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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

Meet the Notre Dame student body election tickets: Pablo Oropeza and Griffin McAndrew

Sophomores Pablo Oropeza and Griffin McAndrew are seeking to build stronger connections between the student body and student government if elected student body president and vice president, respectively. 

The pair is one of three tickets running for Notre Dame student government president and vice president in the 2023 election cycle.

Courtesy of Pablo Oropeza and Griffin McAndrew
Pablo Oropeza (left) and Griffin McAndrew (right) are one of three tickets campaigning to be student body president and vice president in the 2023 election cycle.

Oropeza is a political science and sociology double major. He currently serves as the vice president of Stanford Hall, a member of Hall Presidents Council (HPC) and a leader of the Irish for Inclusion initiative.

McAndrew is a political science and French double major. On campus, he is the Knott Hall senator and presides on the constitution and health and wellness committees. 

When asked about his work as Stanford vice president, Oropeza spoke on his positive experiences with hall leadership in Stanford as a first-year and noted his desire to continue helping other students find their community at the University.

“It’s a way to help freshmen find a home at Notre Dame,” he said.

Griffin added that of all of the candidates, he and Orpeza have “the broadest range of experience” from their work on senate and HPC.

“We bring the most to the table,” he continued. 

When discussing the feasibility of some of the ticket’s goals, Oropeza noted the importance of advocating for progress, even if it takes more than one administration to achieve goals. 

“[We want to] push the needle. It might not happen in our term [but] it will help others in the future,” Oropeza said.

When planning to work with student publications, Oropeza explained wanting the student body to know what he and McAndrew are doing in their term, whether it be positive or negative.

“I’m not going to shy away from people. Sometimes I mess up and sometimes I do good things, but I own it either way,” Oropeza said. “People should know what the president and vice president are doing.”

In addition, Oropeza noted the importance of beginning conversations with Saint Mary's and Holy Cross Student Government Association leaders.

“It's as simple as getting lunch or dinner and seeing how we can connect,” Oropeza said.

When asked to elaborate on their plans for being more counselors of diverse backgrounds to the UCC, McAndrew emphasized student government’s role in advocating for students.

“We are student government. We can’t force Notre Dame to make any changes but we can make sure admin knows the student body wants this,” McAndrew said. 

Oropeza drew on his own experiences as a member of the LGBTQ+ community when outlining the significance of advocating for changes in the University non-discrimination clause, including in dorms.

“If you’re a gay person, you don’t know if you’re going to find a home here,” he said. "[It would be] a small step for Notre Dame."

Oropeza also described being a first-generation student and the need to create more resources for others like him.

“It takes a lot to get here,” Oropeza said. “I didn't have the resources to find opportunities after college.”

In response to plans mentioned in the ticket’s plans to partner with Right to Life, McAndrew stated the ticket will still partner with other organizations on campus, including more global health clubs.

“Abortion is a contentious topic. We plan to continue partnerships with clubs on campus,” he said. “Advocating for a political agenda does not mean a club should not be heard."

Oropeza addressed the significance of the “disconnect” between hall government and the student government executive cabinet to explain the ticket’s dorm-wide and community-wide initiatives.

“It’s not one or the other,” he said. “We can do two things at once.”

To this end, McAndrew described the importance of getting clubs the funding resources they need.

“Clubs are being neglected in favor of student government groups,” he said. “Student government does not mean the most in the day-to-day lives of students.”

Looking outside of Notre Dame, Oropeza stated the ticket wanted to host more fundraising events to support South Bend causes.

“We want students to see how beautiful South Bend is,” Oropeza said.