On the campus trail
Student body presidential candidates Frank Harrison (above) and Ben Sens (right), along with their running mates, circled campus on Tuesday looking and asking for votes.
The two tickets received the most votes in last week’s election, but neither garnered 50 percent of the votes, resulting in a runoff.
Students can vote online until 7 tonight at www.usf.edu/vote or at the SG computer lab in the basement of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center.
Each took time out of a busy day of campaigning to answer six quick questions regarding their vision, ideas and stances.
Sens: I’ll fight for student interests
Ben Sens is a junior majoring in political science with a minor in leadership studies. He is a former Student Government senator and has worked in Residence Life. His running mate is Ernest “E.J.” Joe.
Chris Gardner: Why do you want to be the student body president?
Ben Sens: I want to be student body president because I want the students to have a voice next year in Student Government. I want the students to have an accessible leader and someone who is accountable.
CG: What separates you from your opponent?
BS: We have the most integrity and values. We have the most USF experience of any ticket. E.J. and I, we have diverse experience in Student Government, having worked in two different branches of Student Government – the judicial and the legislative. We have both worked on the residence side of campus, and we believe our diverse experiences can best serve the students next year.
CG: Why should a student care at all about the elections?
BS: Next year we have a lot of issues coming up, and USF needs to grow. USF needs to focus on growing – diversifying and building as a community – and next year the student leaders running the Student Government are going to be the ones doing that.
CG: How do you plan to fight student apathy at USF?
BS: By creating more traditions, more student traditions starting from freshman year so we can build school spirit and take pride in our University.
CG: What do you think about the rise in housing and parking costs on campus?
BS: I understand that rising fees might not be in my control, but I will try to moderate it, and I will fight for the students’ best interest.
CG: How would you stand up to the administration if it had a different opinion than you on an issue?
BS: I would respect the administration’s wishes, but I would fight for the students no matter what. I would fight for the students’ best interests – always. I’m going to lobby and serve as a member on the Board of Trustees. I’m going to serve as the voice for the students.
Harrison: I’m the most qualified
Frank Harrison is a junior majoring in history with minors in English literature and philosophy. He is the Student Government senate president and has served as an officer and senator in SG. His running mate is Faran Abbasi.
John Calkins: Why do you want to be the student body president?
Frank Harrison: I’ve been in Student Government a long time. I know I’m the most qualified, and more than anything, I have a genuine desire to improve things around USF.
JC: What separates you from your opponent?
FH: Largely, just Student Government experience. Being student body president is a much more specialized task than most people realize. I ask every student to question all the candidates on their knowledge of how the University works.
JC: Why should a student care at all about the elections?
FH: Students pay money every semester on a credit-hour basis to Student Government. The University can get better or worse depending on who’s in office and how effective they are. It has a lot more influence than people realize. It’s not like high school.
JC: How do you plan to fight student apathy at USF?
FH: I think how you fight it is by showing students how effective and how helpful their Student Government can be to them. And that’s something you do throughout your term in office.
JC: What do you think about the rise in housing and parking costs on campus?
FH: The parking increases are driven by the need for more parking garages. Housing increases were driven by rising utility costs, which is an economic impact that is completely out of control at this University. When it comes to fee increases in general, Faran and I feel that a lot of times, they’re inevitable. Student Government’s job is to make sure that when students are paying for something or when they’re paying a fee increase, they get a good service out of it and that those fees go somewhere they want and not to something that benefits only the faculty and staff.
JC: How would you stand up to the administration if it had a different opinion than you on an issue?
FH: It gets back to creating a sales pitch and selling what you’re trying to accomplish to them in a way that they can’t refuse it. If they still are uncooperative and blatantly going against what is in the best interest of the students, then it’s my responsibility as student body president, and all of Student Government, to lead a movement against that and really stand up to the administration in ways that really haven’t been done in years. And things like doing demonstrations and having students out en masse and drawing media attention to an issue is sometimes the only way to get universities to react.