Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidate Gerard Basalla and vice presidential candidate Danielle Di Scala are looking to become the 2016-2017 USG leaders. They are the second duo to run unopposed in modern USG history.
Basalla, a third-year in political science and strategic communication from Cleveland, and Di Scala, a third-year in political science from Aliso Viejo, California, have released a 77-page platform that focuses largely on increasing affordability at Ohio State.
“Affordability is one of the biggest parts that I care about,” Basalla said. “I pay for college myself, so for me, I believe fundamentally that every student should be able to go here and they shouldn’t be worrying about money.”
Basalla added he plans to review tuition allocation in an effort to increase transparency.
“Things like dining or STEP are very large things, but then you look at course fees, you have people in physics paying $300 for course fees and we don’t even know where that goes. We’ve frozen in-state tuition but out-of-state students are really facing a gigantic burden, and we have to make sure that they’re given scholarship opportunities. All those things together and many other things fit under affordability, which is going to be a top priority for me,” Basalla said.
Di Scala added that another goal is to work more directly with students and increase the amount of face-to-face interaction.
“I think it’s really important to educate our student body because a lot of people don’t know exactly what USG does and that’s a problem,” Di Scala said. “Increasing that transparency and going to our constituents instead of waiting for them to come to us is something we plan to do. I think that outreach is a huge thing that I would like to work on and change the way we interact with students on campus.”
Both Basalla and Di Scala have held positions within USG. Basalla is currently the deputy chief of staff. He is also a member of OUAB, an employee at the RPAC in member services and the PR chair of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.
Basalla’s fraternity brother, Braden Heyd, a third-year in film studies and finance, said Basalla’s passion for the university is “unparalleled.”
“He leads by example, is an excellent listener, intuitive learner and motivates others to succeed. His experience both within and outside of USG makes him the most ideal candidate to serve as the president of Undergraduate Student Government here at Ohio State. I couldn’t imagine anyone better suited for the role,” he said.
Di Scala is currently the senior counselor to the USG vice president. She is also a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
Di Scala’s sorority sister, Lynn Valentine, a third-year in food business management, described her as one of the most passionate people she knows.
“She gives her all in whatever she does and that especially applies to the positions she has held within USG and the position of USG VP that she is running for. Danielle (Di Scala) strives to bring new ideas to the table, works to include everyone’s thoughts and opinions and wants the student body as a whole to feel that they have a voice in USG and in the decisions they make,” she said.
Although Basalla and Di Scala are currently working on their campaign, Basalla says that does not mean their current roles are put on hold.
“My job as deputy chief of staff is even more important than campaigning because our job is to work for the students today. We are doing a ton of things now for USG and that doesn’t stop during these two weeks,” Basalla said.
Campaigning began on Feb. 24 and runs through voting, which takes place March 7-9.
Although Basalla and Di Scala are the only two who will appear on the ballot for president and vice president, it does not mean other candidates are not running. Other candidates can run for president and vice president as a write-in, where their names will not appear on the ballot but can be written in by voters. Write-ins must comply with the same bylaws as candidates on the ballot.
Students Cin’Quan Haney, a third-year in physics, and Curtis Henry, a third-year in sports industry, are running for president and vice president of USG with their campaign, “Write In Haney Henry”.
Basalla said he supports the opportunity for write-ins.
“We encourage dialogue and collaboration because it’s all about making the student experience better,” Basalla said. “Hopefully, we’re that choice, but any team is more than encouraged, and I can’t wait to talk, have conversations and make USG grow into something that’s a lot better than today.”