Student Relations

Elizabeth Eckels v. April Samuelson

Editor’s note: Today, the undergraduate student body is voting for future senators of the Undergraduate Student Senate. A number of the candidates have sent in columns detailing why your vote should belong to them.

Student Relations: This senator maintains open communication lines between Senate, the student body and student organization.

Elizabeth Eckels

So here is my opportunity to plead my case on why you should vote for me. It’s easy to think this is all about me adding something to my resume, assuming a position of power, blah blah blah. But what it’s really about is us, the undergraduate students.

We’re here on this university for four or five years and all want to “make the best” of it. We’re involved through jobs, classes, meetings, sports, hanging out with friends, studying, or whatever else we feel like doing. Where do I come in? I’ll make a part of your life better, the part that involves interacting with teachers, faculty, and administration – that’s the purpose of being a student relations senator.

Now it’s time for me to answer your question – why do I vote for Elizabeth Eckels? Simply because I will accomplish goals that improve your experience here.

I’ll start by developing a virtual Presidents’ Roundtable (basically an online message board) to open lines of communication between senate and organizations. I’ll also continue coffee with the president events while adding a “Lunch with Lefton” in the Student Center. I’ll come to student organization meetings throughout the year to make sure I get a glimpse of what each is about. I’ll get in touch with organizations to make sure each and every one knows how to use the resources available through USS (Web design, advertising, etc.).

Involving the Community Task Force in orientation classes is another goal of mine. This will allow new undergrads to have an impact on various issues involving the city of Kent, giving students more power from their first semester on campus. I will also start an ad campaign that showcases positive outcomes resulting from interactions between us and faculty, professors, or administration. That means you could be on one of those ads – pretty cool if you think about it.

But there’s one last reason why you need to vote for me: because I’m passionate about bridging the gap between us and administration, and I have the leadership experience, knowledge, and creativity to do that.

Vote for me and the rest of the Improve Our University ticket today, and you’ll have an Undergraduate Student Senate working for you.

April Samuelson

I am not important. Even if I win this election, that will still not change. I do not matter.

Let me tell you how I arrived at this conclusion.

Last year, I came back to school depressed. I thought I needed better friends, a better major and more money. I was consumed by what I didn’t have. What I really needed was a good kick in the face.

And that’s what I got in Jen Kennedy.

Kennedy is blind. She is also sarcastic and one of the funniest people I know. While living in the Delta Zeta house together last year, we became fast friends friends.

That semester I had to write an article about the university for my newswriting class. I asked Kennedy for ideas, and she brought up the lack of Braille on campus.

What I found out in my interviews with the blind students was appalling. There are several buildings on campus without Braille labels and also several where they’re wrong. The students I interviewed complained in every way they could think of. Nothing was getting fixed.

If university officials don’t listen to these students, who do they listen to? Then I realized it. They listen to the Undergraduate Student Senate.

When I came back to Kent State in the fall, I decided to run. I chose student relations because I can put my experiences with KIC, ACPB, service organizations and Greek life to good use by bringing back the Presidents’ Roundtable.

I also want to create an event at the beginning of spring semester similar to BlastOff!, only indoors, so that student organizations can recruit members; promote the Campus Environment and Operations 24-hour call line so students know who to call when they fall on a patch of ice to make sure someone else doesn’t get hurt in the same spot; and establish a “Talk With Your Dean” event where students can actually ask questions and complain to the person who makes the decisions.

Most importantly, I want to start an advocacy committee to bring the concerns of blind, wheelchair-bound and hearing-impaired students to the attention of the people who can fix them. Student Senate gets attention, and these problems can get fixed. It’s something I already started doing. During my time campaigning, I made the right people aware of the problem, and now Braille tabs are going to be added to the Student Center.

But like I said, I am not important. What I want is not important. As an undergraduate student, however, you are. And what you think matters. Remember when you vote today that Undergraduate Student Senate is significant only because it is your voice to the university administration.

If you choose to make me a part of that voice, I promise I’ll be a loud one. I will make your opinions and your needs known, even if I have to scream them.

I also promise to shut up and listen to what you have to say, because it is not about me. It’s about you.