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Increase in tickets reflects confidence

Maddie Hanna | Thursday, January 27, 2005

This year’s Notre Dame student body presidential election features six tickets – an increase from last year’s four that reflects greater confidence in student government, according to current members and candidates.”This shows that people have faith in student government,” student body president Adam Istvan said.He said the current administration’s accomplishments, such as ticket sales, have inspired students and demonstrated the effectiveness of student government. “It’s not lost on students that we’ve accomplished a lot more this year,” Istvan said.Although Istvan acknowledged that he couldn’t speculate as to the student body’s level of confidence in government before his years at Notre Dame, he said that the general attitude has become much more positive.”That [level of confidence] hasn’t appeared to have happened in the past,” Istvan said.As for the large number of tickets running, Istvan said, “It’s democracy.” Karla Bell, student body vice president, noted that many of this year’s candidates have extensive student government experience.”This shows that people want to stay involved,” she said.Bell, who is “enthusiastic” about the election, said while many of the candidates have served on the same bodies of student government, the competition between them is good-natured. According to Student Judicial Council chair Brin Anderson, a candidate must be in good academic standing and have eligibility based on their discipline record through the Office of Student Affairs and Residence Life and Housing.Additionally, candidates must collect 700 signatures for a petition, an increase that was implemented in 2004 to prevent “joke tickets” from running. Once the signatures are in and approved by Judicial Council, the Registrar and the Office of Student Affairs, the tickets may begin campaigning, Anderson said.”I am very happy that there are so many tickets running this year,” said Anderson. “I believe that a higher number of tickets involved in the election provides the student body with more choices and options for candidates based on their individual platforms.”Presidential candidate Jordan Bongiovanni, Cavanaugh senator, and vice presidential James Leito, Siegfried senator, said they felt encouraged by the number of candidates but admitted past disillusionment with student government. “I’m really excited that there are a lot of people taking this seriously this year,” Bongiovanni said. Leito emphasized the pair’s long-running involvement in student government and ability to enact change.”We’re trying to reach out to students,” he said. “We want to show them that [student government] does do something.”Sophomore presidential candidate Mark Healy, who also ran his freshman year, stressed his involvement as a programmer on the Student Union Board. Healy’s running mate is freshman Bob Costa, who helped bring John Mayer and Eve 6 to his high school.”Our age is one thing, but it doesn’t really reflect our resumes,” Healy said.Several candidates said they viewed the high number of tickets as healthy for the campaign process. Alumni Hall president and presidential candidate Craig Brede and his running mate Vijay Ramanan, Senate Academic Affairs chair, said the variety of candidates contributed individual strengths to the competition and platforms. “There’s a lot of people running because there are changes to be made in student government,” Brede said. Like Brede, presidential candidate Alec White said he was “in no way intimidated” by the number of tickets.”A little healthy competition never killed anyone – except the gladiators in Rome,” White said. In addition to Healy-Costa, several tickets bring experience in a range of student government organizations and their platforms reflect their experience. For example, the Bongiovanni-Leito ticket and White-Powers ticket both include current senators.Erik Powers, Sorin senator and White’s running mate, said the large number of candidates would help bring fresh ideas to student government.”Sometimes having more tickets is good, like if you’re at a carnival and want to get on more rides. This is better for the merry-go-round of student government at Notre Dame,” he said. “We’re just asking Adam and Karla to pass the peas, and maybe the salt too,” Powers said.