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Niraj Antani and Nikki Brown plan to ‘be the voice’ for the student body

Thomas Bradley / Campus editor

Two Undergraduate Student Government candidates said they hope their voice, and the voice of the students, is heard loud and clear above the rest.

USG presidential candidate Niraj Antani, a third-year in political science and philosophy, and vice presidential candidate Nikki Brown, a third-year in political science and women studies, chose the campaign slogan “Be the voice.”

The candidates said they are aware students might be tired of people who run for office just to fill their resumes. They said the idea of showing up for two weeks of the year and then disappearing is wrong. Antani and Brown said they want to change that culture.

“You can go to past platforms, you’ll look it up, you’ll see two or three things that got done and nothing else, and that’s what we want to change,” Antani said. “We want the students to be the voice of the student government, to drive what we are doing.”

Instead of telling students what they need to do, Antani and Brown said their priority is to make sure they are listening to students.

“Students are the voice behind student government,” Antani said.

To be more engaging with their constituents, Antani and Brown want to place suggestion boxes in every building on campus. Antani said he is encouraging students to fill out the “Voice of the Buckeye” section on their website.

“We’ll say what we’ve done, whom we’ve met with, what’s the progress. If we fail, which I’m sure we will … we’ll say what we’ve failed. If we succeed, we’ll say we’ve succeeded,” Antani said. “Students can hold us accountable, that way we don’t disappear.”

Antani and Brown said they would like to set up “semester hotlines” and “walk-in advising hours” to solve students’ problems of waiting for weeks to meet with their own advisers.

The cost of hiring trained graduate students or additional advisers would come from the $250,000 USG budget.

Antani said they want to make sure they spend the USG budget money wisely to benefit students, and their policies would never be a contributing factor to any increases in student fees.

Antani and Brown said they want to expand the East Residential route of the Campus Area Bus Service hours on weekends and spend money more effectively on student escort services to improve on- and off-campus safety.

In an effort to keep students safe, Antani and Brown are pushing for joint jurisdiction in the campus area, a neighborhood watch program, self-defense classes and increased off-campus lighting.

The candidates want to work on public-private partnerships to get Ohio State students discounts on taxis, Mega Bus tickets and flight fares. They said they want to finalize contracts with multiple companies, and they expect various discounts to go into effect before Autumn Semester.

Antani and Brown said they want to negotiate with the state to make the first four days of each semester tax free for textbook purchases, which could save students up to $100 per year.

While their campaign plays on their names and its reference to pop star Nicki Minaj, Antani and Brown said they will be focused on completing their promises.

“We’ll take our platform, we’ll take the bright colors off, we’ll take the campaign logo off and we’ll put it on the USG website,” Antani said. “We’ll have a scorecard for every single platform.”

 

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