For the second consecutive academic year, the majority of candidates for the Baruch College Undergraduate Student Government Election are running unopposed.
Daniel Dornbaum, who is running for the position of USG president with the party Baruch Believes, is contested by Jibreel Jalloh who is running for president individually.
The final deadline for filing declaration of candidacy forms and nominating petition forms with the Office of Student Life was on March 14. Following that deadline, candidates attended a mandatory workshop with Student Life and the Student Election Review Committee to discuss this semester’s election procedures and guidelines.
To run for certain positions, candidates had to meet certain requirements including GPA, academic registration prerequisites and disciplinary checks. The candidates also had to submit platform statements and pictures along with their forms submitted to SERC. Dornbaum, a junior and Ryan Powers, a sophomore and the vice presidential candidate for the Baruch Believes party, have been a part of USG since their freshman years at Baruch.
“My freshman year here, I got involved with the student services committee,” he said. From there, Dornbaum was appointed to the health advisory board, ran for senate and became a representative senator and ran for vice presidential senator of legislative affairs which is his current position.
Powers joined USG his freshman year through way of the student services committee. From there, he was elected a representative senator and currently holds a position in the faculty/student disciplinary committee.
“I wanted to run for executive vice president to play a larger, internal role in the team,” explained Powers. “I feel that I’m a good team builder and I’m working with a really motivated group of people.”
As part of their platform, Powers said they wanted to reach out to the Baruch community and get them inspired to come together and work on different things.
“One of the major points on our platform is reach, just the word, to get out there, communicate with students, make new connections beyond that we already have. Most of the people we know are generally club life because those are the first students to get involved on campus, they’re already out there. We have to get down to the second floor, or wherever, tabling not only [during] club hours but odd hours of the day to cater to every Baruch student.”
Dornbaum adds that Baruch Believes will also focus on transitioning clubs over to the new Baruch club and organization tool titled MyBaruch hosted on the server Orgsync.
“There will be a big transition this year onto Orgsync, onto the server of Orgsync and it’s very important as USG that we help facilitate that transfer for clubs. One thing that we were talking about was forming that transition team in conjunction with inter-club affairs to allow us to really, easily, have clubs transfer over to this new platform because it’s here to stay and we want them to succeed in using it,” explained Dornbaum.
Along with those platform ideas, if elected, Baruch Believes plans to better utilize the “untapped resource” of board and committee members as well as reaching out and connecting with Baruch student media organizations.
“I currently hold a board position in USG and being that they are members of the undergraduate student government, even though we only sit on certain committees or boards what have you, we can still be more involved with the team then the current USG is operating,” said Powers.
“I think that is we find a better way to utilize, not our connections with WBMB and The Ticker … I think that it’s very important to continue to use these resources to us,” added Dornbaum.
Jalloh, who is running for USG president individually, has been involved with student clubs and organizations at Baruch since he was freshman.
“I was vice president of [the] Black Student Union. I actually have a long running with BSU. First I was the membership development individual then my junior year, I served as the treasurer and then senior year coming in, I ran for (president) but I lost … and I became [vice president].” Jalloh also revamped the SEEK Society in 2014 after being inactive for a year and was also a part of the Urban Male Leadership Academy.
This semester, Jalloh is participating in a five-month program with the New York State Assembly in Albany, working under Assemblyman Charles Barron. “I act as the ‘make-shift’ legislative director … What I really enjoy is speaking with [the] constituency, that’s hands down the best part and seeing fellow students come in from Hunter and John Jay and even Baruch. A couple of weeks ago I even saw our USG come up for the [New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators] caucus. That was really cool. So that’s the best part, meeting and conversing with other legislators along with the constituency.”
Jalloh says his candidacy for USG president, “was kind of a spur of the moment kind of thing. Number one, when it first came to mind, I just thought that ‘hey, I can actually win.’
I believe I’m very confident in my abilities to run an administration. I read the [USG] Constitution and I saw one of the things that the president does is that they speak on behalf of the students to the college administration and I’m someone, if I’m speaking on something I’m very passionate about, I can be very persuasive to put it lightly,” said Jalloh.
“It’s nothing that really jumped out at me but one day I woke up and I said ‘why not run for USG?’ I’m here in Albany, I’ve been in the mayor’s office. I’ve seen how a real government works, why not take a shot at student government?”Jalloh continued.
One of the points Jalloh wants to make while campaigning is to increase the undergraduate student voter turnout rate.
“I’m not very big on being a politician and providing big buzzwords but when I got into the room and I seen that there was one team and I read that last year, they ran unopposed. I realized that one thing I’m really trying to push now is to try and bring up the voting turnout.”
Another push for Jalloh is togetherness. “Being at one of the most diverse colleges, I think that there is more competition than collaboration. So one of my big things is trying to bring together people of different clubs, different ethnicities, different backgrounds, different work classes,” said Jalloh.
Jalloh says he aims to push for togetherness specifically between clubs and organizations. “I think one thing we can do is help facilitate ideas and bring clubs together. Like ‘hey, this club over here is also throwing a dinner, did you ever think about collaborating?’ Or, ‘this club just appealed for a conference to this institution, maybe your club may be interested and you can combine funds.’ So I believe once I’m elected I will have a clear view of how to do it but I would say, it shouldn’t be that difficult of a task to bring clubs together.”
A few changes are being made for the 2016-17 USG elections. USG President Annie Sourbis stated that electronic voting machines will be brought to Baruch during elections.
Another change to election season is the available times students can vote. “One other thing, if you may have noticed, the hours and days of election days have changed,” explained Sourbis.
“Now there’s a Saturday nine to five and then Tuesday through Thursday, which we’ve always had, but now it’s nine a.m. to nine p.m. where it use to be 12 p.m. to nine p.m. Dan [Dornbaum] and I worked on a proposal to change that. So that’s one thing we got to change and we’re very excited about that because we have weekend students and morning students and night students and we need to represent them better.”
The last change to the USG election is the way the USG Constitution referendum process works. “So right now, I’ve been in works with a company, SeamlessDocs, and they basically can do the referendum electronically. And so it’ll all be there. It’s more secure, you can do it on your tablet or on your phone, it follows all federal laws and I’m just waiting to present that last part to SERC and if they approve it.”
The 2016 USG Elections will be held on April 9 and from April 12 to April 14.