USG campaign season begins for Project Now

The candidates for the Spring 2018 Baruch College Undergraduate Student Government elections were officially approved to campaign following a meeting on campaign ethics held on March 22. While past elections have featured members of multiple parties running against one another for positions on the USG executive board, this year’s election will feature just one major party: Project Now. The party will be led by current sophomore Radhika Kalani, junior Emma Jorgensen, junior Raul Cruz and junior Andrea Soto, who are running for president, executive vice president, treasurer and secretary of USG, respectively.

Kalani, Jorgensen, Cruz and Soto have considerable leadership experience at Baruch. Kalani is a member of USG’s Student Programming Board and vice president of The FemCode at Baruch. Jorgensen is currently a representative senator and serves as chair of Appeals.

Cruz is a member of the Legislative Affairs committee, to which he was introduced by current vice president of Legislative Affairs Daniel Morote, while Soto sits on the board of directors.

The members of Project Now did not reveal their entire platform in their interviews with The Ticker, wanting to wait until it was concrete.

However, they each said their reasons for running have revolved around the same goals: helping students and clubs at Baruch by providing them with adequate resources to thrive, as well as making USG more welcoming to students who may not know where to get started in Baruch.

“I think USG is a great sort of environment to be in,” Soto said. “I want USG to be even more welcoming and even more open for students because it is a scary experience coming in as a new student, or even if you’re not a new student, just new to club life organizations. It’s always nice to have a nice environment.”

“It’s been my home since [freshman year],” Kalani said, “and I want people to also find their home at Baruch. I want to make more people involved and get rid of that whole commuter college concept.”

Project Now is still, to this point, a project, said Kalani and Soto. The name and mission of the party, however, are meant to be symbolic of that. Project Now is rooted in the concept of making changes as soon as possible.

Breaking from recent party-naming conventions, such as last year’s “Rise Baruch” and “Baruch Believes” the year prior, the party dropped “Baruch” from its name. This was to show that they are committed to change and not just, according to Soto, “another political party affiliated to Baruch student government.”

“We’re a work in progress but we also want to make changes happen now,” Kalani said.

The four have already proposed numerous changes they would make and goals they have set for themselves and USG as a whole.

Kalani wishes to create a lasting college culture. The data analytics major also wishes to revamp the USG website, making it a student resource hub with helpful links to websites and programs students may wish to access. She also hopes to host more town halls and run fundraising events, taking philanthropic inspiration from the dance-a-thon fundraisers she watched as a child.

Jorgensen hopes to increase the roles of board members and committee members in USG. She feels that after people are elected to positions on USG’s boards for student programming, athletics, communications and others, they “just disappear.”

She also cited her own experience as a board member, noting that she still felt like it was difficult to make a difference in USG. One of her main goals is to check up on the board members, creating group chats and establishing a stronger connection between the executive board and board members. She believes the incredibly vocal role of USG’s vice president would put her in a perfect position to achieve these goals.

Soto wishes to increase USG student involvement and eliminate the fear a student may have of approaching USG. She also hopes to make USG an open space for students and bridge the faculty-student gap.

Cruz hopes that in his role as treasurer, he will help Baruch students through their clubs, making sure their budgets are managed, club money is used correctly and fraud is eliminated.

To achieve this goal, he proposed the idea of creating a treasurer’s committee, including members who may be interested in helping him and USG with finances and in providing oversight on budget management.

While they set all these goals for themselves, the members of Project Now will not make any promises they cannot keep. They hope to spread more concrete information about themselves and their mission when they begin their campaign.

The USG elections will take place from April 24 to April 26. A debate, moderated by Victoria Merlino, news editor of The Ticker, will take place on April 19.