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Dominic Romeo | Philip Hootsmans

| Tuesday, February 5, 2013

 

Who they are: While junior Dominic Romeo, a resident of Duncan Hall, lacks student government experience, his involvement at Notre Dame has ranged from walking onto the football team, leading marketing for The Shirt Project, going on an ISSLP in Tanzania and spending the fall semester in Beijing. Junior Philip Hootsmans, former vice president of Keenan Hall, also studied in Beijing and is a member of the rugby team.

The candidates said they plan to build off their simple platform with ideas garnered directly from students.

“We picture ourselves more of a pipeline, I guess, for students to get what the want,” Hootsmans said. 

First priority: Romeo said he would pick students’ brains through three avenues in his first week in office: open office hours, student focus groups and a combination of an online forum and a blog. 

“At the end of the week we’re going to put all these issues that were posited on a ballot,” Romeo said. “We’re going to send that out to the student body and we’re going to have them give us their feedback as to which they find most important. Based on a ranking, we’re going to develop a plan of action.”

Top priority: Romeo said he does not see one issue as his top concern because his ticket intends to prioritize based on student feedback.

“I don’t have a concrete [top priority] because if I’m going to give you one it’s going to disregard the whole premise of our platform, which is to get the students’ feedback to find out what that is,” Romeo said. “

Hootsmans said there was one issue the candidates would insist be addressed.

“I think equality is a very big thing for us. It’s hard to avoid the issue because you have [GLBTQ] friends and you hear those stories,” he said. “That’s a big thing for us, making sure the [student organization] gets pushed through.”

Best idea: Open office hours, student focus groups and a concert the day of a night football game.

Worst idea: Decentralizing an already large and complex entity like student government could successfully empower interested students to tackle issues directly but could also result in greater inefficiency and more red tape.

Most feasible: Expanding printing to all academic buildings, putting battery recycling bins in all dorms.

Least feasible: Bringing bigger acts to B1 Block Party – programmed through Legends, not student government – and distributing weekly student government newsletters.

Memorable quote: “There’s nothing more beautiful than driving down ND Avenue, looking at the Dome and feeling at home. People being excluded from that community because of factors outside their control, be it the fact that they’re members of the LGBTQ community, be it that they’re ethnic minorities, be it the fact that they’re from foreign countries, be it the fact they’re from economically less privileged families or they’re handicapped or for whatever reason, it’s tragic to us.” – Romeo

Fun facts: When Romeo and his family (recently) went to Disneyland, his family wore a different matching t-shirt each day.

Hootsmans has three passports: one South African, one Dutch and one American.

Bottom line: While the ticket’s lack of student government experience may be a concern, the candidates bring a refreshing level of enthusiasm. With a broad range of experiences on and off campus, they have exceptional insight into the broad interests of students. Their vision for student government serving as a purely representative system offers an opportunity for students to reengage with the sometimes-removed organization.