Categorized | Editorials, Opinion

ENDORSEMENT: Calandriello and Kamm bring MUSG specificity of vision and record of accomplishment

Posted on 21 March 2006 by Warrior Staff

The Warrior takes seriously its role as a body of responsible citizens in the Marquette community. Our staff works hard and without pay because we believe that students need and deserve an independent voice – a newspaper that will advocate for and inform you of the critical issues on campus.

That is why we have decided to make an endorsement in this race for Marquette University Student Government President and Executive Vice President. The positions have as much power and influence as the people who hold them are committed to exercising. When dedicated to reform, openness and advocacy, our MUSG leaders can make this campus a markedly better place.

We are disappointed at the dearth of information circulating about this race. Therefore, we interviewed each ticket to review their platforms and records, and in doing so came to this conclusion: Dan Callandriello and Kristen Kamm will best serve the Marquette student body as MUSG’s executive officers.

Both tickets campaign on comparable platforms, particularly on the issues important to the staff of this paper, namely greater student involvement in MUSG and university governance. Given this similarity, we turned to each candidate’s record, and Calandriello’s years as a leader in MUSG and his extensive record of accomplishments convince us he has the skills and determination to bring about necessary change.

As we say, both campaigns are running on similar ideas, and we commend them for their common call to widen the circle of involvement in MUSG and university governance, particularly their shared commitment to adding a student to the Board of Trustees.
Jamie Wu first used the phrase “popping the bubble‚” in the debates, while Calandriello has called for an “outreach offensive.” Both have the same praiseworthy goal in mind: they want to create a greater, more noticeable presence in the student body. We expect a year from now that most students could name their student body president; we highly doubt that could happen now.

Both platforms also offer unique features that deserve comment. We agree with Wu and Anna Titulear that adding a greater fine arts presence to campus would enhance the education we all receive. After all, as students of the liberal arts we are here to pursue the true, the good and the beautiful – and we need more beauty on campus, in the form of concerts, plays, and art. We also appreciate Wu and Titulear’s common-sense proposal to add a double-sided printing option to PrintWise.

We must sound one note of caution concerning the way Wu and Titulear propose to spend the MUSG reserve (i.e., slush) fund. Wu and Titulear want to take some of the reserve fund money and give it to student organizations. That’s all well and good the first year, but what happens two or three years hence when the reserve fund well has been tapped dry? Student organizations will have come to rely on those funds for their programming, and when the fund is out we fear a large student activity fee hike to replace the lost revenue.

Certain aspects of Dan and Kristen’s platform are also appealing. We are particularly interested in their proposal to increase student safety in the surrounding neighborhood by creating a committee of police professionals to give an outsider audit of campus safety. We believe that a second, skeptical look at things can often be beneficial (heck, that’s why The Warrior exists), and getting more professionals involved will hopefully result in further action, such as putting up new blue lights based on changing student traffic patterns, etc.

We are especially impressed with Calandriello’s commitment to transparency in MUSG. He not only talks the talk on this one, he is willing to walk the walk by promising a weekly statement of operations that details how he spends his time and our money. We also appreciate Calandriello’s commitment to constituent service. When he spoke with our Editorial Board, he proposed the student advocate position be transformed to a role more focused on constituent services and follow-through on student suggestions.

All that said, “The Dan Difference,” if you will, is his past record of substantial accomplishments in MUSG. As a freshman senator from O’Donnell Hall, he helped the campaign to expand student seating in the Bradley Center for basketball games. During his sophomore term, now representing the College of Business Administration, he sponsored successful legislation to create a system of direct deposit for student employees.

And this last year, Calandriello has been the primary proponent of the Norris Park Project. We admit some skepticism that Norris Park is too far off-campus, in a bad neighborhood and in general students will not use it no matter how nicely it is renovated. But Calandriello convinced us that students, particularly club sport participants, are crying out for more green space. Norris Park, once completely redone, will offer student athletes the on-campus practice facilities they so desperately need. It is an investment worth making.

By contrast, while Wu has served in MUSG just as many years as Calandriello, a litany of committee assignments does not equal a record of concrete accomplishments. Attending lots of committee meetings may seem important, but in the end it is action and change that counts, and we cannot find nearly as many instances of Wu bringing about change.

Moreover, just as Calandriello has a positive record of substantial achievements in his past, he offers the specificity of vision moving forward that convinces us he can bring his platform to fruition. For instance, he has committed to individually contacting every member of the Board of Trustees to lobby for a student voice on Marquette’s governing body. Some say that is an overwhelming undertaking. Calandriello looks forward to it with enthusiasm, drawn from a steady conviction that this is what his constituents want.

In the end, we are convinced that by this time next year, things will be noticeably different, and better, for the student population if Dan Calandriello and Kristen Kamm are elected MUSG president Wednesday.

The Editorial Board is comprised of the following members of The Warrior: Diana Sroka, Brandon Henak, Charles Rickert, Monica Charleston, Daniel Suhr and Allison Herre.

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