February 12, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 74  

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From a former USC prez

Massive Attack
Chris Sinal

Gazette Staff

Amongst USC-types, I’ve gained a reputation for being cynical and jaded. Six years of watching University Students’ Council presidential elections from the inside will do that.

However, this is the first year I’ve had the opportunity to sit back and pay attention to what the candidates are saying and to really decide whom I will vote for. I don’t care about platforms and I could care less about the politics involved — I’m looking for the person that espouses the qualities I think are important in a USC president.

Here’s what I’m looking for:

Above all, the president must have a vision and set of beliefs that should influence everything they do. A candidate’s platform should embody what it is they believe in and what they want to see the USC become during their term. On average, the meat of platform promises are accomplished by September. With a candidate that stands for something, I can be confident that, even with their initiatives under way, they will continue to work to bring their vision to fruition.

A good candidate, just as a good president, must be a strategic thinker. They need the vision, but they also need to know how to accomplish it through long-term planning, delegation and leadership. Once a president is in office, they will need to take their vision and communicate to the Board of Directors and Council how to make that vision a reality for both current and future Western undergraduates.

Sound naive and unrealistic? Probably, if you’re looking for a president that will run things thinking one day ahead. I want a president that can use the machinery of the thousands of people and millions of dollars the USC possesses to accomplish something, and that requires a plan beyond, “I’m for accessibility, affordably and alliteration.”

Lastly, the candidate ought to demonstrate they can work well in a team (preferably leading it), and not fall apart like a philosophy major in a real job under pressure. This usually shows through experience.

Really, that’s about it. The rest — media savvy (bullshitting) and political skills (lying) — usually take care of themselves. A vision that demonstrates strategic, big-picture thinking and the ability to implement it through leadership is what I’m looking for. If a candidate doesn’t possess these qualities and can’t answer these questions, the world won’t explode. I just think things can be better.

That, and I want a candidate that will lobby for a milkshake machine at the Harvey’s in CentreSpot.

— Chris Sinal was USC president in 2002/03. If only he knew then what he knows now...



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