Candidates charge toward HUSC presidency

A look at the HUSC President and Vice President candidates for 2019-2020.

HUSC candidates include from left Dieu Do, Andrew Weston, Abdi Badri and Maryan Hersi.

Kat McCullum, Senior Reporter

Andrew P Weston and Dieu Do

Kat McCullum
Andrew P Weston and Dieu Do posing in Anderson Forum.

Sophomore Andrew P Weston and sophomore Dieu Do are running for President and Vice President, respectively, of Hamline’s Undergraduate Student Congress (HUSC). They have been a power duo since their terms as first-year Representatives.

“We were both elected… And we were excited and inspired to do good work on campus,” Weston said. “Even though we didn’t really understand all the problems for all the issues that we were going to eventually be advocating for, we were excited to be doing something.”

During Weston’s first year in HUSC, xe proposed an amendment to the HUSC Constitution that passed during the 2018 general election. This was a moment of motivation for Weston to get more involved.

“I realized we really can make a change because the HUSC Constitution isn’t a light document; it is the governing document for all chartered organizations on campus,” Weston said. “To be able to make that kind of change was really inspiring.”

Now, the pair feels ready to tackle the HUSC President and Vice President roles.

“[Our first year] we learned a lot about ourselves, then we learned a lot about what HUSC could do better and how campus can be more accessible or how HUSC can be more accessible to students,” Do said.

Accessibility is a main point of Do and Weston’s campaign, along with transparency.

“Those two issues, [transparency and accessibility], we are really passionate about and want to address,” Do said. “We want to make it a student congress for the whole student body whereas in right now, it seems like it’s only for those who are elected.”

Accessibility has several connotations under this pair’s campaign.

“We want to keep in mind, being more reflective of what the student body actually is focusing on; accessibility and making all resources accessible,” Weston said. “So accessibility in terms of resources and intangible things, also spatial accessibility, and then sustainability and accessibility of programs and making sure programs don’t die.”

Sabrina Merritt
Vice presidential candidate sophomore Dieu Do answers questions at the HUSC debate on February 19 with running mate sophomore Andrew Weston by her side.

Running for office is important to both Weston and Do.

“Every student in their time here is probably going to face some form of [accessibility] issue, whether it be not being able to get around campus to really looking forward to joining an organization that isn’t around anymore,” Weston said.

Do, who has fallen in love with Hamline, holds support close to home.

“Student Congress shouldn’t be all money, committees and funds,” Do said. “It should be about compassion, empathy, support and understanding.”

Maryan Hersi and Abdi Badri

Abdi Badri and Maryan Hersi posing in Giddens/Alumni Learning Center.

Sophomore Maryan Hersi and sophomore Abdi Badri are looking for the opportunity to create further change on this campus through acting as HUSC President and Vice President, respectively. The pair currently serves on the HUSC Executive Board together and decided to run a little late in the game but are inspired nonetheless.

“It’s a weird timing in our lives but we kept thinking about the issues we care about and… changing the culture in which HUSC operates,” Hersi said.

The pair are eager to bring their new perspectives to the council.

“I think we are able to do that just because this is [Badri’s] first year in HUSC and I’m involved in HUSC but I’m not necessarily a part of that [popular] HUSC culture; all my friends are outside of that student leadership bubble,” Hersi said.

The two are running with the messages of transparency and accessibility.

“We’re both very willing to just say what’s on our mind and say what’s on the student bodies’ minds,” Hersi said. “Being able to ask the hard questions… And making sure there’s some sort of pressure put on [administration] to actually address the issues [the student body] cares about.”

Badri feels capable of expressing the values and views held by the student body due to his other involvements.

My experiences at Hamline serving as the African Student Association, as well as the Political Affairs Chair for HUSC, have given me many different perspectives on how to best serve as a Vice President,” Badri said. “I’ve learned a lot about Hamline and all the barriers that students face.”

Badri holds this opportunity as important due to the service he feels he and Hersi can provide.

“It would allow me to serve Hamline’s community more effectively than [in the] past,” Badri said. “This position would give me access to spaces that most students can’t access… I think it’s important for students to be included in decision making.”

Sabrina Merritt
HUSC presidential candidate sophomore Maryan Hersi answers questions at the HUSC debate on February 19 as vice presidential candidate sophomore Abdi Badri looks on.

Hersi and Badri believe they can reestablish the true strength and power HUSC has.

“I still think that [HUSC] is missing some assertiveness… No one really sees HUSC as a fierce advocate,” Hersi said. “We just need to make sure to be doing the work that we’re claiming to do and… advocate for ourselves; at the end of the day asking for things is only going to get you so far.”