April 19, 2011

SG election 2011: LIVEChicago

The candidates of LIVEChicago are asking students to think of Student Government (SG) as the launching board for their ideas, both big and small.

Led by third-year Youssef Kalad, the slate is proposing new social media initiatives, like streaming SG forums live through Facebook, to reach the student body in addition to increased funding and mentorship to student entrepreneurs.

Kalad was joined by first-year Forrest Scofield after serving together on College Council this year. But the pair looked outside SG for the slate’s third member. “Once you’re on Student Government for a year, your view of the University changes,” Scofield said.

According to Kalad and Scofield, second-year Meher Kairon brings a new, RSO-centric focus. Kairon has worked with University of Chicago Model United Nations (ChoMUN), Model United Nations of the University of Chicago (MUNUC), and Global Brigades.

“I don’t think we’re shy about complaining at this University,” Kalad said, but added that he has been taken aback by student interest while campaigning, even being approached at Psi Upsilon Fraternity this Saturday night.

Building off of the past year, Kairon would head a restaurant crawl, modeled after the SG-sponsored pub crawl as a low-cost event for students of any age at the University. Kalad would expand uBazaar, a SG–run website which sells RSO tickets and products online.

According to Scofield, the Uncommon Fund could also expand to over $150,000 next year with additional proposed funding from Administration, student life fees, and a partnership with Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).

But as the trio set an agenda, discussions with the current slate prompted them to consider the limitations of SG. LIVEChicago identified an overambitious agenda with intangible goals as one of the problems the current slate faced, listing the stalled SG-sponsored van program as an example.

“We want to go for small, practical reforms that yield tangible results in the University,” Kairon said. “Get the low-hanging fruit first.”

Just as the slate is hoping students look to SG as a resource for big ideas, the three candidates view SG as the foundation for their own projects. “Student Government isn’t a job,” Scofield said. “We have these passions, and we feel like Student Government can help us realize them.”

Five Proposals:

1. uBazaar: Expand by having Doc Films passes and Summer Breeze tickets sold on the site by the end of the quarter.

2. Restaurant Crawl: Rent buses and take students to various discounted Chicago restaurants to give a cultural experience.

3. Uncommon Fund: Revamp into a year-long incubator for student ideas and entrepreneurship while tripling funding.

4. SGFC: Streamline and automate the application and review process for the Student Government Finance Committee.

5. Registration: Create single interface with a calendar, course and book listings.