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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

Meet the Notre Dame student body election tickets: Daniel Jung and Aidan Rezner

Notre Dame students might recognize Daniel Jung and Aidan Rezner from the student government Instagram page, but the two sophomores are ready to take the next big step to represent the student body.

Both current sub-directors of communications for the executive cabinet, Jung and Rezner are running for student body president and vice president on a platform they champion as achievable and responsive to student needs.

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Daniel Jung (left) and Aidan Rezner (right) both work for the current executive cabinet as communications subdirectors.

“At the core, we understand the needs of the students,” Jung said. “We may not be the most well-versed in the Senate, but we hear what students want. We really have been trying to implement that into our policies that are improving quality of life, but also not overly ambitious.”

The Jung-Rezner platform categorizes its policies into three key areas: student life which includes health and enrichment, enhancement of both the campus as well as community and issues concerning diversity and inclusion.

Under student life improvements, the duo plan to initiate “Fresh Fruit Fridays” at the dining halls, provide an online place for students to self-schedule UCC appointments and host a fine arts week.

When it comes to enhancing campus and community, Jung-Rezner wants to partner with Uber or Lyft to deliver affordable travel options for students, create a “Let’s Make it Happen” form for students to pitch their own event ideas and publicize a database detailing local volunteer opportunities. 

To advance diversity and inclusion, the ticket wants to institute a Title IX continuity policy between academic years, bring a variety of diverse speakers to campus for the “Stand-Up Speaker” series and offer first-year first generation, low income students a tailored advising experience.

Across all their initiatives, the ticket hopes one message rings clear.

“The number one word in our slogan is Listen,” said Rezner.

“That’s the foundation of this entire campaign,”  Jung added. “Listening. Listening to the students’ needs, listening to diverse perspectives.”

Communications perspective

Current hosts of the “StuGov Scoop” and Instagram reel creators, Jung-Rezner emphasized their strength in communication and listening to students.

Rezner said the ticket’s perspective as communications sub-directors, rather than senators, gives them an edge over the competing tickets.

“That gives us a big advantage, because we get to see how the initiatives are implemented in the student body,” Jung said. “We’re in charge of disseminating all of the initiatives and receiving feedback about how the initiatives are being received by the students, so we get to hear from the students a lot.”

If elected, Jung-Rezner plans to take an active role in communicating with students.

“Multimedia is kind of our thing,” Rezner added. “We believe an organization works best with great relationships… and when hearing great perspectives.”

Student Life: Campus Dining

One of the ticket’s “ambitious yet achievable goals,” as Rezner describes, is Campus Dining improvements.

Jung added that past administrations have met friction and flex point caps when working with campus dining, but their initiatives are designed to circumvent these obstacles.

“We’re trying to find workarounds,” Rezner said, explaining the platform’s plan to offer fresh fruit in the dining halls every Friday and create more equitable meal options in the grab-n-go.

“We want to really, really bring some more healthy options. We want to bring some more nutritious options, and we want it to be equitable to the $17.50 that we're actually paying,” he said about the grab-n-go.

“We really do believe that the students deserve fresh, nutritious fruit at least once a week,” Jung said. “Students fundamentally need healthy fruits and vegetables, and they deserve it.”

In addition to dining adjustments, the ticket references supplemental digital student IDs, spotlighting student creatives and reallocating leftover executive funding to clubs.

Diversity and Inclusion

Jung-Rezner say they have designed their platform to prioritize diversity and inclusion, partly because of their backgrounds.

“We fully understand we are white straight males. We just want to put that out there. We fully understand that, and we know that our perspective is not the perspective of the entire student body,” Jung said. “It starts with building a good cabinet, but then it also starts with the initiatives that we have outlined. We know we have to make this such a priority. One of our three main pillars of our campaign is diversity and inclusion.”

Policies under this pillar include, the “Stand-up Speaker” series, expanding the Race and Resilience Initiative, advocating for ASL accessibility, creating resources to help LGBTQ+ students feel safer abroad and improving the Title IX process.

In addition, the proposed “Let’s Make it Happen” form is designed to foster a line of communication between student government and students from diverse backgrounds, Jung said. 

“I love Notre Dame, and Aidan loves Notre Dame, and we want everyone on this campus to feel comfortable and with who they are and love Notre Dame all the same,” Jung said.

The platform also mentions understanding the needs of students who are not Catholic by expanding and raising awareness for the Interfaith Council. Jung and Rezner said they are both Catholic and understand that Notre Dame will likely not bring other faith services on-campus.

“We can’t bring the places of worship on to campus, but what we can do is allow paid transportation to the places off-campus and have people know that there are a lot of places off-campus that they can visit,” Rezner said.

Many of the ticket’s initiatives regarding diversity and inclusion, including Indigenous Peoples Day, focus on celebration. 

“I think if you find a way to celebrate different cultures and find ways to celebrate the indigenous culture here on campus, it can do wonders for the community,” Jung said. 

“We want to go beyond just acknowledging it. We really want to celebrate and that’s a big, big part of it,” Rezner added, discussing plans to bring an Indigenous person to campus to speak on local issues. 

“We want to make sure that every voice and every person feels loved and respected at this University,” Rezner said.

Tri-campus and Title IX 

Recalling backlash over Saint Mary’s students entering the lottery for Wisconsin football tickets in 2021, Jung said, “That type of mentality can’t exist on this campus. It has to be that we are one tri-campus community. Their needs are our needs. Their pains are our pains. What they celebrate, we celebrate. We just have to be more unified as a group moving forward.”

“Unfortunately, there's a little bit of a rhetoric at this University that we're not a tri-campus and that Notre Dame is the pinnacle, and then there are two other universities that are next to it. And I don't think that that is correct,” Rezner said, seconding Jung's sentiment.

The candidates want to remedy this rift by meeting with Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross leaders and ensuring that all students of the tri-campus feel welcome to attend student government events.

Specifically, Jung-Rezner mentioned including both the women of Saint Mary’s and the men of Holy Cross in their planned celebration of Women’s History Month.

“I think it’s a shame that it’s not already happening,” Jung said. “We don’t acknowledge Women’s History Month in student government at all.”

The ticket hopes to host a service-oriented week celebrating women and highlighting the accomplishments of female faculty.

In another initiative, the candidates said they would work to make Title IX policy more transparent by publicizing how it works to the first-year class during Welcome Weekend and pressuring the University to release more details about what goes on in Title IX hearings. 

“We want to make the resources available and accessible and easy to learn,” Rezner said. “The only document out there is the Title IX document, which has about 100 pages, and unfortunately, for a lot of students, it’s just not digestible.”

One specific goal highlighted in their campaigning is to create a Title IX continuation policy. Currently, students who file for a non-legally binding issue, such as stalking, lose all accommodations or rulings at the end of the campus year, Rezner said.

“So when they come back to campus and they say, ‘I’m still feeling unsafe,’ they have to refile,” he added, describing how in many instances, the second filing is rejected or takes a long time to process. If elected, Jung-Rezner plans to expedite the filing process between academic years.

This initiative, along with many others, will rely on building relationships and allow for continuity between semesters for students.

“That's how we're going to advance any initiative is creating positive relationships and working environments,” Rezner said. “And I think we have good experience doing that in our previous history.”

To accomplish their goals, the ticket ultimately leans into their communications experience and a desire for transparency.

“We want to be a very transparent administration if we were to win,” Jung said. “We aren’t perfect and we recognize that, but we are going to be so open about it when we mess up. We’re going to apologize. We really want to be the most transparent administration to date.”