At the first official GSB Presidential Debate, the candidates’ first topic of discussion was pointing out their differences.
The top priority of the Spencer Hughes-Hillary Kletscher ticket is cutting GSB executive payments.
“One of the first things we’ll do if elected is put the money toward something else,” Hughes said.
Currently, the GSB president and finance director receive full tuition, room and board and other expenses; the GSB vice president receives half of that. Depending on the students’ residency situation, this could be up to $90,000.
Hughes expressed that this money could be better allocated.
Candidate Daniel Rediske and running mate Zachary Bauer do not necessarily agree with this.
“I would like to ensure that students have the best advocate for their experience,” Rediske said after the debate. “I know that one of the last executives would not have been able to do the work they did for students through GSB had it not been for the compensation. I don’t want the best advocate that is financially well off, I want the best advocate, hands down.”
Both of the candidates’ campaigns are project-oriented.
While explaining their Students First campaign, Hughes discussed the creation of a bike-share program on campus and the use of Dining Dollars at off-campus restaurants.
Rediske discussed the “P” of the Rediske-Bauer “CPR” campaign.
“Projects are what you’re going to hear about primarily during campaigns,” Rediske said. “Pursuing free textbooks for general education courses and investigating the use of mass email lists by Ames businesses are a priority.”
Neither of the candidates are opposed to the other’s proposed projects. Their priorities are what differs.
Both candidates are in favor for the use of Dining Dollars off-campus, and both said that they would not move forward with the project if students had to pay more or if it took away from their ISU experience.
Each candidate was asked what their single largest contribution was to Iowa State.
“My investment of time when it comes to new students,” Rediske said. “My time as Cyclone Aide and as a Student Admissions Representative to help smooth new students’ transition to becoming a Cyclone. I loved showing prospective students my love for Iowa State.”
Hughes had a different experience.
“Bringing in new students is a phenomenal experience,” Hughes said. “My time in GSB has been a great way to be involved and be helpful in any way I can. I served on a committee for Dance Marathon this year and what we accomplished together as a community is an unforgettable experience.”
The candidates were asked how they would make the GSB president more visible to the student body and student organizations.
“Connecting with the student body is the most important thing to our campaign,” Hughes said. “Students are present online; we’re gonna bring it to Facebook and we’re gonna bring it to Twitter.”
Hughes explained the different perspectives he and Kletscher have from being involved in so many different student organizations.
“Hillary and I have a really unique perspective,” Hughes said. “We know people in different areas; we have different connections.”
In regard to being more visible to student organizations, Hughes wants to bring back a meeting the GSB president held two years ago with the presidents of all the GSB constituency councils.
“[The former GSB president] had a bi-weekly meeting with the president of every constituency council,” Hughes said. “He called it the 'Justice League.' I think it sounds pretty cool. It's all about one-on-one interactions, that’s what connection really means.”
Rediske agreed that a lot needed to be done to make the GSB president more visible, but also GSB as a whole.
“The goal is not to make myself more present, but the whole organization,” Rediske said. “GSB makes partnerships with organizations all over campus. They really need to establish those connections — that we’re making sure we’re communicating, not only saying ‘Hey, we can fund that,’ but also providing student organizations ideas for improvement.”
The candidates agreed that the biggest concerns ISU students face today are the cost of attending the university and the debt most students are graduating with.
Hughes discussed working with Iowa legislature and the Iowa Board of Regents.
“The Iowa legislature does not want to give the same amount of money that Iowa State wants,” Hughes said. “We could set up a station of computers in the MU where students could send a quick email to their hometown legislature.”
Rediske also mentioned the GSB-funded financial counseling Iowa State provides to students.
“Aside from doing all of those things, I would really like to utilize GSB to communicate what resources are available for students’ use,” Rediske said. “GSB is funding salaries for people to be resources for students to understand finances.”
In reference to lowering tuition, Rediske did not want students to get less out of the experience of being an ISU student.
“It really is all about the appropriation,” Rediske said. “When you take away money from tuition, you could be sacrificing the student experience.”
The candidates also agreed that GSB needs to be more transparent to students, and that the students need to know how GSB is spending their student fee money.
“Many students don’t know what’s going on in GSB currently,” Bauer said. “We need to make sure the senators are knowledgeable.”
Rediske expressed the need for more than just “holding up a sign” in an online format.
“I don’t think that going online will just solve our problem,” Rediske said. “We need to make sure that our resources are online, but really, people connections are going to be much stronger.”
Rediske reminded students that GSB is involved in many things that impact all students.
“GSB has its hands in a lot of things at Iowa State,” Rediske said. “We need to make sure that GSB students are helping students have a better experience."
Hughes, who is the current GSB director of student affairs, recently revamped Iowa State's GSB Twitter account.
“GSB had a dormant Twitter account. I took it over last year and now we’re at 500-plus followers,” Hughes said. “Connecting with students is something we could certainly do a much better job of.“
In the candidates' closing statements, each candidate briefly restated their main priorities.
“We agree on a lot of things, especially that issues cannot be taken in a way that moves students backwards,” Rediske said.
The candidates each have Facebook pages and campaign websites for students to learn more about their platforms, as well as more about each candidate and their running mate.
The final debate will be held at 6 p.m. on March 7 in the Cardinal Room of the Memorial Union.
Students can email questions they want the candidates to be asked at the debate to Adam Guenther, GSB election commissioner, at email@example.com.
Voting for GSB president and vice president will be on March 11 and 12.