Three tickets come together for a debate prior to Wednesday’s campus-wide election
On an average day, Taco Bell is about the most exciting thing you can find in the basement of LaFortune. This was not the case Monday night, when a debate was held between the three tickets vying to be Notre Dame’s next Student Body President and Vice President. Elections are scheduled for this Wednesday, February 5, but there is no need to worry if you have not been following the race up to this point, as this article will attempt to showcase the major platforms that the three tickets presented during Monday’s debate.
The race began quietly on January 26, when the Judicial Council tweeted the approval of the tickets of Lauren Vidal-Matt Devine, Olivia LaMagna-Rohan Andresen and Connor McCabe-Sean Campbell. The debate, meanwhile, had a much louder beginning. Two students walked into the basement with speakers on their shoulders that were blasting Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA.” The whole crowd began clapping and singing, but the audience was quickly quieted down so the debate could begin.
The first ticket to speak was that of Olivia LaMagna and Rohan Andresen. LaMagna is the current junior class president and a resident of Farley Hall, while Andresen is a sophomore class senator from Siegfried Hall. The candidates asked the crowd to imagine what the function of student government should be. They placed a heavy emphasis throughout the debate on building a deeper relationship with the local community in South Bend. LaMagna stated that she wanted to shift the dynamic of the city and the school, in order to take advantage of the cultural richness that exists downtown.
Lauren Vidal and Matt Devine agreed with these ideas of building community set out by LaMagna, and added that their whole platform could be simplified into the improvement of the students, the community and the world. Lauren Vidal is a junior from Pasquerilla West who has an impressive background in student government, while Matt Devine is a junior from Knott Hall who headed the Department of Gender Issues during his sophomore year. Vidal and Devine called for every student to have his or her own personalized Notre Dame experience.
Vidal and Devine went into much detail on the many programs that they have envisioned for the student body. Their biggest proposed community initiative is the “29 v. 29 Project”, in which each dorm would “adopt” a local underprivileged family for the holidays. They also came up with the idea to install Quad Markets on South Quad next year, in which local farmers and artisans would come to campus to sell their products alongside students who would have an opportunity to take a shot at business in the real world. Vidal also pushed for increased freshman involvement in student government, and for making student government itself more friendly and approachable.
Later in the debate, LaMagna and Andresen declared that they wanted to maximize every student’s fullest potential at Notre Dame, and proposed a plan that would allow students to take classes across colleges more easily. The ticket hopes to install student advocates who would participate in SAO planning, and to hold frequent open office hours so all students could access the government. The two clearly had great chemistry throughout the night, and LaMagna used her closing statement to thank Andresen for being the best partner she could have wanted. As for their motive for running, they had this to say: “We are running because we care. We care about you.”
Both tickets agreed upon many topics throughout the night, such as the effectiveness of the student government (as exemplified by the DeBartolo Au Bon Pain Coffee Cart) and the seriousness of the issue of sexual assault on campus. Both tickets called for ensuring that everyone, regardless of gender, takes on sexual assault as their own issue. Vidal and Devine put forward the Student Night-time Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP) Program, which would entail the usage of golf carts on campus as a free late-night taxi service for students on campus. They also promised to look deeply into the implementation of medical amnesty. LaMagna and Andresen, meanwhile, proposed preventive measures to fight sexual assault, such as a mid-semester orientation for freshman to educate them on the issue.
In stark contrast to the suits and dresses of the other two tickets was the ticket of Connor McCabe and Sean Campbell. Two freshmen from Zahm, the crowd cheered at their every comment, be it their joking proposal to “change” Keenan into a guy’s dorm or to change Notre Dame’s athletic sponsor from Under Armour to Wrangler Jeans. The ticket did produce bright moments during the debate, such as when McCabe announced that he had just topped his high score of 27 on Flappy Bird. The duo proposed plans to allow Flex Points to be accepted at Belmont Beverages, and to make DARTing harder for students by adding literal hoops through which students would have to jump. The ticket’s final proposal was to change the Alma Matter to the Batman theme song, which was then followed by a live demonstration, in which the entire audience joined in to sing what could one day replace “Notre Dame, Our Mother.”
Whether or not the debate will have an effect on the race is yet to be seen, but none of it will matter if you, as the student body of Notre Dame, do not go to the polls this Wednesday. Our nation owes all it has to our amazing democratic process, and it is our civic duty to exercise our right to vote. If you are reading this article, you probably love Notre Dame as much as you love this country, and should therefore care about the future direction of our great university. Regardless of whom you decide to cast your vote for on Wednesday, we here at the Rover implore you to exercise your right to vote.
Louis Anthony Bruno Bertolotti is Italian (believe it or not) and from the great state of New Jersey. He is a freshman in the College of Arts and Letters. He plans to major in Political Science and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.