With polls for the Central Student Government elections opening midnight on Tuesday, members of the various political parties have been campaigning for students’ votes, some choosing to pursue campaign videos or chalk advertisments along the Diag on behalf of their political party.
LSA senior Aristide Coumarbatch, who is running for CSG president as an independent, is forgoing the support of a party because he feels it’s achievable.
“I’m running to try to set a good example for other people so they won’t feel like running for president is out of their reach, and also to show the importance of creating equality and implementing diversity,” Coumarbatch said.
Independent candidates often run with the knowledge that parties give their opponents an advantage, and instead use the election to raise awareness or to spread their political message. But Coumarbatch said he has his eyes on the presidency.
“I wouldn’t run if I didn’t think I could win,” he said.
Coumarbatch said that most of his campaigning is through the use of hashtags such as #Aristideforpresident2014 and #fightingforchange on social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Coumarbatch is new to CSG, with no affiliation to any previous party or time spent as a representative. Though Coumarbatch said he considered creating his own party — especially since it would make getting the word out that much easier — he ultimately decided to run as an independent.
“I’m not affiliated with a party and I think that’s what makes me different,” he said. “That parties do have agendas and certain things that they want to pass. But as an independent, I’m just trying to take the word of the students, to be the voice of the students.”
Part of his decision was born out of the divisiveness that can overwhelm student government politics. He said he could imagine having a vice president of a different ideology of his own and representatives coming from many different parties.
“I didn’t really want it just to be me and my party getting the things that we wanted,” he said. “We could try to make a collective government with a lot of different points of view instead of just one party dominating the entire government.”
What Coumarbatch does stress is a “fight for change” as well as the need to “increase diversity.” He touched on the use of dialogue and education as tools for combatting ignorance, but did not have any concrete initiatives in his platform to describe.
“I really do think that we can help in a lot of different ways,” he said. “As time goes on, when I’m in a position to do that, I’ll have a better answer for that.”