Just one party in UISG campaign

BY MEGAN DEPPE | APRIL 01, 2014 5:00 AM

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Next week, the polls will be OPEN. The University of Iowa Student Government elections this year will feature only one party of campaigners — the OPEN Party.

In the instance that only one party runs, it automatically assumes various positions in UISG. Elections kicked off at a party on Sunday in which future President Patrick Bartoski, future Vice President Jeffrey Ding, and 39 senators spread the news of their campaign to their fellow students.

The campaign party is called OPEN, which Bartoski said stands for Organize, Plan, Establish, and Nurture. That is how the new student governments plans to approach its five main issues on campus. These issues include safety, sustainability, affordability, diversity, and advocacy.

“[OPEN] lays a basic idea for how we’re going to work through those areas,” Bartoski said. The priority for the student government will be student safety, he said, in light of events on campus this year.

“We’re going to look into programs such as Nite Ride and Safe Ride,” Bartoski said. He also said the party will examine the “wingman program,” which UISG put into place in 2012, and potentially restore it. The party will also look into textbook costs and expanding the financial-literacy program, as well as set up a committee to keep an eye on how the UI invests its money.

“What we really like about our program is that while it’s really dense, it’s really feasible,” Bartoski said. There is also a plan for a meeting at the beginning of the year for members of the party to sit down and discuss the continuing projects from this year and which ones can be continued and which ones cannot.

Right now, Bartoski said, OPEN is focused on getting its name out to students on campus to make sure they know what UISG is. “A lot of students don’t really know what [UISG] means,” Bartoski said. “We’re really working to be seen and heard on campus. The main thing with these campaigns is to make sure students know what our platform is and that we’re out there.”

Current UISG President Katherine Valde said she looks forward to watching Bartoski’s and Ding’s progress after she leaves office. “I’ve worked with Patrick and Jeffrey for the past couple of years, and I’m really confident that they’ll do a good job,” Valde said.

Current UISG Vice President Jack Cumming said OPEN is filled with students who has experience in UISG as senators and executives, and he hopes they will utilize that experience to push themselves to do even more next year. Valde and Cumming were unsure about the one-party election, however.

“I'm honestly not quite sure how I feel about a one-party election,” Cumming said. “Whereas I'm incredibly excited to be handing off the reins to Patrick and Jeffrey, two incredibly qualified and bright individuals who I think have the potential to have a successful year, I think that going through a competitive election often makes for a stronger ticket. When you run in a competitive election, everything you work on has to be perfect to the last detail. There is a lot more pressure to succeed when you are contested.” Valde said while it is nice to have competitive elections, it is not unprecedented for only one party to run, though it might be different for students to see.

“At the end of the day, it’s about the people who are running,” Valde said. “Would it have been nice to watch a competitive election? Of course, but I think a strong ticket is the important thing.”

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