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Elections for the 86th session of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada have begun, and as of Thursday, Feb. 22, so have the debates.

The first of three debates among Senate candidates for each of UNR’s nine colleges featured the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, the College of Education and the College of Business.

All of the debates follow the same format. Every candidate answers the same two pre-determined questions from the ASUN elections chair and two questions from the audience. They have two minutes to answer the question, and once every candidate gives their answer, they each have one minute to rebute their opponents’ answers.

The CABNR debate started the night. There are six candidates running for the college’s two Senate seats — Miguel Aguilera, Aamir Aziz, Trevor Carter, Blake Duncan, Blane Merkley and Joshua Smith, who currently is a CABNR senator for the 85th session.

The first question from the ASUN elections chair was “What do you believe the biggest issue CABNR students face and how would you resolve it?”

Aguilera said the biggest issue facing CABNR students was sustainability, and he would work to create more sustainability projects on campus — one of which would be introducing a compost system.

Aziz, Carter and Merkley both said that representation was an issue. Aziz said he hasn’t known who his CABNR senator was while he has attended the university and would make sure that students knew who he was and what he could do for them if he were elected. Carter and Merkley both said that the three separate entities of the college — agriculture, biotechnology and natural resources — need to each be better represented and their issues need to be listened to and addressed. Merkley suggested that CABNR make a student advisory board so the issues from around the college could be heard and addressed in one place. During rebuttal, Carter agreed the advisory board would be a great solution to the problem.

Duncan said the college needs more money so it can offer students more scholarships, grants and research opportunities so they can produce the best students with the most experience for the workforce.

Smith agreed with all of these points and pointed out that he is currently working as a senator to bring the student advisory board to life. He also said that there is money and opportunity for CABNR students, so he would like to promote both and do more outreach so students know what resources are available to them.

The second debate was for the College of Education. Two students — Jennifer Rogers and Kevin Finkler — are running for the college’s one seat. Rogers was sick the night of the debate, so only Finker was present.

He was asked by the audience how he would represent Human Development and Family Studies and Education students equally if he was elected. Finkler said he would be the liaison between the two groups to help bridge the gap. He would talk to students and professors to understand all the issues they care about and would increase communication between the groups.

The last debate was for the College of Business. There are six candidates running for the three seats — Nikolas Burton, Hayden Grant, Hannah Hudson, Omar Moore, Tristan San Luis and Daniel Rich.

The second question asked by the ASUN elections chair was “One of the university’s missions is to create better partnerships between the university and the city. If elected, how would you work with the College of Business and the local community to create new internship opportunities?”

Burton said he would like to create more corporate business connections in order to create more internships. He said he also would encourage students to join entrepreneurship programs. Grant also said he would encourage students to be entrepreneurs and use the university’s InNEVation center as a resource.

Hudson said she would like to bring local business professionals to the school to give a TED Talk-style conference for students.

Moore said he would like to connect to the city through the Chamber of Commerce. He said this would help increase business partnerships and internships. Rich and San Luis both said they would like to expand university resources and promote internships. Rich said he would do this by expanding the Pack Internship Program.

The next debates will be held on Monday, Feb. 26 and Tuesday, Feb. 27 in the Joe Crowley Student Union ballrooms at 7:30 p.m. on both days. The second debate will feature the candidates from the Division of Health Science, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Engineering. The third debate will feature Interdisciplinary Programs, the Reynolds School of Journalism and the College of Science.

If you cannot attend in person, all of the debates will be live-streamed by ASUN. The link for the live streams can be found on ASUN social media.

Madeline Purdue can be reached at and on Twitter @madelinepurdue.