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Student body presidential candidates: Carlston Chang and Kevin O’Leary

| Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Who they are:

After being revived last year, this year’s freshmen Zahm ticket for student body president and vice president features freshmen Carlston Chang and Kevin O’Leary. Chang, a finance major from Honolulu, Hawaii, is the candidate for president, and O’Leary, a theology and history major from Plainfield, Ill., is his running mate.

Chang said his role on the campaign is mainly “reaching out to students, listening to their concerns and understanding what needs to be changed and how [they’re] going to do that,” while O’Leary said his job is a “combination of listening to what people have to say and blowing their minds.”

Top Priority: Transparency and freedom

For O’Leary, the transparency goal is twofold — or two-ply, as it were. Not only did he note that transparency is key for any student government, he also pointed out “the transparency of our toilet paper situation is just despicable.”

“I can see through the toilet paper, and that’s just a problem,” he said, explaining that the Chang-O’Leary ticket will continue the fight for two-ply toilet paper that sophomores Andrew Gannon and Mark Moran started last year. Chang’s top priority, he said, is freedom. That’s why he wants to create a free shuttle from campus to Meijer on Fridays “so students can access groceries,” he said.

Best Idea: Replacing Columbus with Jenkins in the Gregori Murals

Chang and O’Leary are running a crowdsourcing campaign, allowing students throughout Notre Dame to suggest what they feel will be the best ways to serve to community. One idea O’Leary said he feels would reduce tensions on campus would be “a compromise of sorts” about the Columbus murals in Main Building. “Rather than taking the murals down or fully covering them up, we suggest just replacing Columbus with a selection of tasteful selfies from [University President Fr. John] Jenkins,” he said. “Possibly called the ‘Dankins Murals,’ which — we’re still working on the name, but we think that would solve the problem.”

Worst Idea: TIE — Trial by combat OCS hearings and introducing greater diversity in water-borne illnesses

O’Leary explained that the seriousness of the suggested OCS trials by combat would depend on the seriousness of the situation, ranging from hand-to-hand combat to swordfights. “My hope is ‘Gladiator,’ but the University will probably talk us down to ‘West Side Story,’” O’Leary said. Chang said he believes “the main point for trial by combat OCS hearings is that something needs to change,” but it is highly unlikely that the University will re-evaluate the hearings given the chance for student injuries and deaths if it were to implement this idea. Another goal that poses a danger to student health is to increase the diversity in water-borne illnesses on campus. While advocating for greater diversity at Notre Dame is often a strong point of tickets’ platforms, in this case, Chang’s goal of “introducing salmonella so that the e-coli in our water are not lonely anymore,” is a terrible idea.

Most Feasible: Numbered dining hall tables

O’Leary said he and Chang “think it would be cool if you [could] text your friends like, ‘Oh, hey, we’re sitting at Table 16, come join us.’ That would be so much handier.” Simple, and doable.

Least Feasible: Fr. Pete McCormick as the next Bachelor

Although senior campaign manager Alex Bonino has already come up with a hashtag — #SweetPete — for the director of Campus Ministry’s run as the lead on the ABC reality show “The Bachelor,” this might be tough to accomplish. For example, the fact that McCormick is a priest complicates the relationship aspect of the show. However, Bonino said he believes this added drama is exactly what will convince producers to give McCormick a shot at love. “Obviously a big deal has been made about [current Bachelor Colton Underwood’s] virginity this season, and we think we could really even take that to the next level with Fr. Pete,” Bonino said. “Celibacy is the next virginity.”

Bottom Line:

Chang and O’Leary are trying to bring some levity to the annual student government election, and they are succeeding. Under the guidance of Bonino and sophomore campaign manager Andrew Gannon, last year’s Zahm candidate for student body president, the two have put together a platform that puts student desires first while also respecting the rules of an election campaign. “It’s really astoundingly easy to follow all the rules, we’ve found out,” Bonino said. “It’s kind of stunning that we were the only platform able to do that last year, and obviously we’re going to do the same this year because ‘good, clean fun’ is our motto.”

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