A NEW CONVERSATION
James Mwaura and Charles Mbatia
James Mwaura and Charles Mbatia, both current jun-iors, are running because they haven’t felt representedby their student government lately.“”There’s a feeling that a lot of these other slateshave been in the ASSU for quite some time, and one of their main focuses is making the ASSU run more effi-ciently,” Mwaura said. However according to Mwaura,this focus causes the ASSU to lose sight of what they aresupposed to do — provide students with a service.“Our vision is very clear . . . we want to provide thebest possible services and most unclouded dialogue,”said Mwaura.Mwaura is involved in several business-oriented stu-dent groups, such as the Business Association of Stan-ford Entrepreneurial Students (BASES), while Mbatiaserves as an officer for Intramural Sports, leadership ex-periences the pair says complement each other well.Of all the candidates, Mwaura and Mbatia stressedthe importance of the ASSU representing the studentvoice to the administration the most.“While the ASSU might be good at running itself,what they’re there for — to represent the students forthe administration — they’re failing in that respect.”They cited the Chi Theta Chi lease termination andrising tuition prices as areas where they would engagethe University in conversation to represent student in-terest.“A lot of times, you tend to wonder where your dol-lar is actually going,” said Mwaura, referring to increas-es in tuition, bookstore prices and late night diningprices.The group brings several other new ideas as well —including end-of-quarter yard sales, improving non-techie career fairs and working with faculty to bring on-line lectures to humanities classes, which often lack thatoption.
ZIMBROFF - WAGSTAFF
Robbie Zimbroff and William Wagstaff
Robbie Zimbroff ’12 and William Wagstaff ’12 areASSU outsiders, but the two Ujamaa Resident Assis-tants and future co-terms believe this offers them afresh opportunity to “reconnect” the ASSU with thestudent body.While both have a track record and future plan fo-cusing on promoting diversity on campus, their cam-paign isn’t so simple — the pair also wants to bring con-crete changes to what they termed “student problems.”“People with ASSU experience have already shownthey fall into the same cycle of jargon and a big electioncycle, where you promise big things, but they don’t actu-alize in a way that people want,” Zimbroff said.Talking with each other and other students aboutsimple problems, such as a perceived lack of late-nightdining options and poor quality of Vaden Health Cen-ter, the pair said they began to discuss the things theywould do if in charge. Then they thought, “Why not us?”“The ASSU is disconnected [from students],” Zim-broff said. “If we re-focus on what people are talkingabout, that could be a really positive thing.”The pair also identified a problem of scope. By nar-rowing the focus of the ASSU to these “student prob-lems”, the duo hopes to improve the efficiency of theASSU.“We’re not going to be able to promise every singleperson every single thing that they want,” Zimbroff said. “All we want to do is to help people and take actiontoward those goals in concrete ways.”
MACGREGOR-DENNIS & DRUTHI
Stewart Macgregor-Dennis and Druthi Ghanta
Stewart Macgregor-Dennis, current ASSU Vice-President, is widely credited with forming the new en-trepreneur-themed dorm on campus. In fact, he’s a bit of a campus celebrity, earning his own meme on the Stan-ford meme page “MemeChu” and going around tofreshmen dorms to talk with students about the ASSU.While it was common knowledge Macgregor-Denniswould run for ASSU Executive, his running mate re-mained a question mark — until now. Druthi Ghanta’14 has never been involved in the ASSU, though Mac-gregor-Dennis praised her for her effectiveness.“Her more service-oriented and non-profit back-ground combines well with my slightly more entrepre-neurial background,” said Macgregor-Dennis, addingthat the pair had “synergy” when they met recently todiscuss running together.Due to being ill, Ghanta was not available to inter-view with The Daily before publication.Though Macgregor-Dennis and Ghanta will not re-lease their full platform until the beginning of springquarter, Macgregor-Dennis cited several items, such ashard liquor consumption on campus and the lack of housing for international students during winter break,as examples of challenges he hopes to tackle.“We don’t have to go through the lengthy process of building relationships and figuring out how the ASSUworks,” Macgregor-Dennis said, commenting on his ex-perience in the ASSU Executive.“There are definitely areas where it took us a whileto learn, as I think it does with all executives,” Macregor-Dennis said of his current term with ASSU PresidentMichael Cruz ’12. “I think [Druthi and I] will be able tostart on day one.”
reservations and student groups.
Friday, March 9, 2012
The Stanford Daily
Julian Okuyiga and Ben Hoffman
“There’s an inherent fallacy that the ASSU Exec canrevolutionize our Stanford experience by incorporatingchanges into all these different facets of the administra-tion and student life,” said Ben Hoffman ’13, of the Fam-ily Matters slate.Hoffman, along with Julian Okuyiga ’13, are uniqueamong the field this year because they propose nomajor changes for the way the ASSU currently oper-ates. They largely want to keep the status quo, except forone, huge initiative:Bring back Lake Lagunita.The pair doesn’t want to destroy the ASSU — they(somewhat uncaringly) say they would appoint quali-fied and experienced cabinet officials, and maintain theASSU’s role as a liaison between student groups andthe University. They just have a different focus.“We’d put forth efforts to bring experienced peoplein as Cabinet officers, draw on that insight, but thatwon’t be our biggest problem,” Okuyiga said.It may be a long shot, but both Hoffman and Okuyi-ga have given the problem of Lake Lag some thought.They’ve identified four main issues: the tiger salaman-der, water usage, restoration of a derelict dam and liabil-ity issues. The solutions aren’t fully formed yet — theslate suggested species relocation may solve the tigersalamander problem and requiring students to learn toswim like other colleges may solve the liability issues —however the pair believes that with alumni support,bringing back the Lake is an achievable goal.-”It would bring a whole new aspect to Stanford lifein general,” Hoffman said, recalling how alumni he hastalked to recall their time around Lake Lag very fondly.The pair even noted that a place for Stanford stu-dents to chill, relax and unwind may improve mentalhealth on campus. Or, as Hoffman put it, “Solving theStanford duck syndrome — with a lake.”
UNITED WE STAN(FOR)D
Brianna Pang and Dan DeLong
Brianna Pang ’13 and Dan DeLong ’13 both servedin this year’s ASSU Senate, with Pang as chair of the Ap-propriations Committee. Both have extensive experi-ence working with students, in particular financial offi-cers of different student groups..The pair originally discovered their desire to be instudent government while living in Toyon their sopho-more year. They take partial responsibility for prevent-ing Toyonito, the student performance center locatedbehind Toyon, from being converted to a package cen-ter for East Campus. By bringing in University adminis-trators, DeLong and Pang say they were able to advo-cate for students’ concerns that they would lose a valu-able performance space.“Through that experience, we realized the ASSU hasa unique platform to affect change, being the intermedi-aries between students and administrators,” Pang said.Both Pang and DeLong stress the ASSU’s role as afacilitator — instead of pursuing its own initiatives, therole of the ASSU Executive is to help student groups,they said.“Why don’t we give those student groups access toadministrators, the funding, the resources and the toolsthat are necessary for those student groups to carry outtheir mission?” asked DeLong.Unlike several other slates, Pang and DeLong are fo-cused on reforming the internal workings of the ASSU.Referring to complaints about problems with StanfordStudent Enterprises (SSE), the arm of the ASSU thatmanages student group banking and student invest-ments on campus, Pang and DeLong said they wouldguarantee student reimbursement checks within sevendays.“It’s an internal function of [the] ASSU, but it also af-fects so many students and student groups,” Pang said.The pair also referenced transparency and talkedabout their plan to scan and make available to the entirecampus all receipts of the ASSU and student groups.
OPEN SOURCE CANDIDATES
Daniel Koning and Kian Ameli
The Stanford Chaparral decided to field a slate witha unique twist this year, taking the idea of “crowdsourc-ing” to its extreme — the entire slate can be defined andmodified by anyone.Daniel Koning ’14 and Kian Ameli ’13, sportingmatching aviators and gloves, answered questions abouttheir slate’s platform with poetic waxing on moonlight,and discussed the moral implications of supporting foodtrucks — which the pair suggested may run someoneover — on campus.An interesting moment came when Ameli definedhis vision for the role of the ASSU vice president.“It’s a subtly domineering role,” Ameli said, turningto Koning to ask, “You’re OK with that right?”“You’re my anchor, and I love you for that,” respond-ed Koning.“Right,” Amelia said. “Another way to say it wouldbe, ‘first the worst, second the best’.”Despite their unconventional methods, don’t jumpto label the pair a “joke-slate” — they see themselves asthe “channel for democracy.”“If people choose to treat us as a joke, we’ll never riseabove that,” said Koning. “But remember, this is democ-ratization. The people decide.”“Well,” qualified Ameli, “whoever edits the Wiki de-cides.”Two of the tamer suggestions currently on the cam-paign’s wiki are banning all police from campus onweekends and dissolving the ASSU Senate.
By BRENDAN O’BYRNE
The race for ASSU Executive has begun, and anumber of slates have launched petitions on theASSU elections site. The Daily sat down with thecandidates to gain a better sense of what each slatehopes to accomplish if elected.