Despite a late start to campaigning, Zach Ogle ’15 said he will rely on his perspectives as a student in USG and in other campus groups to win the campus vote, emphasizing the importance of increased outreach to student groups.
“I’m running for USG president because I feel like USG can do a much better job of reaching out to non-USG students,” Ogle said. “I think currently the USG does a great job of doing projects, but a lot of the projects are representing the interests of the people who are currently on the USG, and we don’t necessarily focus on projects that would have a high impact for non-USG students.”
Ogle has a lot to overcome in the presidential election. Not only is the current Class of 2015 senator running against the incumbent USG president, Shawon Jackson ’15, but he is also running a shortened campaign since he was originally disqualified from the race.
Ogle entered the presidential race Sunday night —nearly a week after his opponent —after winning his appeal against being disqualified from the race. Ogle had previously been disqualified for neglecting to submit a third registration document on time.
“I think Zach is a very capable and well-respected student leader,” Class of 2014 senator John McNamara, who endorsed Ogle’s appeal and has endorsed his campaign, said regarding why he supported the candidate.
Now that Ogle is officially in the race, he is working to publicize what he would do to change the USG.
“The major part of my platform is just increased outreach,” Ogle said. “I think that if students don’t care enough to talk about the projects and policies the USG is discussing, then we’re probably doing something wrong.”
Ogle said the USG should be talking about projects and policies that have an impact on the student body, and he would ensure that his administration does this by asking all members of the Senate to attend meetings of non-USG groups a few times a semester to listen to what they’re talking about, talk to them about USG projects that apply to them and get their feedback to see what the USG can do.
“I think he has a very clear understanding of why students are frustrated with USG and why they see it as an increasingly unimportant factor in their lives,” U-Council chair Elan Kugelmass ’14, who has endorsed Ogle’s campaign, said. “He’s very committed to fixing that by making genuine attempts to reach out to other groups to bring on student experts and student activists in other fields into USG and as partners with USG in a way that doesn’t try to monopolize or take credit for the work that other groups are doing.”
Ogle said he wants the USG to talk more about projects and policies that will have an impact on all or the majority of the student body. He said he wants to take advantage ofthe USG’s platform to reach and impact the entire student body —what he attributed to be its greatest strength.
U-Councilor Azza Cohen ’16, who has also endorsed Ogle’s campaign, agreed that it is important for the USG to connect with student groups on campus and said that is the main reason she is supporting Ogle’s campaign.
“I think one of the things USG lacks is a comprehensive approach to reaching out to student groups,” Cohen said. “I’d like to see that happen, and I know Zach will make it happen.”
As a member of the USG, Ogle has led the Committee on Background and Opportunity in producing its fourth report. He also worked briefly with the Mental Health Project and is currently serving asa leader in planning its upcoming Violence Intervention and PreventionWeek and in an unofficial capacity asa Senate liaison to Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising Resources & Education.
In addition to his work for USG, Ogle is also a residential college adviser in Whitman College, a former lightweight rower and has worked for Tiger Call and American Foreign Policy magazine.
“I think it’s especially my time from outside the USG that gives me a perspective of what the USG looks like,” Ogle said. “I think my breadth of experience as a non-USG member and a USG member sets me apart from the other candidate … I hope to make USG seem like a more approachable and relatable organization.”
Ogle is a Wilson School major from San Antonio, Texas. Voting for president, committee chairs and class senators start on Monday at noon.
Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misstated the hometown of Zach Ogle '15. He is from San Antonio, Texas. Also due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article did not make it clear that Ogle is a Senate liaison to SHARE in an unofficial capacity. The 'Prince' regrets the errors.