Meet the 2021 ASBSU candidates

The 2021-2022 candidates for Boise State’s student government, the Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) and Inclusive Excellence Student Council (IESC), have been campaigning on and off campus since March 3. 

Debates between candidates will be held on Wednesday, March 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Boise State students wanting to watch or submit questions can join through a Zoom webinar link on the ASBSU website.

Voting will open Monday, March 22 at 12:01 a.m. through Tuesday, March 23 at 11:59 p.m. Fee-paying students will receive an email with the voting link to their Boise State email address, and voting results will be announced through a campus-wide email on Wednesday, March 24. 

ASBSU President and Vice President

Eric Kline and Solenne De Tassigny

[Photo of Solenne De Tassigny and Eric Kline]
Photo courtesy Max Tolman

Presidential candidate Eric Kline and Vice Presidential Candidate De Tassigny’s primary focus is on bettering student representation, transparency, and expanding student funds.  

“We worked really hard to make our policy promises heavily reflect the issues we saw within ASBSU and how we wanted to fix them,” Kline said. “We need direct representation for all students.” 

Kline and Tassigny are passionate about Boise State and believe that the university is the best in the world, but it still needs improvements. 

“I have this very strong belief that Boise State is the greatest university in the world, but we don’t have a student government that reflects that,” Kline said. “Taking a step back, analyzing the issue and finding solutions improves the experience for everybody across the board and that starts with student government.” 

Kline and Tassigny are also motivated to increase student participation in ASBSU.

“Ensuring that we see an increase in voter turnout, that we see an increase in student participation, whether it’s legislation drafting or interacting with our social media or meetings, there’s nothing more important to me than actually serving the people that we are meant to serve,” Tassigny said. “Right now, that’s not happening in the status quo, but there are avenues that we can create and steps we can take to make sure that happens.” 

If elected, Kline and Tassigny also plan to use part of ASBSU’s budget to bring back events on campus that may have been canceled due to COVID-19 guidelines. 

To read more about Kline and Tassigny’s campaign, visit their website KlineTassigny.

Jacinta Rigi and AJ Mayer

[Photo of Jacinta Rigi and AJ Mayer]
Photo courtesy Corissa Lee

Presidential candidate Jacinta Rigi and Vice Presidential candidate AJ Mayer have yet to serve any position on ASBSU, but with increasing frustrations over the last few years—Rigi and Mayer felt it was their responsibility to step up and make a change. 

“A lot of stuff happened last year with ASBSU and I know personally, I was really angry and touched by it. I was just like ‘I have to do something about it. No one else seems to be speaking up.’ Why not me? Why don’t I be the one to say something about everything that’s happening?” Rigi said. 

Rigi and Mayer want to see a change in ASBSU, starting with unbiased decision-making.  

“We shouldn’t be making decisions based on anything biased at all. It shouldn’t be a partisan decision no matter what it is. It should be bi-partisan, taking all sides into account, regardless of your personal beliefs,” Mayer said. “If I get in there, I’m not afraid to talk to whoever I have to talk to, do whatever I have to do to make sure that things get done and students’ voices get heard.”

If elected, Rigi and Mayer plan to improve relationships within ASBSU.

“Having a good relationship with everyone in ASBSU [is important], meaning we’re all on the same page and we all want students’ voices to be heard. Hopefully, building relationships with everyone that is in ASBSU is really going to help us,” Rigi said. 

Ultimately, Rigi and Mayer want to bring students together through various events and discussions. 

“These people are representing you, everyone should have a relationship with them. Getting to know everybody on the team would really help [relationships],” Rigi said. 

For more information about their campaign, visit their website RigiMayerForASBSU.

Kenneth Huston and Sarah Smith

[Photo of Sarah Smith and Kenneth Huston]
Photo courtesy Maiya Shoemaker

Presidential candidate Kenneth Huston and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Smith are focused on transparency with the student body at Boise State.

“I think a really big part of [transparency] on our mission is non-partisan government,” Huston said. “We saw a lot of partisanship this past semester. We’ve seen a lot of hate nationwide and the student government itself has started to stray from its core purpose of advocating for students. What we’re running on is cutting all of that out and redirecting everyone’s attention to the matters at hand on increasing mental health awareness at Boise State.”

Huston and Smith also want to dedicate part of ASBSU’s financial budget toward hiring a new mental health counselor at Boise State to provide more access for students. According to Huston, Boise State has fewer counselors than recommended to adequately serve students’ mental health. 

“Our money is just as limited as anyone’s, especially this year. We want to still dedicate those funds in our budget, that is non-negotiable, to fund one of those positions,” Huston said. 

Ultimately, Huston and Smith want to support and advocate for Boise State students to help them succeed. They will also focus on food insecurity and transparency of ASBSU by using their relationships with university administration and knowledge of the various initiatives on campus.

“We’re here to support students and advocate for students. Right now, students are struggling. COVID-19 has been hard on everyone, so we need to focus on that and see how we can support those students so that they can succeed in school and in their work,” Smith said. 

To learn more about their campaign, visit their website HustonSmith4ASBSU.

Vice President of Inclusive Excellence Student Council (IESC)

Grace Burgert

[Photo of Grace Burgert]
Photo courtesy Noe Coughenour

Grace Burgert is a sophomore majoring in political science and has been a part of the IESC this semester and in the past as a general member. Burgert’s focus would be to expand efforts to help marginalized and underrepresented communities on campus, and to work with the university on different projects.

“I’ve seen how our university has kind of put diversity, inclusion and equity on the backburner,” Burgert said.

Burgert enjoys being involved on campus and getting to know different organizations, especially as a Resident Assistant in student housing. 

“[Not everyone in ASBSU and IESC has] the privilege, the capacity or even the time to put [into different projects], and I want to use my privilege to be able to do that and to try my best to represent ASBSU and all students,” Burgert said.

Sarah Mandura 

[Photo of Sara Mandura]
Photo courtesy Libby Gaines

Junior Sara Madura is majoring in criminal justice and is running for the position of vice president of IESC because she wants to give every student on campus a voice.

“I know that academia can be very hard for marginalized groups, so I want to make sure that there is a very inclusive environment,” Mandura said. “And I also want to help in the ways I can about teaching fellow students what challenges their classmates might be facing.”

The biggest part of Mandura’s platform is to incorporate an understanding of systems of oppression through different projects on campus, establishing relationships within the community and opening up communication between students and ASBSU and IESC more.

“I really want to talk about systems of oppression being present in everyday life, and I think that’s the number one thing I want to emphasize,” Mandura said.

Vice President of Academic Affairs

Graf Kirk

[Photo of Graf Kirk]
Photo courtesy Graf Kirk

Graf Kirk, a junior biology major and pre-med student, currently holds the position of vice president of Academic Affairs and hopes to win his re-election. Kirk was originally a senator for ASBSU but was elected by the ASBSU joint session to fill in as vice president of Academic Affairs during the ASBSU presidential impeachment trial last fall. 

“My job is to be indifferent and not choose a side on discussions,” Kirk said. “My job is really just to promote the senators and their endeavors.”

After being appointed vice president of Academic Affairs during the impeachment trial last fall, Kirk is confident in his current position.

“I can say for almost a fact that I’m the best vice president of Academic Affairs [ASBSU] has ever had because the last guy stepped down,” Kirk said. 

Kirk leads senate meetings for ASBSU each week, lobbies for ASBSU at the capitol building and organizes the Golden Apple Awards for Boise State, which he will continue to do if he’s re-elected. 

“There is a lot of hard work that happens behind the scenes and that’s not really appreciated. But that’s what it takes, especially someone in my role,” Kirk said. 

Soren Witter

Soren Witter, a sophomore mechanical engineering major with a minor in computer science and applied math, has yet to serve a position at ASBSU.

Witter is focused on listening to student feedback. 

“The thing I want students to know is that if they have an issue, and I get this position, let me know if there is an issue and I can try and come up with a solution. If people have problems, just say it,” Witter said. 

Witter also wants to help improve third-party websites through the university and improve the quality of education through re-integrating in-person classes and tutoring.

Vice President of Student Organizational Affairs

Kayla Magana

[Photo of Kayla Magana]
Photo courtesy Kiara E. Badger

Kayla Magana is a junior biology major and is running for the position she held in the fall of 2020. Magana became the interim president during the spring 2021 semester after the former president was impeached and an election was held to find a replacement.

Magana is hoping to continue where she left off and make student organizations that request funds feel comfortable with the process. She wants to continue her efforts toward outreach and communication with different clubs and organizations. 

“I learned so much about myself, so much about organizations here on campus,” Magana said. “And I just love being that support system for our clubs. It was so cool to hear about what they had planned to use the funding for, and then for them to get back to us to tell us how it went… it was so much fun.”

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