2019-20 Student Government election guide
On Wednesday at noon, in the CSU Hearth Lounge, the Student Government will host a debate for the candidates running for the president and vice president for 2019-2020.
In light of this, the Reporter sat down with this year’s candidates for the Student Government president and vice president to learn more about their platforms and their targets for the future.
Why are you running for President?
Kayla Erickson: I am running for Student Government President because I want to make Student Government the best it can be for the students, and I believe I have the knowledge, experience, passion, and drive to do so.
Anisa Omar: I believe that a college experience should be student-focused, accessible, and most importantly empower students. My first involvement on campus started with the Pre-Law Society, and through the Pre-Law Society, I was introduced to other student organizations such as student government, in this organization I had the honor and privilege to serve not just as a Senator but as Vice President. During my term, I learned that our ability to make a change as a student depends on our ability to work with and empower each other. I plan on advocating for issues on campus such as continued tuition freeze, better insurance policies for international students, and working towards bettering our counseling center by advocating for more staffing which would better help reach the student body, and ensuring the school is working with us to help bring about a resolution. I am hoping to get the opportunity to be your student body President.
What makes you the most qualified candidate for president?
Anisa Omar: I believe I am the most qualified candidate because I have the skills and experience needed. I am the current student body Vice President and in this role I had the opportunity to learn all that the Presidency role requires by working closely with the student body President. I know that I can do the work and deliver exceptional results.
Kayla Erickson: I believe I am the most qualified candidate for various reasons. One being, last April I was voted in as the senator for the College of Allied Health and Nursing which gives me a full year on Student Government. I am also apart of six different committees, a few being: the Bookstore Advisory Committee, the Student Union Board, and the College of Allied Health and Nursing Advisory Board Committee. And lastly, this year I have worked alongside various university directors to continue bettering MNSU. With these experiences and my passion and drive I believe I can best represent the students at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
What do you see as being the top issues facing students and Student Government?
Kayla Erickson: I believe one of our biggest issues facing students is the lack of communication, and when there is communication it not being transparent. This is an issue I am planning on working on. I personally believe we should not only be openly transparent with the students, but also the staff, faculty, and administration. Without full open and transparent communication, Student Government can not work to its full potential to best represent MNSU students.
I believe one of the biggest issues facing Student Government is the fact that students don’t necessarily know who we are. We are here to represent our constituents, be a voice for them, but we can’t best represent them if we are not making ourselves visible and available.
Anisa Omar: The top issues I see on our campus that we are advocating for as a party include ensuring tuition freeze is continued. When it came to budgeting, Governor Tim Walz’s higher education budget did not fulfill what we were expecting, because of this universities will have to rely less on public funding and more on students. However, University’s relying on students will drive us further away from the Minnesota State Statute Section 135A.01 which states Minnesota Legislature is to fund 67% of the cost of higher education and leave the students to fund 33%. Through the years we have moved further away from the statue which is now causing students to fund 51% of the costs. I have met with Senator Nick Frentz and Representative Jack Considine and advocated to get us closer to the state statute promise. Another issue I would like to address on the campus is bringing about mental health awareness. This year I have worked with a few senators in Student Government to work on improving our campus counseling. As of now, it takes approximately six weeks to meet with a counselor after you have booked an appointment. As a party, we are working on getting more counselors onto our campus. Lastly, we set out to work on healthcare for our international students. As of now, healthcare cost have gone up significantly from a few years ago, the policies, however have stayed the same. While meeting with different International Student Association Presidents they have voiced their concern for the lack of dental and eyewear coverage in the insurance policies. I have met and worked with many international students as well as administrators to help find a solution so that our students do not have to add on another stressor. I am hopeful that as a party we will be able to bring about a resolution to these issues.
If elected, what do you and your party hope to accomplish?
Anisa Omar: If elected my party and I plan on accomplishing the three issues we as a party feel very passionate about. I know that with the group of talented senators we have working with us, my Vice President Andrew Trenne and I will excel. I am more than excited to get the chance to work on the betterment of our campus and I am hoping to get that opportunity as your student body President.
Kayla Erickson: Our top priorities if elected is to focus on the issues of communication within our university, the lack of standards in Student Government, and making Student Government more known and available to our constituents. With these top priorities I believe we can best represent the students of Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Why did you decide to run alongside your partner on the same party ticket?
Andrew Trenne: I decided to run alongside Anisa because I have complete confidence in her ability to provide leadership to the Student Government and the Student Body. When I decided I wanted to run, I talked with Anisa and confirmed what I knew that she would provide the best leadership if elected this upcoming year and I am here to help support her in that mission.
Logan Dahlk: We agree on various opinions, thoughts, ideas, and suggestions when it comes to bettering our university. I have full trust and support in Kayla Erickson and believe she has the knowledge, experience, passion, and drive to lead an extraordinary Student Government. Even though we agree on most things we are different enough to balance each other out, and because of that we are able to reach out to a wide array of students at MNSU.
What do you see as the role of the Vice President? If elected, how do you see yourself fulfilling this role?
Logan Dahlk: I believe a Vice President’s role is to help run an efficient, effective, and transparent Student Government. As stated in our party’s platform, if elected our top priorities is to focus on the issues of communication within our university, the lack of standards in Student Government, and making Student Government more known and available to our constituents. With my passion and drive for change I feel as though I can best represent the students at Minnesota State University, Mankato as their student body Vice President.
Andrew Trenne: So, the Vice President position is crucial as it takes over in case the Speaker of the Senate can’t do their job and fills in for the President if there is a vacancy in that office. Among that one huge part of the job is keeping track of vacancies in committees and boards of Student Government. If elected I plan to work with Anisa to ensure that people are appointed to all the committees, boards and commissions because a lot of the work of Student Government comes from the individual work in those areas, so we need to ensure each committee, board or commission is full and active. Also, one thing that makes our team unique is our working relationship as Anisa, and I have been working together and have become close friends. Being this close will work to our advantage as we will prevent infighting and work as a team to accomplish the issues, we are campaigning for which is the important part.
What experiences have at MNSU have informed your decision to run for Vice President and how have they prepared you to lead?
Andrew Trenne: Currently, one significant experience that has shaped my opinion of running had to be my term as RHA President as I have seen a lot of what the students have been experiencing here on campus and have made me want to help solve them. I would also say that being a part of Student Government in various positions over the last two years has also allowed me to gain a better understanding of not just on campus issues but issues relating to the CSU, off-campus students, Parking issues and even about the International healthcare options. Because of my desire to reach out across different groups on campus, it has allowed me to understand the problems that I may not notice about which if elected Vice President will let me and Anisa help those students who are often overlooked. Everything up until this point has prepared me to be the best leader I possibly can be and while no person is ever perfect, I am ready to lead and tackle the massive issues facing our student body.
Logan Dahlk: At MNSU I am involved in various leadership roles. A few being: the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) President, an Off-Campus Senator, and I am on the Football Leadership Committee. I plan to use my experiences from these different leadership roles to help me be the best Vice President for our students.
Voting will take place on Tuesday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Header photos courtesy of Anisa Omar (Empowering Mavericks) and Kayla Erickson (Mavericks: United as One)