Sustainability Senator Candidates for USG-T 2020

Emily and I, members of the Constellation marketing team, had the pleasure of interviewing the two candidates running for the position of Sustainability Senator for USG-T at ASU's Tempe Campus. We were able to meet via zoom with Bridget Abraham and Kylie Vacala and asked questions regarding their campaign values, how they envision sustainability on campus and how they plan on supporting sustainability clubs and organizations on campus. Constellation Sustainability has chosen not to endorse any candidate as an organization, but instead conducted these interviews and shared them with our followers to encourage civic engagement and allow you to make an educated vote on the changes you wish to see on campus. If you would like to explore their campaigns further, visit their social media linked below!


BRIDGET ABRAHAM:

Instagram


KYLIE VACALA:

Instagram




1. Tell us a little about yourself. What are some of your favorite hobbies?


KYLIE VACALA:

I’m a junior at the School of Sustainability minoring in sociology and anthropology. I’m the director of campus activities with my sorority, Chi Omega. I’m currently in USG as the School of Sustainability senator and a part of the School of Sustainability’s mentor buddies. I like to just stay busy, like hike, hang out with my friends, read, study, and I’m currently trying to get an internship at a national park!


BRIDGET ABRAHAM:

My name is Bridget. I am currently majoring in sustainability, with a minor in business and cross-sector leadership. I am also in the supply chain management club. My hobbies include relaxing, working, eating, and trying to stay outside and involved in the community.



2. Why are you passionate about sustainability?


KYLIE VACALA:

I actually originally was a journalism major. I really didn’t see myself doing it, so I sat down with my dad and saw sustainability. I stuck with it since then. Since being with sustainability, I’ve learned that it’s more than recycling and the environment, and its more about interacting with people and how changing your lifestyle can make a difference for yourself and others.


BRIDGET ABRAHAM:

It started in high school; I always enjoyed being in leadership. To me, leadership always involved directing a good cause for the common good and sustainability was a way to support the community as a whole and a way to put people before myself.



3. Why did you decide to run for SOS Senator?


KYLIE VACALA:

I’m very close to Abigail, and when she was working in USG, she told me there was a vacancy for the School of Sustainability Senator and that I’d be good for the job. I love being involved and connected to the community. It’s been an awesome opportunity, and now I want to be even better at this position with all of my experience from last year.


BRIDGET ABRAHAM:

I am currently looking for more ways to get involved in sustainability. I think this will be a really big way for me to get involved. I am really into leadership, and I think it’ll be good to communicate with students and see where they need help. Clubs and students can only do so much, but hopefully being in USG will help provide more of a voice and I can be a direct bridge to students.



4. Can you elaborate on your three main pillars? Why do you think these pillars are important within the SOS community?


KYLIE VACALA:

I have three pillars: sustainability, civic engagement, and accountability

For sustainability, it may be simple but I represent sustainability in a group that’s unfamiliar with it. I want to make sustainability as important to them as it is to me. I really want to focus on working with the sustainability clubs and being their voice to USG.

For civic engagement, it’s election year, it’s important to emphasize this pillar and voting. The school of sustainability students have a powerful, strong voice and can make an impact.

For accountability, I want to work with the appropriations committee to allocate money to clubs. We have a $2.4 million fund, and I want them to be more accountable with the large responsibility they bear and be sustainable with how they allocate it. I also want to set up a program where the more sustainable an event is, the more funding that is allocated to them.


BRIDGET ABRAHAM:

My pillars are transparency, integrity, and unity. For transparency, this is a big thing for candidates even on a national and government level. It is important to communicate with your community, as you should be honest to receive honest feedback. For integrity, you don’t want to seem untrustworthy for the people you are advocating for, and the most important thing to me is honesty. For unity, this was important to me because I’ll be working as a team with everyone and it’s important to know that we are working with the SOS community and its important to realize that we can grow in the ASU community and our contributions are unifying within the overall ASU community. For unity, this was important to me because I’ll be working as a team with everyone. They need to know that we’re working with the School of Sustainability community, and to realize we can make growth happen in the ASU community and that our contributions will be unifying for all of ASU.



5. What are some examples of changes you would like to see within the SOS community?


KYLIE VACALA:

Overall, engagement is important. A lot of students do not even know what USG is. I want to highlight all of our unique students and give them the opportunities to share their voice within the School of Sustainability and the larger community.


BRIDGET ABRAHAM:

The changes in the community I’d like to see is finding ways to tie us together. There’s only a few of us, but having more opportunities for us to get to know each other would be great. We need to find better opportunities for us to collaborate, but clubs have their own limitations with things like time. When you go into your freshman year, there was a summer camp, but something like that or a summer vacation for all of us to bond would be great for the school of sustainability.



6. What do you think is the #1 issue for the SOS? What would your solution be?


KYLIE VACALA:

In the School of Sustainability, I noticed that students who get caught up in trying to speak to themselves rather than the larger community. We all know how great we are, and we are often overlooked by others. Most people don’t know more about sustainability, and it’s not just about recycling. Our students’ engagement outside of the School of Sustainability needs to be more active. We don’t interact much with other colleges and the broader community.


BRIDGET ABRAHAM:

I think the number one issue for me is finding a way to communicate the initiatives for the School of Sustainability. It’s hard because there are few students, but I want to find a way to encourage monthly events to bring students from every major to interact with each other and find solutions together.



7. What do you think is the #1 issue for ASU? What would your solution be?


KYLIE VACALA:

Our students are under-educated on sustainability. Sustainability is not marketed well, and we need to redefine what sustainability means in respect to our personal lives, our community, how it fits into our urban ecosystem and our economy in order to improve engagement. ASU does a great job of implementing green measures but it really does start at the people’s understanding of sustainability.


BRIDGET ABRAHAM:

I think we should be concerned about the “little things”. I did an honors paper during my freshman year about the dorms and the living situations. We are the first school in sustainability, so our dorms should reflect that. We should be pushing for small things like energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, and fixing sinks. We need to find ways to continue to push forward.



8. What differentiates your campaign from the others?


KYLIE VACALA:

The biggest difference in my campaign is my level of experience. I worked in USG already, and if you are involved in government, then the biggest lesson is that it’s eye-opening and it's a lot of work. It can be overwhelming, but with my experience, I already know how everything works and I will be able to get right into the work. I was also part of the appropriations committee, where my experience with the committee and the allocation of the money will better help me push for more funding in sustainable events.


BRIDGET ABRAHAM:

The biggest difference I believe is my leadership abilities. I have been in leadership since high school, so I have been able to evolve and grow as a leader. I also have a lot of management experience and I know how to appeal to all audiences. I was able to speak on behalf of the school of sustainability on a national level at the Green Sports Alliance and communicate our school’s initiatives to many different types of individuals.



9. How do you plan on supporting sustainability clubs?


KYLIE VACALAS:

A big part of how I plan to support is through funding because when you are given money to showcase your work, then you can give them the voice they deserve. I believe I can encourage networking and engagement by helping clubs with funding.


BRIDGET ABRAHAM:

I believe there’s a lot of potential in supporting and advocating for SOS clubs. The Senator position will require dedication and commitment to both USG and SOS. I would attend SOS meetings, gathering weekly feedback from the students and relaying back to USG. Not only driving change but encouraging other schools, clubs, and communities to be a part of our school and efforts.

92 views

Recent Posts

See All

Voter Suppression

Voting is something that for some comes very easily, while for others it can be very challenging, even when you would truly like to participate. The groups most affected by voter suppression include;

Site Language

© 2020 by Constellation.