Commentary Spotlight

The Jumpstart of Restart

A friendly reminder to VOTE on April 17th, 2014 for Student Senate at Ohio University and a special look at one running member full of determination:
Meet Caitlyn McDaniel
 Story by Hallie Zarbakhsh, Contributing Writer

For the first time all year, people are getting excited about student senate. No doubt there has there been an interest – Twitter feeds travel faster than light these days. But now we as a student body can come together and decide who we want to be on senate and why. Before I continue, let me start with a disclaimer. I do not believe in bashing or discrediting the character of any member of senate that is, was, or will be. Feel free to criticize actions and mistakes in office, but leave their personhood out of it. Unless you know someone aside from their voice at the podium, treat them as you would any other human being.

Caitlyn McDaniel, president of the OU Sierra Student Coalition, speaks to the student protesters. Jacob Chaffin, member of the OU Student Union, assists with the megaphone in the 10 degree weather. © 2013 Gracie Umana
Caitlyn McDaniel, president of the OU Sierra Student Coalition, speaks to the student protesters. Jacob Chaffin, member of the OU Student Union, assists with the megaphone in the 10 degree weather. © 2013 Gracie Umana

That being said, I do happen to know a candidate –Caitlyn McDaniel of the Restart Campaign– whom I am going to endorse her for her efforts and message. Sure, we are friends and I like her as a person (don’t tell her I said that), but that alone is no reason to vote for someone. I am voting for Caitlyn for the issues she stands for. According to her, the main issues for students are loans, where their money goes, minimum wage and where the bonuses for administrators are coming from.

“Couldn’t that money (bonuses) be appropriated to students that have to work to go to college?” McDaniel said in an interview. McDaniel went on to say that she is disinterested at the idea of running for senate as a resume builder. Her main prerogative is to “transform student power and the way that the student voice can be heard.” She and the rest of her ticket plan to achieve this goal by opening up senate through allowing any student to attend meetings and voice their opinions. She wants it to be “a little more like just a conversation.”

I am voting for Caitlyn to be Vice President because of her dedication to environmental issues on campus. From being the president of the Sierra Student Coalition to holding the Bobcats Beyond Gas discussion on the future of OU’s energy to taking Joe Lalley and fellow students to check out Ball State’s geothermal system, she is an eco-rockstar. As an Environmental Studies major, that is pretty important to me. But I think it is important for everyone, because we only have one planet –and campus – to live on.

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I am voting for Caitlyn because she is committed to ending sexual assault, violence, and fear on campus. Many of the people I care about are survivors, and I do not want to see one more of them be put through that in their lifetime. She was part of F*ckRapeCulture from the get-go, and stands for sexual assault and diversity training.

Her ticket is for increasing scholarships to increase diversity on campus, and need-based financial aid. Because of tuition increases, McDaniel says, “we had so many people who were in the Student Union (the birthplace of the Restart Campaign) last year who aren’t here this year.” I myself have seen several friends transfer to Hocking College because they could no longer afford tuition.

I am voting for Caitlyn because I think she has the right mixture of respect and determination to make a difference. Too much disdain turns everyone off and gets nothing done, but just enough pushes change forward. She does not see the other candidates as competition, but rather “the system that’s not working for us” as the opponent.

“A vote for Restart is essentially a vote for the student body.”

Don’t forget to check your OU Catmail tomorrow and vote for who YOU want to win. This is just my opinion – you have your own, so voice it!