What are your thoughts on your recent election into office?
President-elect Dhru Patel: Dylan and I are so thankful for every student who put their faith in us and voted for our ticket! We are so happy and honored to represent the students of Oregon State University and are ready to make this university a better place for everyone. These last three weeks have been a lot of work, but even greater is the work yet to come.
What are your opinions on the complications that occurred with your opposing tickets this election season?
Vice President-elect Dylan Perfect: We want to look forward as much as possible. What we will say is that there is a lot that can be done to improve student engagement with our shared governance at Oregon State. Ultimately, it is in the best interest of student representation that important positions are contested, so there can be some form of input on the ideas presented by the candidates.
What do you think was the strongest part of your campaign?
Patel: The strongest part of our campaign was, without a doubt, our campaign team, who turned out for us throughout the campaign. While campaigning, our team had the opportunity to connect and speak with over 50 student groups and organizations over Zoom. This campaign would not have been possible without their help. We cannot thank them enough for believing in our #BEAVSforCHANGE campaign.
How do you think you could have improved on your campaign, looking back?
Perfect: There’s always room for improvement, and I think this campaign was a new experience for all of us. The circumstances of the pandemic have made it more challenging to connect with students, but it hasn’t made the challenges students face any less urgent. As we emphasized in our campaign, unemployment in the Corvallis, [Ore.], community has reached a level unseen since the recession during this pandemic, and the persistent problems of food and housing insecurity and student debt continue to affect students. We’re looking forward to doing all we can to be strong advocates for the resources students need, especially now.
Your campaign highlighted alleviating student debt. How do you feel about the potential 2-4% raise in tuition next year?
Perfect: Dhru and I have been strong advocates for tuition-free public postsecondary education, and for cancelling student debt. While the legislature may be limited in the resources available to them, there is also a question of priorities—from the university, leading all the way up to the national level. The fact that the cost of higher education continues to rise through a global pandemic demonstrates a shift we believe needs to happen in tuition affordability. And it’s one that students are able to fight for.
In the future, after your tenure as ASOSU president and vice president, how do you plan on continuing to help the Oregon State University community?
Perfect: There’s a lot of work ahead in these roles, but activism always goes beyond positions! Dhru and I will always be proud Beavers and look forward to supporting the efforts of student leaders into the future, as well as being advocates for positive change wherever we find ourselves.
How can the OSU community and student body support you as president and vice president?
Patel: We really want to focus on closing the disconnect between ASOSU and the student body, while building a stronger Oregon State community. One of the things Dylan and I recognize is that we do not know all of the issues and problems our students are facing in their lives or as we recover from the pandemic. We are committed to meeting with and having discussions with our fellow students to find solutions. There is a lot of good that can be done, and we are looking forward to helping make it happen!