The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

A guide to ISC president, vice president tickets

Damini Rana
Flyer for the Spring 2024 Student Elections placed near Illini Union

With the annual voting for Illinois Student Council positions taking place today through noon on Thursday, four pairs of students are hoping to win the election to become the next ISC president and vice president. To explain their positions, each pair sat down to explain what their vision for ISC looks like and why students should support them.


Jack LaMorte and Alyla Ditiangkin

“You know, he wears a suit everywhere — everywhere,” said Alyla Ditiangkin, junior in Media, of her running mate Jack LaMorte, junior in LAS. 

Frequently sporting a suit isn’t just a fashion choice for LaMorte, he said. He believes that when going to meetings, he should dress the part. 

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“I truly believe that the best way to advertise is through success, so when we provide tangible results to the student body, then it’s going to pass through word of mouth,” LaMorte said, speaking on growing the legitimacy of ISC among the student body. 

To get the tangible results LaMorte foresees, he and Ditiangkin are running on four main pillars: student success on campus, success post-graduation, supporting Greek life and eliminating national politics from ISC. 

“It may sound small, but (diverting from national politics) does separate us from our opponents,” LaMorte said. “They are going for these big issue ideas and it’s not the job of student council.” 

By focusing on more University-specific issues, LaMorte and Ditiangkin hope to make ISC a body that can impact students directly. 

“So first, we want to address food insecurity for those who can’t afford to go to the grocery store and buy their groceries,” Ditiangkin said about how they can improve on-campus student success. “We want to give students who need it food, emergency meal tickets, so they can go to the dining hall and get their adequate nutrients that they need on a daily basis.” 

Buying these meal tickets is one of the ways the ticket aims to use the $80,000-plus ISC budget to meet the needs of students. 

Additionally, the ticket wants to buy NARCAN to place in each fraternity house to prevent possible overdoses and supply suits for students to wear to job interviews. 

“If you want to see actual positive change on our university and you want to have someone who knows the ins and outs of the student council to actually benefit you, then you need to elect our ticket so that you can actually see those results and you’ll have a welcoming environment,” LaMorte said, who currently sits as the ISC deputy speaker.


Carter Cohen and Viktoriya Dragnevska

Our campaign has a lot of pillars of things that we want to see accomplished,” said Carter Cohen, sophomore in LAS. “We have things that we think our university does really well but is underutilized by our student body.”

Both Cohen and Viktoriya Dragnevska, sophomore in ACES, believe that the University has effective programs in place to benefit students, but doesn’t have the proper advertising and efficiency in place to have exposure to students.

“A perfect example of something that incorporates both of these things is the mental health center,” Cohen said. “It’s a great resource that you pay for in your tuition, but a lot of students don’t know where it is, or that they can use it, or how to operate it.”

Cohen and Dragnevska want to focus more on creating a unique personalized experience for students at the mental health center so students can get the help they deserve. 

Besides mental health advocacy, both Dragnevska and Cohen believe that sustainability is important to the University and something the student body should care about more. 

“Our University pledged to divest our 220 million in fossil fuels and it is a nonbinding commitment to working with the University and telling the student body that this is clearly something we care about,” Cohen said.

Dragnevska went on to discuss other programs that the University endorsed that lack proper exposure.

“The (SafeRides) program is a great program that is offered to us by our tuition, but the amount of people that I’ve talked to just on the quad that say it doesn’t come up or it’s just a complicated program to figure out is large,” Dragnevska said.

“We want to prioritize working with the University to revamp the rules to a great program that already exists and really make it an accommodating resource for students.”

Outside of the current election, both Dragnevska and Cohen discuss their reasoning for getting involved in student affairs as well as discussing their political passions.

“Politics, public policy and government is just my life at the moment,” Cohen said. “This is something I am really passionate about and, in high school, I was founding many clubs related to advocacy as well as being the class president. I’m someone who likes to get the work done and likes to do the diligent behind-the-scenes stuff, which is what the position calls for.” 

Dragnevska discussed her experiences talking to students about issues and what she wants to see accomplished.

“I am someone that wants to see the greater good of campus and someone that wants to make sure students are having an equal and as great of an experience on campus as we are,” Dragnevska said. “We found that we have a lot of similarities on that spirit of public work and making sure students are well represented.”

“I just went on the quad and spent three or four hours talking to students listening to their concerns and telling them about things I want to fix personally,” Dragnevska said. “Hearing such good feedback makes me feel like a good communicator and an excellent candidate for the position.”


Bill Liu and James Yang

“I’ll be honest, coming to UIUC, I didn’t expect to be running for student council,” said Bill Liu, freshman in LAS. “But upon coming here, I think I met a lot of ambitious people, and I thought about the best ways I could be the, I don’t know, kind of cliche, but be the change I want to see in the world.”

Liu said that he is not the candidate most people would expect to be on the ballot for student body president, but for Liu that plays into his presidential bid.

“I think during the forum, I suggested that right now the student government or the student council is like a bubble almost filled with, like, poli sci majors, business majors or people who just, like, are generally involved,” Liu said.

Although Liu may not be in what he considers the bubble, he isn’t necessarily a stranger to the political realm, as he participated in student government in high school and contributed to political science research at the University.

“And I guess as a person, my interests are deeply political,” Liu said. “I really do wanna make something of myself, which is, I guess, what a lot of young people in this world want to do.”

Liu admits that ISC is not an extremely popular body among most students, but he hopes to change that if elected.

“Student government doesn’t have to be a relic of the past and can be something that people actively participate in to help change their community,” Liu said.


Hunter Farnham and Rudy LaFave

“We hope to accomplish three big key things,” said Rudy LaFave, junior in ACES. “First, raising the Illinois commitment scholarship level to reflect the 2023 median income here in Illinois. Second, divestment from fossil fuels. And third, we want to repair the relationship between ISC and the rest of campus.”

These ideas have been the foundation of Hunter Farnham, sophomore in Information Sciences, and LaFave’s campaign, who both feel they have the experience to enact them.

“I have been involved in campus politics for three years working with Students for Environmental Concerns, Illini Democrats, and being a part of a coalition with PPGA, SJP, Amnesty and YDSA,” LaFave said. “This has given me a great deal of experience in understanding how this campus has run and what large organizations have said that they need changed.” 

Where LaFave’s experience comes from a myriad of student organizations, Farnham leans on his time and work within ISC itself.

“I have a year of ISC experience under my belt and have tirelessly worked in ISC to get the sustainability committee off its legs,” Farnham said. “I understand how ISC works and how to channel the change we want to make into real policy change here at UIUC.”

Besides the ideas they mention, LaFave and Farnham believe many programs and initiatives on campus require a change in order to benefit students more.

“I believe that the mental health services need to be completely revamped,” Farnham said. “We want to make sure that there are more counselors to go to, that the timeline to register for therapy is longer than a day and that the counselors in the centers are of a wide variety of racial, ethnic backgrounds so that all students can feel heard and comfortable.” 

With so many different candidates coming from different backgrounds and experiences to better the University, many students are unaware of the ISC’s impact and significance. LaFave went on to discuss the importance of voting and its benefits.

“I understand why students don’t vote,” LaFave said. “CSEC only puts out a couple of signs, the general student body isn’t enthused about what ISC has done in the past and oftentimes is plagued with problems in getting to work. But this means that if you want ISC to change, then you need to vote. If you want UIUC admin to hear what you have to say, then you need to vote. If you have any hope at all that this campus can be a better place for you, then you need to vote in this ISC election.”


Voting for ISC student body president and vice president is open until noon on Thursday, but it isn’t the only position on the ballot. Other positions include student trustee, college-specific senators and representatives and more. 

Voting is also up for various amendments, including raising student organizations, media and ice rink-related fees. Voting takes place on OneIllinois and interested students can cast their ballots here


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Michael Bales
Michael Bales, Senior Copy Editor
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