Abdourahamane Diallo’s party, #Change, takes a unique approach to campaigning.
Instead of vying for the students’ attention on the second floor lobby, he prefers to spend at least three minutes simply talking to each student and asking them what they like and dislike about Baruch. That way, he thinks he will be able to reach the 90 percent of students who are not as involved in student life and did not vote in last year’s election.
He believes that this strategy will help him understand what students really want from their Undergraduate Student Government.
“We are the student body. If you look at the definition of the student government we are the student body; we represent the voice of the students here,” Diallo said in an interview. “As the student government you don’t want the student to come to you. You have to go up to students.”
Diallo is an international student from Guinea who joined Baruch during the Summer 2015 semester, when he began taking his classes toward a finance major and a double minor in mathematics and communication studies. Since then, he has been involved in several clubs, including Le Club Francais and Toastmasters International. He also founded the Guinean Student Association.
Outside of Baruch, Diallo interned with BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
He explained that he decided to run individually because he wanted his party to have uniformity of ideas. If more people joined, it may scramble his intended message.
One of Diallo’s main campaign goals is to provide students more opportunities to improve professionally, whether through clubs and organizations or the services provided at Baruch, like Starr Career Development Center or the Student Academic Consulting Center. He wants to accomplish this by using his experience from the other clubs he was a part of.
“At the end of the day, we come to school to get a job,” Diallo said. “While doing all these event planning, we want to make sure we keep the main focus with how students can get a job, you know?”
One of his main ideas is to use a portion of the student activity fees to hire more student tutors to work at SACC and more professionals for the Writing Center.
Traditionally, however, student activity fees do not pay for tutors who provide those services.
Diallo highlighted that it can take two weeks to get an appointment with the Writing Center. At that point, the appointment may be past the assignment’s due date, so the student may not be able to get their essay workshopped.
Thus, he thinks that contributing more money to hire tutors would help decrease the lines and make these entities more readily available for students. This, in turn, would boost students’ grades and make them more competitive when applying for internships and jobs.
Additionally, his main critique for SACC was that there is a shortage of tutors resulting in tutors having to take on two or three students at once. This creates a problem, as some students may not raise questions in class because they feel intimidated. They go to tutoring to get the one-on-one experience, so not getting it may stop some people from asking questions.
He compares the situation at Baruch to his previous experience at John Jay, where students could walk in and meet with a tutor on the spot.
“If you want to have a tutoring appointment, you have to go online and book an appointment and then sometimes next two week is not available—everything’s taken. You have to wait. And then they’ll only give you [a] maximum [of] three times a week. And that’s bad. You should not limit the students to get help, right?” Diallo said.
As for SCDC, Diallo said that the resumes that the center uses are fairly outdated, which makes Baruch students lose their competitive edge. He thinks that SCDC should update its resume format on a more regular basis so that students applying for internships and jobs are presented in a more positive light.
For USG specifically, Diallo wants to emphasize the idea that the student government should advocate for students and reach out to them more often so that they can better understand the students’ needs.
Because Baruch students are often busy with jobs and internships, it is often hard for students to get involved in student life. As such, USG has to do a better job reaching out to the everyday students.
In addition, he proposed bringing back the open door policy within USG so that students have better access to their elected representatives.
“It hurts me when I see we can do better and we don’t,” Diallo said. “If everyone helped everyone, we can all succeed.”
On Thursday, April 20, “The Ticker” held a debate for each party’s presidential candidate, but Diallo did not attend.
When asked about the future of his campaign, Diallo insisted on keeping an individual approach for reaching out to students, although he said that he might print flyers to better advertise himself.