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Presidential candidates announced

Maureen Reynolds | Monday, January 26, 2004

As election year begins across the country, so it begins on the Notre Dame campus as candidates begin campaigning for the top spots in the Student Union – student body president and vice president.This year, four tickets – Ryan Craft and Steve Lynch, Charlie Ebersol and James Leito, Mark Healy and Mike Healy and Adam Istvan and Carla Bell – will compete for election compared to last year’s seven tickets. This drop in numbers is most likely due to the number of student signatures the candidates had to obtain on petitions before being accepted to run. Last year, candidates were required to obtain 300 signatures, but the number was raised to 700 during a December Council of Representatives meeting.The approval process for each ticket comes from having the required number of signatures, and each candidate must be in good academic standing and good standing with the Office of Residence Life and Housing, Judicial Board President Elliot Poindexter said.According to Poindexter, the ticket of Charlie Ebersol and James Leito has been approved, but the tickets of Mark Healy and Mike Healy, Adam Istvan and Karla Bell and Ryan Craft and Steve Lynch are still in the process of being approved.Each pair of candidates has issues on which they will focus during the next two weeks before the elections.Ebersol said that student involvement is on the top of his list of how to better student government.”We really need to focus on student involvement in administrative stuff,” he said. Ebersol said one of his objectives will be to have the student body president sit on the Board of Trustees, if not as a voting member, then as simply the voice of the students in the administration.”They just need our voice there,” he said.In line with their focus on student involvement, Ebersol and Leito have vowed to visit each dorm before the election and again during the year if they are elected.”I think the first thing you have to do is give students more of an opportunity to be a part of your campaign,” said Ebersol. “I want to have students look at my campaign and [give me feedback.]” Ebersol is currently the head of the Student Union Board, and he said he is focused on returning a good product to the students in terms of a more efficient, well-run student government.”…We have worked the last eight months to get a group that represents every body of student government …” he said. “You have to be able to show you can produce.”Leito, Ebersol’s candidate for vice president, is currently the sophomore class president and was the freshman class treasurer last year. The Healy-Healy ticket – the two are not related – promise to focus on things that students want and need.”I think the biggest problem is that [student government is] not really getting the job done on things that we can actually do something about,” Mark Healy said. “I’m here because I want to break the cycle of having a few people decide what the school should be.”Mark Healy expressed a need for student government to work on things that will improve student life.”We have been looking into putting some type of Blockbuster on campus,” he said.These candidates will also focus on student feedback and involvement.”We’re suggesting that right where they have the TCE boxes … we put in boxes [for suggestions.]” said Mark Healy. “There would be forms that people can fill out and we’ll directly get them and we can contact [the students.] … We want to be able to take what people want to get done and make that our top priority.”Mark Healy has sat on the communications board of the Office of the Student Body President and he has also worked on campaigns for congressmen and the mayor of his hometown, Orlando.Mark Healy said he chose Mike Healy for his running mate because he “can tell that Mike has the right intuition to be able to lead.”Istavan said his ticket’s main approach is to get SYRs back in the dorms.”The class of juniors now is the last class that has had an SYR in the dorms,” said Istvan, “and when we graduate, there will be no one who can say, ‘I remember when it was better.'”Istvan cited the lack of this issue in the past two reports to the Board of Trustees, given by former student body presidents Libby Bishop and Pat Hallahan.”This is the kind of personality we can’t perpetuate in student government … we need to get more effective people in the office,” he said. “We need to have SYRs back in the dorms. It’s better for community building, and it’s just more fun.”Istvan also commented on other issues in his campaign, which include transportation for students to and from downtown South Bend.”I would like to bring back … the bus that takes students from campus to the downtown district where people can go out and not have to worry about drivers,” he said. “It would make it easier for people to go out.”Istvan cited another institution, Xavier University in Cincinnati, which has a program like this.Istvan was formerly the dance commissioner for Morrissey Hall, and Bell is the current president of Walsh Hall. She also worked for former student body president Brooke Norton.Craft and Lynch also want to focus on changes to better student life. “We’re not looking to rearrange the setup and intricacies of student government, but to make changes that affect the every day lives of the students,” Craft said.Craft cited several ideas that his ticket wishes to implement that they believe would improve the lives of students.”Our two prime objectives would be that we’re trying to get a printer in every dorm that [students] can use their printing quota for,” he said. “And we’re trying to get a shuttle bus from the Joyce Center parking lot to DeBartolo [for off-campus students], and Grab ‘n Go in DeBartolo Hall.”Craft and Lynch also want to institute an inexpensive movie rental program on campus and design better off-campus transportation. “We feel that we can bring a fresh outlook to [student government],” Craft said. “We feel if we can succeed in meeting these objectives that the students will notice a difference in what their student government is doing for them.”The two do not have experience with student government on campus, but they feel that it is this inexperience that will help them bring a fresh perspective to the office.