Once a year, Hunsaker Plaza is dotted with A-frame signs displaying colorful designs and smiling faces asking for your vote. ASUR campaign week is a time where students are bombarded with quick, catchy one-liners and persuaded by tabling campaign representatives to give their vote to their candidate.
This year, three candidates are running for the position of ASUR President: Junior Jacob Madden, Junior Michael Link and Freshman Sabrina Nunn. Each student brings a different understanding of what the students of the University of Redlands want, and this week the Redlands Bulldog sat down with all three. The result is a series of interactions giving a deeper understanding of each candidate’s personality, platform and goals.
Despite being an off-campus student, economics and public policy double-major Jacob Madden spends the majority of his time on-campus. He has worked to develop off-campus student programs as an orientation leader and participated in mock trials in his efforts to go to law school after graduation. This year, Madden decided to run for ASUR president as a continuation of his efforts to serve the students of the university.
“I’ve been involved in ASUR for the past three years,” Madden said. “First as an off-campus senator and for the last two years as the Executive Director of Finance. I’ve seen a lot of the great things that ASUR can do, and I’ve seen a lot of the ways that it can certainly improve as well. That’s been my goal since I’ve been here: to get involved with the student government and to be able to best serve the students in the way that I know I can.”
Running on a platform emphasizing “increas[ing] the transparency of ASUR,” Madden states that every dollar of the $350 Student Activities fee paid by every student should be trackable.
“Most every student doesn’t know where that money goes,” Madden said. “I want to be able to tell you, ‘you have five dollars going there, ten dollars going there.’”
Also included in this push for transparency is a reform of ASUR’s meeting policies.
“I want [senate and cabinet meetings] completely open,” Madden said. “Students [should be] free to come in, sit in any time – and have it at a better time. Usually at 9 p.m. on a Wednesday night or a Tuesday night doesn’t work all that well for people. I want them completely open, and then published.”
Aside from transparency within ASUR, Madden’s campaign video describes his aim for “greater sustainability initiatives” such as providing new water bottles during new student orientation, and more refillable water stations around campus. Madden also calls for more mental health events, stress relief events, and awareness campaigns.
All of this Madden hopes to communicate to the student body through an expanded student government presence online. Mentioned in Madden’s video is the use of social media and videos, but most unique is his concept of utilizing live streams to reach the student body.
“There’s no better way to really find out what’s going on more than being able to directly talk to the person,” Madden said. “But not every student is able to meet. So being able to hold a live stream so that all sorts of students are able to join in all at once and ask whatever questions … simply create[s] a much greater access to ASUR.”
These are conceptualized as times when members of ASUR are streaming from SLIC to field any questions students may have, but other ways of utilizing the technology – such as streaming cabinet and senate meetings – are also a possibility according to Madden.
Finally, when asked what made him the best fit for ASUR President, Madden’s first response was his experience.
“I’ve had the opportunity in ASUR … to work with so many students, so many clubs and organizations,” Madden said. “The great thing about that position is, if you aren’t doing the job, people know. That is a position where you have to be on it because you’re overseeing all the accounts, you’re putting through the reimbursements. What represents me being able to serve as an effective president is my track record of really getting things done.”