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Reish, Schmidt to lead student body

Joe McMahon | Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bob Reish and Grant Schmidt defeated Maris Braun and George Chamberlain to win student body president and vice president in Thursday’s runoff election.

Junior class president Reish and sophomore class president Schmidt received over 2,000 votes, 65.06 percent of the total 3,569 votes cast.

“We’re glad to see that the student body’s support was behind us, and we’re excited to take over office and execute some of our ideas that we’ve been working on for a while,” Reish said.

Current student body vice president Braun and Sorin senator Chamberlain received 28.94 percent of the total. Their ticket forced a runoff election after Monday’s primary when Reish and Schmidt won 48.43 percent of the total.

“To speak frankly, we gave it our all and did everything that we thought we could do,” Braun said. “We had a lot of faith in our platform and a lot of faith in our experience and our leadership styles. I don’t know if we would have done anything differently because we really put it all out on the table and let the chips fall where they may.”

Reish and Schmidt launched their campaign in September and have spent much of the year campaigning.

“I think this is something that we’ve been planning for and that we were ready for to happen,” Schmidt said. “We both didn’t know what the results would be and we are looking forward to April 1 [when we take office].”

According to Reish and Schmidt, they were able to attract voters with a platform filled with well-researched ideas and a comprehensive campaign that included the Web site, bobandgrant.com.

“Part of the campaign was connecting to the students and trying to make sure that we’re not any better than anyone else,” Schmidt said. “The bobandgrant.com thing, a lot of people laughed at it, but it was something different – an informal way of presenting our ideas that was appealing.”

Once they take office, Reish and Schmidt say they will immediately begin to implement their platform, as well as accept student feedback.

“Day one we want to start connecting more to the student body,” Reish said. “Gather our team and staff together and day one start with our initiatives and also connect to our student body to see what initiatives they want to see done.”

One of those initiatives they hope to accomplish soon is making DVD rentals in the Huddle free. But the pair also hopes that, over their year in office, they can significantly improve the overall life of the student body.

“All of our ideas are researched and most of them can be implemented pretty quick. I think the free DVDs is going to happen quickly,” Schmidt said. “Now that it’s all said and done, I hope students realize that we truly do want to make a difference.”

After learning of their defeat, Braun and Chamberlain gave a lot of credit to their opponents for the strong campaign they ran.

“[Reish and Schmidt] definitely ran a great campaign,” Chamberlain said. “We just focused on running our campaign throughout the process. The student body made their choice, and looking back on it, even before we knew the final result, I think the student body is going to be in pretty good shape.”

After Monday’s election, the pair realized that they needed to change their strategy. “What we did is took a look at our platform and looked at areas of weakness and prepared for the debate on Wednesday,” Braun said. “By no means did we resign ourselves to the fact that it was over but we did realize that there were better ways to handle it. Hopefully we demonstrated that.”

Reish and Schmidt’s victory also marked a change in a trend in student government dating back through the past four administrations in which either the student body vice president or the executive assistant to the president had won the top office the following year.

When asked how he felt about being the person to finally break this trend, Reish responded he thinks the student body needed a fresh perspective and hopes to be part of the team that will accomplish that.

Braun said she knew her current position as student body vice president did not guarantee her victory in this year’s election.

“We came in here approaching the campaign with the sense that nothing is guaranteed,” she said. “The fact that it didn’t work out for us proves that legacy is not the end-all-be-all. That’s probably the way it should be. In this case I’m a firm believer in the idea that things have a way of working themselves out, and it’s for the best of the student body.”

Both Braun and Chamberlain said they do not know what they plan to do next, although Chamberlain said that right now he is just focused on getting through Junior Parents’ Weekend.

“I think that when God closes one door he opens a new window, and what that is, I don’t know yet, but I’m excited to find out,” Braun said.