Elections start April 16 and end April 20; voting held on SOLAR
Juan Pablo Cordon
Juan Pablo Cordon is the self-proclaimed “underdog” in the presidential race. As a sophomore without any prior service in the USG, he faces challenges with name recognition among students.
“I’m really under the radar,” he said. “The other two have discarded me as not a threat.”
His experience with the hall councils in dorms leads him to favor a more personal style for the USG, he said. He suggested that a visiting representative from the senate could go around to the hall meetings every week and hear what students are up to.
“My primary intention is to promote campus life,” he said. “A lot of people on this campus think that there is nothing to do. They go home on the weekends because they find the campus boring. I want to show them that there’s a club for everyone. There’s always an activity to do here.”
Cordon plans to improve student life by directly interacting with students and telling them about clubs.
“I’d be like, ‘Hey how are you doing?” he said. “Get to know the person a little bit, and be like, ‘Are you in any activities on campus?’ And if they say, ‘No, there’s nothing to do on campus,’ that’s when I jump in and say, ‘Whoa, what do you mean there’s nothing to do?’”
Cordon said that he does not want anyone to go through what he went through starting the golf club. He said that a lot of students are turned off by political nonsense in the USG.
“They’re like, ‘I wish things were just easier. I could just go to my club, get my check, and have fun.’ And that’s what I want them to do,” Cordon said. “I don’t want them to have to deal with the USG, and having to run here and there.”
“I want to make the organization more efficient. Just get things done in a quicker manner,” he said.
Cordon said that he wanted to make the requirements the USG places on clubs more transparent and easy to navigate.
“Possibly come up with lists of people,” he said. “What their responsibilities are, and make this available to people.”
As another way to increase transparency, Cordon suggested that all Stony Brook students join a Facebook group. He said that he or a subordinate would then type updates to the newsfeed on a daily basis.
According to Cordon, his campaign is not producing any posters because his message is not easily condensed to a poster. He said that his ideal poster would be a living picture frame, similar to the animated portraits in the Harry Potter universe.
“I feel like if you see a poster with a picture of me that says, oh, ‘Promoting student life and efficiency,’ which is what my poster would say, it wouldn’t give you the whole story,” he said. “I need to talk to you face to face.”
Adil Hussain was elected in November 2011 as the vice president for academic affairs. He also works with The Statesman as a layout editor. He said that he wants to bring to the general USG the same reform that he has effected in the office of academic affairs. According to Hussain, the program administered by his predecessor had been paying tutors for hours even when the tutors were not doing anything.
“When I was given this program, there were about 12 tutors. And half of them didn’t have students!” he said. “Why are they on payroll, why are they getting paid, if they don’t even have students?”
Hussain said that after interviewing and evaluating each of the tutors, he and the USG removed ineffective tutors from the payroll.
“I’m not going to sign any checks until you guys come in and meet with me,” he recalled saying.
Removing this wasteful spending reduced the cost of the tutoring program and allowed it to continue, he said. Hussain pointed to his reform of a USG tutoring program as the kind of change he would like to initiate more broadly as president.
One issue that has created confusion and frustration is the difficulty clubs have in receiving payments from the USG. Questions about changes to the payment procedures dominated the discussion at a town hall event earlier this semester. Hussain said that if he were president, he would support updating the software that is used to make the payments.
“The system that’s put up to allocate is the most outdated system out there,” he said. “[The new version] has so many more features that would benefit them and make their lives so much easier, and yet we have yet to invest in it. This is ridiculous. There’s so much more we can do.”
Hussain is optimistic that many changes can be implemented quickly. He offered concrete examples of what can be done to improve the USG and its communication with students: change the USG website to a WordPress site, generate forms online, add polls to the Facebook page and work with the Department of Information Technology to put tutoring on Blackboard.
Hussain said that when he and the vice president of student life recognized a lack of awareness about the USG, they implemented a proposal to add a presentation to incoming freshmen as part of their orientation.
“In the next four years, everyone who comes in will know what USG is, from day one,” he said. “That is what we did, and we implemented that.”
Hussain said that the student body should choose to vote for the Students United Party.
“I couldn’t do this without the team I work with. And I couldn’t do this without the students who vote for us,” he said. “It’s not necessarily that I’m asking you to vote for me, I’m asking you to choose the best candidates.”
Anna Lubitz is a senator representing the college of Arts and Sciences. She was elected in spring 2011. Lubitz said that her experience in the senate showed that she was capable of representing the community. In fall 2011, she authored the resolution that provided more field space to clubs after hearing about the issue from the soccer club president, Lubitz said.
Describing herself as a local, she said that she wants to enhance the reputation of Stony Brook University as a fun place to be.
“It’s a great research school, it’s great in certain areas like medicine, science, but it’s also known as a ‘suitcase school,'” she said. “We want people to stay here and enjoy being here.”
In order to achieve this, she said that the USG should create more “fun and memorable events, more concerts throughout the school year.”
When asked how she would achieve this with a limited budget, she suggested soliciting ideas from the students.
“Maybe we could have smaller venues,” she said. “We have to hear from the students and hear what they want.”
She recalled singing happy birthday to a student while standing in line to get into the Bruno Mars concert.
“It was just a great campus community, and we were just singing together,” she said.
Lubitz said that she plans to increase awareness about the USG by increasing the number of town hall meetings in the year. After reading about the town hall meeting earlier this semester, she said that she thought that it could be offered three or four times a semester.
She said she also wants to send out more emails to students and incorporate messages about the USG into the 101 classes that freshmen take. She recalled her experience as a TA in one of those classes.
“I told them about USG and about other clubs and organizations,” she said. “And my students were excited about it, and they wanted to get involved.”
Another idea she put forward to improve communication was that senators not be required to be in the office for office hours. Senators are currently required to be in the USG office for two hours a week.
“I’d rather see them out talking to students,” she said.
Lubitz said that her devotion to the school and students set her apart from her competitors.
“We are all very different,” she said. “I have a true passion for Stony Brook.”
She hastened to add that she wanted to keep the tone of the election friendly.
“I’m not targeting anyone in specific,” she said. “But in general, I’m not looking to have this on a resume, or something that looks nice.”
Lubitz said that what differentiated her policies from her competitors’ was that she wanted what is best for Stony Brook.
“We share some ideas,” she said. “But our party, in general, we have a true passion for the USG and the students.”
She urged students to vote in order to make their voices heard in the USG.
“We’re all Seawolves, in the end,” she said. “And we are all here on campus to make it the best it can be.”