Mitchum credits his Senate experience in helping him create realistic platform as ED candidate

Jackie Valley

  • Junior political science major with a minor in Pan-African studies from Dayton
  • Senator for Academic Affairs
  • Recruitment Chair for Black United Students
  • President of Pre-Law Club
  • Vice President of KSU-NAACP

Preston Mitchum said, based on his loyalty to the Undergraduate Student Senate, he did not surprise anyone he knows by running for executive director — not even his mom.

As a two-term senator, student advancement last year and now academic affairs, Mitchum said, in the figurative sense, he views USS as his “child.”

“I’ve seen it grow,” he said. “It’s the organization I’ve been involved in since my freshman year.

“I have a passion for serving students.”

Mitchum said, as executive director with the following seven platform goals, he aims to “advance the needs and desires of Kent State students” by:

  • Increase operating hours of the Student Center basement
  • Work with Student Legal Services to promote the services available to students
  • Foster a relationship between USS and the All Campus Programming Board to ensure better programming and use of money
  • Improve BlastOff! by incorporating more student organizations and local businesses
  • Continue growth of newly implemented USS programs, such as Mobile Campus, What2DoAtKSU and FlashSwap
  • Manage the USS office and staff efficiently

“My basic premise of my platform is what I define as the nation and community building of the Kent State campus,” he said, adding the goal is to keep students informed and connected with the university and the city of Kent.

If elected, Mitchum said one of his main priorities will be the transition of the new Undergraduate Student Government if the referendum for the USS charter changes passes.

“I do think you have to have experience to transition,” he said. “Students need to know what’s taking place within their student government.”

VIDEO: TV2 News interviews Mitchum.

If the referendum passes and he is the executive director, Mitchum said he wants to organize the transition process by paying attention to details to make sure everyone — USS and administration — is equally informed about the changes.

But Mitchum said the transition process should already be underway.

“It starts early and it starts now,” he said, adding that he has already spoken to members of the All Campus Programming Board about the impact of the potential changes to the organization.

Despite the outcome of the charter changes, Mitchum said he plans to work closely with ACPB.

“I want to expand their message to the Kent State student body for bigger and better programming to ensure dollars are spent wisely,” he said.

Mitchum said only positive results will flow from his platform goals, which are catered toward improving student life at Kent State via programming.

“Bigger and better programming correlates to better retention rates,” he said. “I love Kent State and I think it’s just about getting involved.”

Mitchum said, by bigger and better programming, he means working with the Allocations Committee to ensure only quality requests are approved and to increase attendance rates at events, such as homecoming and FlashFest, by better advertising.

Mitchum said his experience in the senate has taught him to create realistic platform goals.

“(Goals) can look good on paper and in theory, but you have to make sure they can get done in practice,” he said. “I know everything on my platform can be done efficiently.”

Mitchum said he has already started looking into his proposal to extend the Student Center operating hours and has spoken with Jacqueline Parsons and Jon Harper, the executive director and assistant director of the Student Center.

Mitchum said some of his accomplishments so far in USS include helping coordinate an open student forum for the Student Quality Advisory Committee, updating the “Academic Complaint Form,” distributing a survey about the KAPS report and writing a resolution titled “Stop the War in Darfur, Sudan.”

Mitchum said his USS knowledge and ability to remain open-minded will reinstate the student voice and erase the dictatorship stigma attached to the executive director’s role in student government.

“My actions will speak much louder than my words,” he said.

Contact student politics reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].