By Hayley Roder, Broadside Correspondent

While interviewing the ten candidates for George Mason University student government president and vice president, one common theme transpired: advocating for the student body.

The five tickets — Shane Smith and Rich Everett, Jillian Ferron and Mark Murphy, Sean Hobaugh and Evan Massengill, Lynn Gold and Dominic Pody and D’Leon Barnett and Jacky Yoo — have proposed different campaign platforms, but they all arrive at a similar goal: to let the voices of the students be heard.

“Advocating for the students is our number one priority,” Smith said. “There’s been a disconnect between student government and the university administration, and we want to advocate on behalf of the students.”

Gold echoed a similar statement. “Our main responsibility [as leaders of student government] would be to serve as the primary representative for students — to the administration, to the state legislature — to let them know what the students want and need to lead Mason into the future.”

Another common theme was transparency. “Really, you only hear from student government once a year [during election time],” Massengill said. “We don’t hear what student government is doing for us daily or weekly, or even monthly.” Hobaugh agreed: “In order for us to reach out and communicate with students, we need to be more transparent.”

A few of the campaigns suggested specific initiatives that would help students. Barnett and Yoo want to create visitor parking passes so that students who purchase a parking permit would receive three visitor parking passes for the semester. They also suggested a holiday shuttle bus to the three local airports. Others proposed extending Gunston Go-Bus hours and creating a university-wide event calendar so that students have a central place to find out about functions. Smith and Everett proposed “G-Span,” an initiative that would allow them to post weekly video updates that highlight what student government has accomplished.

The candidates come from varying levels of experience. Three of the candidates are committee chairs: Smith, of the University Services committee, Gold, of the University Life committee and Pody, of the Outreach and External Relations committee. Ferron serves as the undersecretary for Parking and Transportation Services. Two of the candidates, Everett and Barnett, are serving as senators.

Elections will be March 30 and 31. Ballots will be sent to students via e-mail.