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The Observer endorses Soler-Bell ticket

Editorial Board | Friday, February 5, 2010

After interviewing the three tickets running for student body president and vice president, The Observer Editorial Board endorses sophomores Catherine Soler and Andrew Bell.

The Soler-Bell platform offers the student body several exciting opportunities for improving student life and safety, as well as community relations. Their most feasible initiative, implementing a textbook rental system in the Bookstore, is not original: Follett has piloted such a program at over 20 other colleges and universities. However, because the rental system functions at other schools, The Observer has high hopes that Soler-Bell can make the program a reality at Notre Dame.

One of the reasons for this rental system, besides saving money, is to “save the environment,” Soler told The Observer. This isn’t the only altruistic thing on their platform — Soler-Bell said they would continue the efforts of current student body president Grant Schmidt and vice president Cynthia Weber to get the student body involved in “something bigger” with an initiative to fight global hunger. While this pitch is lofty and vague, it is an admirable effort.

Junior candidates Eras Noel and Julian Corona also have an initiative to unite the student body in a common purpose with their “Perspectives” series, which, if successful, would prompt debate and discussion. These candidates also focus on improving Grab ‘n Go and extending Flex Point use off campus, both of which are important but less feasible goals.

The Soler-Bell platform likewise addresses food conveniences as several of their ideas involve student meal plans and food options. They’ve done their research on the possibilities of off-campus discounts, and their idea to solicit and publicize discounts available with a Notre Dame student ID card would provide more student business for local merchants while encouraging students to interact with the community and contribute to the local economy.

The interaction wouldn’t stop at a restaurant with Soler-Bell: the ticket also wants to hold a block party at Eddy Street Commons to bring the community together. This would be a beneficial opportunity to utilize the new “college town” as a place of interaction and get to know our South Bend neighbors. Their proposed “Good Neighbor” series could help students living off campus be better neighbors and make a positive impact on their neighborhoods.

Their initiative to revamp the DeBartolo lounge also shows promise and is something that would be appreciated by the majority of the student body.

Safety on and off campus is a concern with Soler-Bell, and they’ve demonstrated their dedication to student safety in their meetings with Notre Dame Security Police. Their primary concern regarding safety seems to be center on alcohol consumption. While this is one side of student health and safety, preventing violence toward students and keeping students physically safe on and off campus is an important and crucial issue for Notre Dame students, especially in light of recent assaults. The Observer would hope Soler-Bell would make this a top priority, and think of new ways to help keep students safe.

Soler-Bell’s experience in student government — Soler is currently sophomore class president and Bell serves on Student Senate — will allow them an easy transition to the offices of student body president and vice president. Their initiatives are thoroughly researched and can make a positive impact on the Notre Dame community.