ASI Elections 2015: Meet the Candidates


Sarah Pishny, left, VP of internal affairs and political science major talks with Forest Klein, right, liberal and creative arts representative, both ASI candidates for next semester, Fall 2015 in the Malcolm X Plaza on Thursday March 19. (Emma Chiang / Xpress)

In the upcoming ASI election, where most candidates run unopposed, students will decide between two contenders for the position of Vice President of Internal Affairs. Current VP Sarah Pishny is seeking re-election as newcomer Evan Gothelf challenges her for the seat. With different platforms, both candidates bring their own unique ideas and experiences to the potential role.

Vice President of Internal Affairs

With four years of experience with Associated Students, Inc. under her belt, Sarah Pishny said she knows what it takes to be Vice President of Internal Affairs. The 21-year-old political science major hopes to secure the position for a second term in the upcoming 2015 ASI spring election.

“I’m blessed to say that I have the experience I do,” Pishny said. “I think holding the position I do now wouldn’t have happened without all of my experience.”

As a freshman Pishny worked as an ASI intern and was later awarded the position of Special Events Assistant, which she held for two and a half years.

According to Pishny, working for Special Events familiarized her with ASI and the various student organizations on campus. She said she believes it would be difficult for someone new to come in now and play catch-up.

VP of Internal Affairs Sarah Pishny, plans to re-run for the same position next fall semester, stands in the Malcolm X Plaza Thursday, March 19. (Emma Chiang / Xpress)
VP of Internal Affairs Sarah Pishny, plans to re-run for the same position next fall semester, stands in the Malcolm X Plaza Thursday, March 19. (Emma Chiang / Xpress)

“I had that kind of backstage access to the board and how they worked and so by the time I ran I was pretty versed in what I needed to do,” Pishny said.

This year several resignations left the ASI board shorthanded resulting in Pishny holding two positions: Junior Representative initially, then VP of Internal Affairs.

Horst Carreno-Bauer has known Pishny for over two years and worked with her when they both ran for the ASI Board of Directors last year.

“She’s a good candidate because even when something may be unpopular yet morally right, Sarah does not back down and makes her stance known,” Carreno-Bauer said.

As a member of the board Pishny assisted with several ASI projects such as developing a discounted Muni/BART pass for students.

Pishny said she values school spirit and wants to increase the amount of activities and events offered for students.

“I want students to feel a pride for going here other than being proud of their academic achievements,” she said.

She said she is proud of the board’s recent accomplishments related to safety such as repairing both the sound waves for visually impaired students and the emergency lights with buttons that contact campus police.

“I hold campus safety to a very high regard because this place is a supposed to be a home away from home for students and if you can’t feel safe where you are learning how are you going to learn?” Pishny said.

ASI president Phoebe Dye said she and Pishny are well acquainted from their experience working on together on ASI.

“Students should know that she is one of the most passionate board members I have and serving students in the best way possible is on the top of her priority list,” Dye said.

Pishny said she values her outgoing personality and ability to instantly make new friends, which she thinks will be useful with her campaign.

“Talking and understanding and connecting has always come easy for me and I think that it shows in my personality a lot,” Pishny said. “I think that easy connection with people will really help me with this election.”

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In the upcoming Associated Students, Inc. election filled with incumbents, Evan Gothelf is entering the race as a newcomer. He said his fresh ideas and past involvement with student government make him an ideal representative for students.

“I’m running a campaign that I don’t think has ever been seen here,” Gothelf said. “I’m facing all current incumbents that are all working together. I’m looking at the entire executive board who has no one running opposing them.”

The 20-year-old sophomore double majoring in computer science and philosophy has hopes he can secure the position of Vice President of Internal Affairs in the 2015 ASI spring election.

During his second semester at SF State, Gothelf founded a chapter of the fraternity Kappa Sigma, which now has 59 members and is nationally recognized. He said his fraternity has a different message than the current Greek community.

“My fraternity is not out there to look the coolest, it’s not out there to think we are better than everyone else,” Gothelf said. “It’s trying to provide a sense of person, a sense of involvement, a sense of doing something greater than yourself.”

Associated Students Vice President of Internal Affairs candidate Evan Gothelf sits on top of the Cesar Chavez Student Center Friday, March 20.  (Melissa Minton / Xpress)
Associated Students Vice President of Internal Affairs candidate Evan Gothelf sits on top of the Cesar Chavez Student Center Friday, March 20.
(Melissa Minton / Xpress)

Robert Cornwell met Gothelf last year and is the Grand Treasurer at Kappa Sigma.

“He always pushes us and strives to get the most out of each individual in our fraternity whether it is something as simple as designing a t-shirt or flyer, or putting together a six-month plan of action to further our chartering process,” Cornwell said.

Gothelf said his experience creating a fraternity could translate to the ASI position by helping him boost morale on campus and in his interaction with student organizations.

“I’ve really learned how to take on responsibilities, manage people in a way that really has a purpose for the greater group and the greater commitment of doing something better,” Gothelf said.

Communication Studies major Alexandra Velasquez met Gothelf in on-campus student housing last year and said she knows him well.

“I have seen Evan’s progression,” Velasquez said. “I have seen him transform from a once slightly timid boy to an overachieving leader.”

When Gothelf first came to SF State he said he was shocked the college did not offer a discounted transit pass. He said if students had an easier way to get to campus they would attend more school events.

If elected Gothelf said he hopes to create an app with a live feed to broadcast ASI’s daily events. He said the app would be managed by students to promote students’ ideas and organizations.

Gothelf said he is comfortable working with ASI and there are several members he highly respects.

“They don’t really have a vision as to how much power they think they hold,” Gothelf said. “I think they need someone to show it’s okay to push back in a way that’s not being conventional.”

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[Photos by Daniel Porter and Martin Bustamante / Xpress]

(From left to right- VP of University Affairs: Celia LoBuono Gonzalez, VP of External Affairs: Naeemah Charles, VP of Facilities and Services: Jordan A. James-Harvill)


(From left to right- College of Liberal and Creative Arts Rep.: Forest Klein, College of Science and Engineering Rep.: Samuel Boikaner, College of Ethnic Studies Rep.: Shannon Deloso

(From left to right- College of Business Rep.: Niza Del Carmen, H.S.S. Rep.: Edward Chavez, College of Education Rep.: Paulina Fraser

(From left to right- Graduate Rep.: Sharlana Turner, Graduate Rep.: Conrad Simon, Junior Rep.: Alexandra Velasquez )

Sophomore Rep.: Malissa Bibrey