ASI candidates split into shared platforms: Students turn to social media for campaigning


Sam Underwood

Photo illustration by Sam Underwood

Damián Lopez, Podcast Editor

The primaries just ended, but it’s a year of elections, and at CSUB, the voting window for ASI elections is around the corner. ASI Executive Director, Ilaria Pesco, released the list of candidates along with their social media handles on March 23, which gave the 27 candidates a little over a week to campaign before the April 1 and 2 voting days. 

Eight of the candidates are running unopposed. The other 19 candidates are campaigning for contested positions, which is a challenge during a pandemic where face-to-face interaction is restricted. 

“Everything has to be online – through social media. So, it is a little bit more difficult. You know, publicizing for themselves if they don’t really have strong social media presence. So, I really think there’s some students who are at a disadvantage,” said Aaron Wan, current president of ASI. 

According to the Pew Research Center, 76 percent of Americans age 18 to 24 say they use Instagram, which is the age range of most college students, so Instagram is where candidates are campaigning for the election. 

“Surprisingly this year, the social media presence for the elections has never been better than I’ve seen…creating their own platforms, their teams, and really trying to reach out to students,” said Wan. 

Candidates formed three teams to run together for different positions: CSUB Directors Campaign, You Matter, and Rising Runner. 

All members of Rising Runner are running for positions on the executive board. According to their Instagram account @csub_rising, the group of candidates are “devoted to accountability, opportunities, and accessibility.”  

Presidential candidate Vanessa Chicaiza is a senior majoring in public policy and administration who plans on entering the CSUB’s MPA program for fall 2020. Currently, Chicaiza serves as ASI’s Director of Transfer Students, and is a Maddy Institute legislative intern. 

Rising Runners 

  • President, Vanessa Chicaiza 
  • Executive V.P., Stephanie Magana (Unopposed) 
  • V.P. of Campus Life, Nadia Mendoza (Unopposed) 
  • V.P. of Legislative Affairs, Krystal Raynes 
  • V.P. of University Affairs, Maria Espinoza 

The You Matter campaign team consists of candidates running for both executive and director positions. The campaign team did not have a social media platform, but individual candidates were promoting their campaign on their own accounts. 

Dubrea Sanders of the You Matter campaign is a political science major who has served on the Student Union board of directors for the last two years, and also interned at the Panetta Institute for Public Policy. 

You Matter 

  • President, Dubrea Sanders 
  • V.P. of Finance, Frankie De La Pena (Unopposed) 
  • V.P. of Legislative Affairs, Erick Mejia 
  • V.P. of University Affairs, Daniel Tapia 
  • Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Desiree Lorelli 
  • Director of Student Support, Caitlin Livingston 

CSUB Directors campaign consists of candidates Anaiah Alfred, who is running for Director of Social Media and Marketing, and Citlalli Guadarrama who is running for Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Information about their campaign is available on their joint Instagram account @csub_directors_campaign. 

The positions of Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and Director of Social Media and Marketing are the two most sought-after positions.  

Desiree Lorelli, the incumbent in the race for Director of Diversity and Inclusion, was voted in unopposed in February after the previous director vacated the seat. Now Lorelli is running against not only Guadarrama, but also candidates Hudo Huizaibi and Alexia Zuniga. 

Anaiah Alfred from CSUB Directors Campaign is running against Heidy Casillas and Amaya Lawton. All three are running independently and promoting their campaigns on their own social media platforms for the position of Director of Social Media and Marketing.  

Other director positions in contention are Director of Arts and Humanities and Director of Social Sciences and Education, each having two candidates in the running. 

For arts and humanities, Carlos Hernandez, communications major with an emphasis in journalism, is running against digital media and studio art double major Alexandra, or Allie, Page. 

The battle for Director of Social Sciences and Education is between criminal justice major Myles Howard and political science/pre-law major Geena Olague. 

Those who are running unopposed may not experience as much difficulty campaigning as those running in contended positions. Skills in social media networking are paramount in a time when face-to-face campaigning is restricted.  

Madison Herron, a psychology major at CSUB, said she had no idea who the candidates were and would have to look them up.  

 “Sometimes it’s easier to make the right impression in person,” said Herron. “Some people might be able to reach a wider variety of people on social media though.”  

Candidates who are running unopposed and independently are: 

  • Director of Outreach, Anthony Quintino 
  • Director of Athletics, Tiffany Iniguez 
  • Director of Budget Management, Kevin Izquierdo 
  • Director of Business and Public Administration, Serenity Sanchez 
  • Director of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering, Parmbir Sidhu 

According to Executive Director Pesco, ballots will go out via email on Wednesday, April 1 at 8 a.m. from the email address [email protected]. The ballots will have statements from the candidates, along with videos for voters to go through before they make a choice. Polls for the election close on Thursday, April 2 at 11:59 p.m. 

For more information, listen to The Runner on Air’s special ASI podcast, and look to The Runner Online for the latest updates on ASI elections.