOGA Party or a HOUSE Party.

HOUSE and TOGA are on the ballot for the UI Student Government race. The winner of the race will be announced Friday and will govern roughly 20,000 undergraduate students during the 2013-14 school year.

Voting began at midnight and will continue through 5 p.m. Thursday. Student can vote through their ISIS accounts.

HOUSE is led by Katherine Valde and her vice-presidential candidate, Jack Cumming.

TOGA presidential candidate Aaron Horsfield and running mate Jostna Dash head the opposition.

Leading up to the election, both parties are confident in their abilities to win, citing months of preparation.

“I am extremely proud and confident in our ticket,” Dash said.

But even as the parties remain confident, their platform and differing experiences provide distinctions for students.

HOUSE — Helping Our University and Students Engage — boasts experience as its strength.

“It’s not even comparable,” Cumming said. “We have the executive experience.”

Cumming is a second-year UISG senator, born and raised in Iowa City.

If elected, HOUSE will return five committee heads to the UISG, but Valde cites planning as their gate back into the student government.

“We’ve been organized, and we’ve planned, hopefully, what we need for the next two days,” she said.

The HOUSE platform covers eight topics ranging from safety to sustainability with proposed initiatives for a student food bank, quarterly newspaper, and bike check program allowing students to rent bicycles from the IMU.

TOGA members said the party’s diversity would represent the entire student body, something that hasn’t been done in recent years.

TOGA, or Together Our Government Achieves, led by Horsfield, centers itself on the motto, “Your voice, your rights, your freedom.”

“The student government had very much leaders of the same culture, the same fraternities, the same sororities,” he said. “How can you represent the students if we’re not representing everyone?”

UI junior Dash serves as the president of the Indian Student Alliance, the largest multicultural student organization on campus.

She said the initiatives TOGA wants to push are things that could happen next year as opposed to in several years — something that sets it apart from the opposition. Her running mate said they had three main strongpoints on their platform.

“I think tuition, health, and safety are our strongpoints,” Horsfield said.

Among its initiatives are student leader summits — meetings in which the presidents of student organizations will be invited to meet with UI President Sally Mason — and a multicultural advisory council for representatives from all multicultural student organizations.

Both parties said they were excited about the election and for the end of months of work.

“There has been a lot of work, so I’m really excited to see everything go into place at midnight tonight,” Valde said.

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