Aftab Pureval and Deb Mason are no strangers to the responsibilities of the Undergraduate Student Government. After three years of involvement, they are looking to take their leadership skills to the next level as executive officers.
“I believe the strongest quality (Aftab and Deb) have is their extensive involvement with USG,” said Kay Robinson, coordinator of Student Involvement and Leadership at Ohio State.
From Beaver Creek, Ohio, Pureval began his OSU experience by helping freshmen move into the residence halls through the Orientation Welcome Leader program. Through his years at OSU, he served as a USG intern and a resident advisor of Smith Hall. He now serves as USG’s co-chief of staff.
Mason’s involvement in student government began in high school, where she was president of her school’s student council. As student council president, she attended many retreats with the Ohio Association of Student Councils, as well as the National Association of Student Councils.
Like Pureval, she was a USG intern her freshman year at OSU and her involvement with USG stemmed from that experience.
Living on west campus, Pureval and Mason got to know one another while walking from their residence halls to USG activities.
Pureval said his desire to become USG president began last year.
“Last year, during the Walk Against Rape, I was moved by the community outpouring. I see USG as a way to facilitate passion and help students to change the university,” Pureval said.
Mason said the difference between their team and the other candidates is their mission to empower students to make the changes on campus.
They see the failure of past USG administrations as mainly a lack of communication and plan on empowering students through engaging them in challenging debate.
“We want to inspire students to believe that they do have a voice and can be the change,” Pureval said.
Pureval and Mason have already developed action plans for issues they believe to be pressing.
“The University District won’t be safe until it is a neighborhood,” Pureval said. “We have plans to complete the USG initiative and install a police sub-station at 15th Street and High Street as well as a ‘Leave your light on’ initiative to help make the neighborhood well lit and inviting.”
Robinson said the best example of Pureval’s dedication to the students was his experience with BuckeyeThon 2004.
“He and the other co-director, Stephanie, worked tirelessly and passionately on behalf of this event. They really took it to the next level by working with the steering committee to spread the word on the event and add new things like the faculty/staff benefit dinner,” Robinson said. “Not only was he passionate last year about BuckeyeThon, but he wants to continue to work with the new co-directors to make 2005 even better.”
Pureval and Mason believe through their experiences with USG in the past three years, they have the power to make the corrections they feel need to be made.
“We understand USG’s faults, and we are bringing a new vision of engagement and empowerment,” Mason said. “‘Be The Change’ has nothing to do with us; it is about students creating change.”
No matter the outcome of the election, Pureval and Mason see all of the candidates working together as important student leaders.
“We hope everyone will be working together. This is a campaign of ideas and it is bigger than personal rivalries – it is about changing the campus,” Pureval said.