Pairs of students professionally dressed in business attire circled around a well-lit room. Small sparsely filled rows of chairs faced two wooden podiums, each with its own microphone.
Pupils in the front rows whispered and glanced around, smiling and gesturing to those behind them.
Though no cameras flashed, and many chairs remained empty, Boise State students prepared to debate for the highest offices in student government.
Prospective ASBSU candidates met Wednesday in the small Farnsworth Conference room on the second floor of the SUB. Candidates came to debate issues of importance at Boise State and outline individual qualifications and experience necessary for holding office.
After everyone finished shaking hands and found seats, current ASBSU Vice President Nick Gaudioso gave a brief introduction before allowing non-presidential candidates to address the small crowd.
“There is a disconnect between the students and the faculty at Boise State,” said Secretary of Academic Affairs candidate Rachel Byrne. “Many of us have gone in to talk to teachers about the issues we have in class and it seems the communication isn’t there.”
Byrne and other non-presidential candidates highlighted problems they would address if elected to their prospective positions.
Presidential candidates then took their places at opposing podiums and prepared for questions from the debate moderator and ASBSU budget director Douglas Avera.
Current ASBSU president Ryan Gregg and candidate Domenic Gelsomino fielded questions and drew distinctions between each other.
Candidate Edel Serafin could not attend the debate due to scheduling conflicts.
“When the decision came around to decide whether I was going to run again, I just felt like there was a lot of stuff that we needed to do, and we needed to prove to students that the student government was going to be consistent,” Gregg said.
When asked specifically what changes they would implement if elected, candidates had a variety of answers.
“There are some things I feel could be improved upon, such as awareness,” Gelsomino said. “A lot of people, a lot of students do not know about ASBSU. They do not know what we do.”
According to Gelsomino, six percent of students vote in ASBSU elections, a percentage he indicated was far too low.
Gregg defended his past year in office, but admitted there was always aspects within student government that needed improvement.
“I am a big fan of the statement ‘If you are not changing, then you are dying’,” Gregg said. “We want to continue to adapt to what students want to see from us.”
Both candidates addressed issues of state funding inequities for Boise State, changes in ASBSU assembly procedure, further branding the university within the Idaho community and immediate issues like the acquisition of the intramural field by the football team.
Candidates then fielded brief general questions from the few audience members and stepped down to allow their running-mates to debate.
Jamie Lundergreen, Bryan Vlok and Jessica Beuhler took the podiums and answered questions similar to those posed to their colleagues.
“Given that I do not have a ton of experience with ASBSU, I feel it is a great opportunity for a fresh look,” vice presidential candidate Beuhler said.
Beuhler argued that a new face in the ASBSU executive assembly could bring fresh and interesting perspectives to decision-making.
Beuhler’s opponent Bryan Vlok illustrated previous experience with ASBSU and outlined how knowing the inner workings of student government gives an advantage.
“I have seen the issues here on this campus. I see what students’ concerns are, and I want to continue to make things better,” Vlok said.
Audience members asked questions and candidates thanked those involved with organization.
The debates had officially ended.
Gregg expressed satisfaction at the number of candidates running for office.
“Last year we did not have nearly the turnout we do this year; in fact many of us ran unopposed,” Gregg said.
Gelsomino thanked Gregg, a longtime fraternity brother, for his professionalism and hospitality.
Gelsomino then commented on his current endorsements from Democrat ASBSU members, previous student senators, and members from the LBGT community.
“These various diverse endorsements really build on our campaign of awareness, involvement, and diversity,” Gelsomino said.
Student voting will take place online March 19 and 20. The website location will be distributed to all students via mass email on election day.