Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidate Michelle Bennett and vice-presidential candidate Noel Fisher have worked together and been friends since their first year at OSU, and they plan to emphasize experience as an integral part of their leadership strategy.
“The biggest advantage we have is experience,” Bennett said.
“Understanding the inner-workings of the university and being involved with University Senate as Noel has been for a few years now makes a difference in how we handle working with the administration, faculty, students and organizations.”
Bennett, a third-year in public affairs, has held several positions at USG and is currently the chief of staff. Bennett, who hails from Cambridge, Ohio, serves as the chair for the Council on Student Affairs and is a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, Alpha Omicron chapter.
“We are very excited to be running and we have a great picture for what the organization and university could look like,” Bennett said. “Our vision and policies are very thorough and we are confident that they are going to better the university.”
Fisher, a third-year in geography and political science from Lawrence, Kan., is an off-campus senator and member of the health and safety committee at USG. He has sat on the Council of Student Affairs the last two years and is actively involved in the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, Omicron Deutron chapter.
“Michelle and I are involved in very different areas of USG,” Fisher said. “Michelle is the chief of staff and deals a lot with senior staff. My role in the senate is a separate branch entirely, where I deal a lot with the legislative aspects. We’ve made a lot of great pushes and strides in the senate this past year and we just need to continue working and pressing forward.”
A major issue that Bennett and Fisher think needs to be addressed by the university is affordability.
“Something that is really important to me is affordability of education at OSU,” Bennett said. “Part of our plan is to take a more holistic approach to lower the cost. We would like to do that by looking at specific fees students are charged. Looking closely at these fees to ensure they are benefiting students is important.”
Fisher’s focus on affordability is to ensure that OSU remains affordable not only for Ohio residents, but everyone globally.
“I am an out-of-state student, so I know about all of the extra costs there,” Fisher said. “The last few years, Ohio residents have been lucky to have a tuition cap, however out-of-state and international students are kind of shouldering the brunt of that. Our tuition keeps rising and we want to work hard at getting caps for that as well.”
Also high on Bennett and Fisher’s priority list if elected is safety. They specifically plan to target the long wait times for rides from Student Safety Service.
“We want to create an Uber-model ride-share program so that students are hired, we have more drivers, and after a background check, (they) can use their own cars,” Fisher said. “We want people to just be able to open an app, ask for a driver and have someone contact you within five minutes.”
With so many goals, Bennett and Fisher said they cannot do it alone.
“We have a wonderful team backing us, and we wouldn’t be able to do half of what we’re doing without them,” Bennett said. “Everyone on our slate has a very unique experience here at OSU and I think they will be a voice for all students.”
Knowing the issues and knowing what they are voting for is crucial for voters, Fisher said.
“We encourage everyone to go and research the actual issues before voting,” Fisher said. “We really want students to know what they are voting for first and foremost.”
There is one other campaign team running in this year’s USG election: Abby Grossman is running for president with Abby Waidelich, who is running for vice president.
USG voting will begin at noon on Monday and conclude at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. The ballot will be available at usg.osu.edu.