For the first time, the OU Campus Activities Council Chair election is held separately from the OU Student Government Association presidential election, and unlike the past uncontested presidential elections, it promises a competitive race between three candidates:
Pre-med psychology junior John Pham currently serves as treasurer on CAC's Executive Council. Pham has been a member of CAC since his freshman year, when he started out working on finding sponsors for Howdy Week.
“I applied to be Howdy Week chair, and when I didn’t get it the new chair asked me if I wanted to be in charge of sponsorship,” Pham said.
Pham was not impressed by his first experience with CAC. He said that he felt CAC's sponsorship department lacked leadership and he learned little about CAC as a whole. When he was finished with Howdy Week, he thought he would never work with it again.
Instead of being upset about his new position, Pham decided to look at what he didn’t like about his experience and try to improve it for other students.
He made several changes to the sponsorship positions to ensure that the students serving in those positions would get the most out of their experience.
Pham moved on to work with Winter Welcome Week and then to his current position. Pham said that his position as treasurer is what motivated him to run for CAC chair.
“[It] has given me the opportunity to see CAC as a whole and look at where we can improve,” Pham said.
One area of improvement he would like to see is to incorporate more diversity into CAC. Pham said to some people, CAC seems like an exclusive club and that is not what it should be.
“I am running because I want to bridge the gap between CAC and the student body as a whole,” Pham said. “I feel I have the knowledge and the experience to be able to do that and create a more inclusive CAC.”
Pham wants to make three changes to CAC. First, he wants to make CAC more accessible. Pham feels that if more students can apply, they will have more diversity by default because they will be able to choose from a larger pool of applicants. He hopes to encourage all types of diversity, not just racial diversity.
“Whether it’s what your hobbies are, what your ideas are, how you think, where you come from, if we increase our pool we’re going to have more diversity,” Pham said.
Next, Pham wants build cohesion between the members of CAC to prevent CAC members from feeling excluded. Pham wants to encourage members to come together and form friendships with other members.
“CAC gives you a lot of knowledge, but it’s the feeling of family that makes you want to stick around,” Pham said.
Lastly, Pham said that he wanted to develop members into leaders so they can get the most experience from CAC as possible.
Matt Rogers is a marketing and sports management junior. This past year he served as chair of Winter Welcome Week.
Matt first joined CAC during an open house his freshman year. He joined the Winter Welcome Week committee and remained on the committee as vice-chair during his sophomore year.
Rogers said that his platform focuses "the who, the what and the why."
Regarding the who, Rogers wants to implement focus groups so that CAC can better fit everyone’s needs. The goal would be to cooperate with student organizations like the Black Student Association and the Asian-American Student Association to make events to fit all students.
Regarding the what, Rogers wants CAC Crew, CAC's volunteer group, to focus more on student life so these volunteers will be more likely to join other organizations across campus. He also said he wants to hold leadership development seminars so that members can get the fullest experience possible out of CAC.
And as for the why, Rogers said he wants to focus on the opportunities that CAC offers to students at OU and that if he becomes CAC chair, Rogers said he would try and make CAC a catalyst to make great things happen on the OU campus.
Chloe Tadlock is a marketing and sports management senior and currently serves as Homecoming chair.
Chloe first joined CAC during her freshman year. The summer before, at Camp Crimson, her small group leader had talked to her endlessly about Soonerthon, then called Dance Marathon, which inspired Tadlock to be a part of CAC.
Tadlock worked on the Soonerthon committee for two years until she joined the Homecoming committee, serving as the large group's liaison before becoming committee chair this year.
Tadlock said she wants to be CAC chair to give back for all the good it has given her in life and she wants to see CAC continue to grow.
“CAC still has work to be done, it should never remain stagnant,” Tadlock said. "I’m very excited about where we are headed.”
Tadlock said recent events have allowed for new conversations about how CAC can be improved to serve its students best and it provides new obstacles that she thinks she is more than capable of tackling.
“I’m always up for a challenge and I’m always up for change and that’s why I’m running,” Tadlock said.
To improve CAC, Tadlock said she wants to improve the application process in order to make applying as easy as possible. She proposes that instead of having 14 different applications for the 14 different committees, that there be two applications, one for each season, in order to cut the confusion out of joining CAC.
Tadlock said this change would also give members a sense of unity, instead of feeling compartmentalized by different committees.
“Regardless of what event you’re on, you’re a member of CAC,” Tadlock said.
Tadlock said that CAC has a reputation of nepotism: students have to know someone in CAC in order to join it. To correct this reputation, Tadlock said she wants to hold selection bias training seminars for the event chairs so that they will choose the best people for their event.
“Because we receive student fee money to serve the students we should reflect [the students],” Tadlock said.
Tadlock said she also wants to address CAC’s diversity problems. She said only 30 percent of CAC members are minority students, so CAC still has a lot room to grow. She proposed educational training for members to ensure that current members are aware that some things they say or do could be seen as offensive.
CAC elections will take place from March 31 to April 1. Students can vote online at elections.ou.edu.
John Pham Twitter: @JP4CAC
Matt Rogers Twitter:@ignitewithmatt
Chloe Tadlock Twitter: @ChloeforCAC