Student body presidential candidates: Eduardo Luna and Haley Coleman
Observer Staff Report | Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Who they are:
Eduardo Luna, running for student body president, is a junior from Phoenix. He previously served as the student senator for Knott Hall, though he now resides off campus, and is the senior student manager at North Dining Hall. Currently, Luna is the co-director of student life under the McGavick-Gayheart administration. He is majoring in political science and economics.
Junior Haley Coleman, Luna’s running mate, hails from Las Vegas, and spent the fall semester abroad in Washington, D.C. She currently sits on Junior Class Council, but considers herself a student government “outsider.” She is majoring in international economics and political science and is a resident of Farley Hall.
Top Priority: TIE — improving transparency and communication and improving residential dining
While it may not be the centerpiece of the Luna–Coleman platform, the ticket has gotten word from students that they feel “very, very disconnected” from the administration, Luna said in an interview with The Observer on Saturday. The pair hopes to serve as a “bridge” between the Main Building and the greater Notre Dame campus and “be able to advocate for all” students’ needs to administrators, he said.
However, while Luna and Coleman may have claimed transparency as their main priority, the duo is partial to making improvements in Campus Dining, especially considering Luna’s extensive background in the area. Coleman noted the team’s plan to build on the Campus Dining student advisory committee, which was formed in November but has yet to meet. She said the aim of the committee is to make sure “the dining hall isn’t so much trying to guess what the students are enjoying and what we want to see, but to actually get our voices heard to them.”
Best Idea: Incorporating diverse cuisines into dining hall meals
Luna and Coleman hope to encourage cultural appreciation in students by letting them break bread together. Luna said the ticket believes offering “authentic food” can help make students “feel part of the community” at Notre Dame, but that it is rarely made available in the dining halls. The ticket plans to work with student groups and Campus Dining to sponsor multicultural cuisine, Luna said. The team already has a well-thought-out plan to do so: Luna said he would dedicate his summer to working with Campus Dining to create a more diverse meal rotation before the school year begins.
Worst Idea: Holding student senate in Midfield Commons
While we appreciate the desire to never hold senate behind closed doors, the idea of setting up tables on the bleachers in Midfield Commons in the Duncan Student Center each week for the sake of transparency seems both excessive and disruptive. The first floor of the Duncan Student Center is consistently one of the busiest places on campus; a group in charge of important decision-making like senate should not be subjected to the comings and goings of the entire student body.
Most Feasible: Standardizing how students are selected to be placed back into their dorms after study abroad
According to Luna and Coleman, many dorms are inconsistent about how they determine which students studying abroad will have spots when they come back. Often, students plan ahead to switch rooms with a friend studying abroad during the opposite semester — a plan which is not always foolproof. Coleman said they hope to speak with each rector and “figure out who might be doing it the best and most efficiently and standardize it.”
Least Feasible: Advocating for the greater use of air conditioning
While many of the ideas Luna and Coleman have for improving residential life at Notre Dame — such as standardizing maintenance requests and study abroad housing systems — seem feasible, this one is out of the left field. Many residence halls at the University cannot be air conditioned due to infrastructure limitations from when they were built over a century ago. Implementing air conditioning in most of the buildings on South Quad would require a complete teardown and rebuild of the structures.
Bottom Line: Focused, feasible ideas with major areas of oversight
The Luna–Coleman platform has four main modules: residential dining, diversity and inclusion, residential life and transparency and communication. While its platform is not more than 10 pages long, like those of its opponents, it hits on a wide variety of important topics, from incorporating more fresh ingredients into food in the dining halls — something the pair thinks will be doable based on Luna’s experience working with Campus Dining and conversations he has had with members of the department — to touring all dorms on campus. However, the platform also neglects to address some main issues important to college campuses in the 21st century, such as sexual assault.