This story was updated on 3/15/17.

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Moderators Hali McDonald and Charles Bowker, left, and 2017-18 WSUSA President candidates Colt Jarvis, Aulola Moli and David Gibbons participate in the WSUSA President debate in the Shepherd Union atrium on March 13 during executive election week. (Emily Crooks / The Signpost)

WSUSA presidential candidates took to the Shepard Union atrium on March 13 to publicly debate and discuss their respective platforms and ideas for the future of the student body.

Candidates Colt Jarvis, Lola Moli and David Gibbons answered several questions pertaining to their goals for election to this office. Moderators from the Olene S. Walker Institute of Politics & Public Service presented the questions and each candidate had the opportunity to express their thoughts. Debate topics included each candidate’s thoughts on budget use, WSUSA community presence and the rate of voter turn-out.

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2017-18 WSUSA President candidate Aulola Moli responds to a moderator's question at the WSUSA President debate in WSU's Shepherd Union atrium on March 13. (Emily Crooks / The Signpost)

“I think it was such a good opportunity for us as presidents to speak about where our passions come from and where our reasons lie,” Moli said. “I feel like just coming by our tables and seeing our signs doesn’t flesh us out and doesn’t give people a chance to see our passion and understand our purpose.”

While the candidates had time to explain their thoughts and perspectives, each of them used the debate as a platform to address their main goals of their candidacy.

Jarvis uses the phrase “Put the ‘We’ in Weber” to convey his desire to create a more unified campus atmosphere. Moli cited her past experience in the WSUSA to explain her qualifications for office. Gibbons discussed his desire to address parking issues and ensure a more convenient and accessible campus.

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2017-18 WSUSA President candidate Colt Jarvis responds to a moderator's question at the WSUSA President debate in WSU's Shepherd Union atrium on March 13. (Emily Crooks / The Signpost)

The candidates also felt that the debate was necessary to communicate their mission in running for this office.

“I did what I came here to do,” Gibbons said, “which is make the issues that I want to be spoken of, to bring more attention to them.”

Throughout the debate and after its close, several comments were made about voter turn-out for student government elections. One candidate expressed his desire for students to make the effort to voice their opinion.

“Voting is the way you get your voice heard,” Gibbons said. “It’s simple, you don’t have to do much work for it, but you can still get the issues that you want heard. That’s why it’s important.”

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2017-18 WSUSA President candidate David Gibbons responds to a moderator's question before a small crowd at the WSUSA President debate in WSU's Shepherd Union atrium on March 13. (Emily Crooks / The Signpost)

A few students who plan on voting in this election expressed their passion towards this process and believed that it is a benefit to those involved.

“I think it’s a learning experience,” said student Taylor Wilko. “At the university level, we can only reach out so far. But if we don’t start somewhere and start learning about how to choose candidates that you believe stand for your values, you might not be able to select a candidate that has your same values.”

Throughout the debate, several students filtered in and out of the Shepherd Union Atrium to listen to the candidates. Overall, an average of 30 students and faculty members stood in attendance.

Elections opened on March 13 and will close on March 16 at noon. To cast your ballot, log on to Weber Sync, located on the eWeber page of WSU’s website. Read candidates’ platforms here.

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