Kent State 2017-18 USG Ballot: President and Directors

Another Logan

KentWired Staff

The Kent State Undergraduate Student Government election begins Monday, March 13, and lasts through the March 15. Students can vote through FlashLine or the USG website

Here are the candidates for President and the Directors of USG:

Candidates for President

The president of Undergraduate Student Government acts as the chief spokesperson of USG, and communicates with the administration, fellow students and the community as a whole. In short, this means the president has all the power of a chairperson of the USG, with the additional power to preside over meetings, make or break any business ties, make requests of USG members, communicate to those outside USG, recommend the removal of any member, oversee business functions and expenditures, receive, validate and submit USG petitions and depositions and exercise control over all departments of USG.

Candidate: Logan Pringle, senior construction management major

Platform:

“I have three main points: students first, more involvement of senators within your college and then being a voice for students that feel like their voice isn’t being heard.”

Pringle said he wants, as part of the platform, to make personal connections with students.

“Being a voice of voiceless is just talking to students that believe that their opinions or their thoughts or anything like that isn’t being well-acknowledged. Just showing them that I care is a huge goal, going to them personally, and not just sending them an email.”

Pringle also wants to increase the communication between the president and USG senators.

“Putting senators first. A huge goal of mine is I would like to hold monthly forums for senators within their college regardless of any turnout that may happen … I want senators to speak first with the students regarding any issues or even improvements.”

Why should people vote for you?:

“ … I work firsthand with a lot of students with the other organizations I’m a part of and being diverse and from my ethnicity and working well with other ethnic groups — those are where the problems of not being able to hear voices are coming from, so I already have a personal relationship with them.”

What changes are you looking to enact?:

“The biggest change would be, I think, guidance. Guidance — just helping students be more aware of what their tuition money is going towards, what changes campus is making, and letting students be the driving force in changes of campus.”

As an example, Pringle cited last year’s decision to make Kent State a tobacco-free campus.

“That affected 30,000 students, or however many students smoke, so if we are to enact another change such as that, I feel that students should be one of the main people that have the choice in whether to make that change instead of 26 members of USG.”

Candidate: Daniel Oswald, junior finance major

Platform:

Through communications with advisors, administrators, student organizations and USG directors his platform should be centered around personal goals for the office and what the campus needed, Oswald said.

“I noticed from our climate survey, from our underrepresented students who … really don’t have a voice to the administration on campus, that that obviously needs to be a primary goal of mine, so I talked to one of the directors who had an idea to implement a program that would offer each student organization a liaison from USG if they would like, that would kind of give them a barrier between them and the administration — and  we would be able to represent them to administration, because that’s the point of USG, to be a representative organization to our students.”

Oswald wants to implement the “Kent State United” campaign in a tangible way — noting that his identity as a white male makes him want to try to listen and understand different groups on campus.

“The other point of my platform that I really want to hit on is living up to this “Kent State United.” Diversity is such a tall task, and it’s finding ways to naturally promote diversity without it coming off as fake… I don’t want it to come off as a facade, I want it to be something that’s real, we’re actually going to try and be united.”

Oswald also included holding USG representatives and senators more accountable, as well as educating the student body about USG goals through platforms such as concerts and public meetings.

Why should people vote for you?

“The biggest thing is that I have experience on USG that goes beyond just this past year, so I’ve been on allocations, programming, and along with that, I have our Twitter handle, and I’ve been involved in communications.”

Oswald also noted that his knowledge of USG operations make him a qualified candidate.

“ … Now I can actually come in and make a positive impact — it’s just the fact that I feel like I have made a real connection that goes beyond that kind of fake, surface level conversation where I can really get through to people, and I’m just hoping to kind of implement that through my platform.”

What changes are you looking to enact?

“As of right now, if you go through the by-laws of what a USG president does, if you follow those by-laws strictly, it really does outline exactly what we should be doing, so even if it might not be getting accomplished, it’s what should be done … it’s my goal to actually follow through with that. Not saying that we don’t have relationships with administration or student organizations now, it’s really instead of just reaching out a hand … it’s just showing our whole body at it.”

Candidate for Director of Academic Affairs

The Director of Academic Affairs is responsible for student input into academic policy, according to the USG bylaws. The Director of Academic Affairs must monitor proposals affecting academic curriculum, assist students with academic problems that come to the attention of USG, serve as a liaison between the Faculty Senate and the USG, coordinate and direct the senators in USG, promote affordable education and open communication, carry out transitional programming, hold biweekly meetings with senators, and assist the senators in planning Meet the Dean week.

Candidate: Haley Foster, junior political science major

Platform:

“The platform that I’m running on focuses on three things. The first is communication between the faculty and the students, so that students can live up to the expectations of the university. The second is focusing on resources that will help students with their academic careers … looking specifically at mental health resources on campus and that kind of thing. And the last one is promoting tolerance between different groups on campus.”

Foster said that mental health was the most important point to her.

“If you’re not healthy, as far as your mind and everything, you’re not going to succeed in school, which will cause more stress, and I know that it’s something that a lot of students deal with, but they’re not very informed of the resources open to them.”

Why should people vote for you?:

“I think that students should vote for me because I actually have experience in this kind of field. I was the education director for my sorority, so I’m used to helping students do what they need to do to succeed, as far as academics.”

What changes are you looking to enact?

“The current director, Natalia Roman, she has done so well with it that I just want to continue her work.”

Candidates for Director of Community Affairs

The Director of Community Affairs monitors all local legislation and acts as a liaison between Kent State students and the community. The Director’s duties include living off campus while serving, serving as a liaison to Kent as a city and other communities, working with the Director of Governmental affairs to recommend positions and monitor local bodies, attending Kent City Council and city manager meetings, working with Kent State’s Special Coordinator to the City of Kent, holds open forums between students and the city, maintains a community task force with the senator of off-campus affairs, and carries out a positional transitioning.

Candidate: Jonathan Merlo, sophomore managerial marketing major

Platform:

“The first thing is we don’t get enough support for sporting teams, events, theater … and I would like to work with the city of Kent, the county of Portage, and the student body to figure out a way to get a higher attendance, higher support.”

Merlo also said he wanted to get in touch with Kent officials and higher personnel to understand what should be improved on campus, and do the same for them.

“The next thing is Kent State campus, which is already pretty safe from what I’m understanding, but I would like to talk to Kent Police, Kent State Police, the fire department, and emergency services, and figure out what they would like to implement and see what we could do to help them out, and just make it a better and safer campus.”

Merlo would also implement a program to prepare high school students for college by allowing them to sit in on college classes at Kent State.

Why should people vote for you?:

“I’m already a part of USG, I work on … trying to pass out fliers, try to get word out about events … I’m already involved, so that gives me a decent understanding … probably more than my other opponent.”

What changes are you looking to enact?:

“If you look in the USG bylaws … it says that I will have to hold at least one forum per semester for the students. I would like to change that to two or three… If we could have more than one forum, not just for my position, but for every senator and director, because we only represent who can their voices out to us … if we could figure out a way to get everyone educated about USG, get them educated on how to voice their opinion, I think that would be a huge thing to change, because right now it’s not very big.”

Candidate: Logan Miller, junior computer information systems major

Platform:

“I would like to increase relations in the city … mainly by kind of sponsoring,  putting on a big community service event that would include all students- Kent State students, Kent high school students like Kent Roosevelt high school students, and members within the community.”

Why should people vote for you?:

“ I feel like I have had a lot of good experience working on executive boards within different organizations, that I think will do me well working with other senators and directors, and I try to put 110% of my effort into everything I do, which I think will correlate especially well for this…. I’m a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and also I served on the executive board for that, I served on a undergraduate executive board for Kappa Sigma nationally, and then I also served on the inter-fraternity council board, our executive board as well.”

What changes are you looking to enact?:

“I know I’ve just … worked heavily on building close relationships with university officials and city officials, trying to keep everybody on the same page and well-connected.”

Candidates for Director of Business and Finance

The director of business and finance is responsible for appointing students to the allocations committee and coordinating the entire allocations process. They plan and implement a financial workshop for student organizations and prepares financial reports for USG.

Candidate: Brian Brown, sophomore managerial marketing major

Platform:

Brian Brown intends to make the allocation process equitable and transparent for students and their organizations. Brown said he will foster increased transparency for the department and help students engage with the process and become knowledgeable about allocations.

What changes are you looking to enact?:

Brown pledges to make every organization feel welcome into the allocation process. He wants to create a video-tutorial training service so students are aware of how allocations work and their history at Kent State. He also plans to appoint a diverse committee to review allocations requests and ensure all factors are observed during consideration.

Why should people vote for you?:

Brown said students should vote for him because he will give students the tools to ensure they’re funded for personal endeavors at the university. He wants to teach students entrepreneurial skills that will carry with them beyond their undergraduate education. Brown said a vote for him is a vote for transparency, clear procedure and a transcendent undergraduate education.

Candidate: Cody Crippen, junior finance major

Platform:

Crippen is running on promises of increased transparency between USG and students regarding the allocations process. His goal is to fund student organizations and individuals to attend conferences or host events at Kent State that will benefit the community.

What changes are you looking to enact?:

Crippen said he plans to change the way CSI and student organizations communicate during the funding request process. He said students have expressed confusion at the process, and he aims to assuage the turbulence between students and funds.

Why should people vote for you?:

Crippen has served on the allocations committee for the past year, and he said this experience qualifies him as the best candidate. He said he knows how meetings work, what needs to be done to ensure a smooth process and the rules regarding allocations. He said he’ll harness his experience to ensure students can approach the process confidently.

Candidates for Director of Programming

The director for programming is responsible for USG programming under the appointed committee. They oversee the implementation of up to five major university-wide events every year.

 

Candidate: Emonte Wimbush, junior fashion merchandising major

Platform:

Wimbush pledges to ensure USG programs reflect the desires of the student body. He said he’ll do this by partnering with student organizations and using polling data to ensure the programs enacted by USG serve the entire student body.

What changes are you looking to enact?:

He said he plans to use the position to hold the university to their promises of diversity and inclusion. He would do this by being in contact with the university’s more diverse student organizations to ensure their desires are being met by his position.

Why should people vote for you?:

Wimbush said a vote for him is a vote for the university’s diversity. His plans encompass the entirety of the university’s population and he said he’ll work to ensure all students leave Kent State with a great undergraduate experience. He said he’ll take stock of what students think his office can do better and act on it.

Candidate: Bradley Banks, junior exercise science major

Platform:

Banks wants to continue the tradition of bringing popular artists to the campus. He called the university’s previous performers phenomenal, and wants to continue that practice.

What changes are you looking to enact?:

Banks wants to increase how much students know about the department and how it brings concerts the university. He intends to demonstrate increased transparency and consult the student body to ensure his department is bringing the best artists possible to the university.

Why should people vote for you?:

Banks said a vote for him is a vote for experience. He’s worked nearly every concert at the university since he’s been here, and said that experience makes him an excellent candidate.



 

Candidate for Director of Student Involvement

The director for student involvement is responsible for student participation in university and USG programs. They maintain engagement between USG and the student body across all branch campuses. They’re also responsible for the USG Street Team.

Candidate: Madison Newingham, sophomore political science major

Platform:

Newingham said she’s running to increase the voice of the student body. She plans to work with other candidates to incorporate voter registration into the First Year Experience programming and believes Kent State has a responsibility to prepare students to engage in civic duties.

What changes are you looking to enact?:

The unopposed candidate said she will create a liaison system to help students find internship programs within their area of study. She said no such program exists, and its creation is paramount to give students the best college experience. She also wants to bring student organizations, USG and the administration under the same umbrella, which she said would improve relationships between the three.

Why should people vote for you?:

Newingham said she deserves your vote because she is fully committed to justice and ensuring an empathic community thrives on campus. She said her work ethic will allow her to use the university’s resources to benefit the student body in measurable ways. The network she’s forged through her involvement with many student organizations will allow her to catalyze visible changes during the next academic year.

Candidates for Director of Communications

The Director of Communications is responsible for maintaining communication between USG, the student body and student organizations. This position also maintains public contact through a newsletter, social media presence and reporting public opinion back to USG.

Candidate: Matthew Grimmett, freshman exploratory major

Platform:

Get students more involved on campus and get student organizations to better connect with the public.

Why should people vote for you?:

“I’ve taken leadership roles before and I feel like I can handle this. I’m good at reaching out to people too; I’m always about social media.”

What changes are you looking to enact?:

“I follow USG now on social media. They don’t use Instagram often, and then I want to use Twitter better. I also want to get student organizations talking more.”

Candidate: Nicholas Peters, junior applied communication major:

Platform:

Better collaboration between student organizations and USG, better use of using social media for student organizations/student research/campus activities, improving follower count on social media, better use of USG’s PR committee.

Why should people vote for you?:

“I know that I am capable of doing the work that’s set out for the position. I’m dedicated, I want what’s best for the community and I want what’s best for the students. I know that my abilities can accomplish what people want.”

What changes are you looking to enact?:

“I want to create an aesthetic team. For instance, I want to use photojournalism students for our Instagram page and I want to start doing “People of Kent State” (in the style of People of New York). That way it gives photojournalists a professional experience and gives our audience a look of who they go to school with.”

Candidates for Director of Student Advancement

The Director of Student Advancement is responsible for overseeing projects and programs that benefit the student body. This includes committees that oversee campus construction, the Judicial Advocate Program, helping student through student conduct court and the Student Quality Advisory Committee.

Candidate: Curtis Semanski, junior philosophy/economics major:

Platform:

Promoting and enhancing the judicial advocate program to appoint people to aid students for student conduct issues, promoting the all-university hearing board, which he says is the “ultimate authority on Kent State conduct” to mitigate conflicts, working to enhance the alumni-student mentorship program to show students what their industry is like outside of college, updating the information on the student organization page information.

Why should people vote for you?:

“I’m an incredibly hard worker. I give it my all with everything. I wanted to give back to Kent State, because I was a transfer student from UC, and I was welcomed here.”

What changes are you looking to enact?:

“I want to inform all Kent State students about the resources available to them. I especially want to give back to the students who believe they’ve been treated unfairly or are not as involved or don’t know what they want to do (with their major and career).”

 

Candidate: Jacqueline Torto, junior psychology pre-med major:

Platform:

Embrace global diversity on campus through office of global education (study abroad programs), cultural workshops for students and professors, enhancing internship and mentorship programs, make sure Kent State is truly united under #KentStateUnited, more representation on all-university hearing board

Why should people vote for you?:

“I was born in West Africa, grew up in the Middle East, went to a British school, so when it comes to culture I am passionate. I think Kent State should take advantage of the different cultures of its students.”

What changes are you looking to enact?:

“I want to make this campus more globally diverse than it is and that the university takes advantage of that. Replacing the diversity training with a cultural competency workshop, would go on for a few weeks.”

Candidate for Director of Governmental Affairs

The Director of Governmental Affairs is responsible for monitoring and informing the student body of national and local legislation that may affect them. This position is also responsible for organizing a voter registration drive for students and serves as a liaison between Kent State and legislative bodies.

 

Candidate: Tommy Watral, sophomore nursing major

Platform:

Implement voter registration into FYE courses, unite campus in light of divided political climate, create student organization focused on public policy.

Why should people vote for you?:

“I’m brand new to USG but from what I’ve seen is that a lot of students don’t know what USG does. I want to utilize USG to get out the vote and get out the information by using our Senators.”

What changes are you looking to enact?:

“USG is supposed to be the student body government. The USG here at Kent has branded itself away from the student body, which is not how it should be. I want to change that, and I think we can do that by getting the word out.”

 

Reporting by senior reporters Cameron Gorman ([email protected]), Andrew Keiper ([email protected]) and Mitch Felan ([email protected]).