What made you want to run?
Well I actually ran for president last year and came in a close second to Nick Imbessi and so I decided to run for vice president. Since then I’ve been on the executive board since I was a freshman and I’m a junior. I have the experience. There’s nobody else who has been on the executive board even since last year, so I have the experience. That’s more of the qualification side of it, but as far as why I want to run, it’s because I think there are two kinds of student governments. Neither one is bad, but the first one leads fun activities and basically do what ACE does. They plan events and fun things like that. Then there’s another type which is more my vision and where I want to go. It’s much more advocacy based, and much more of the Pres ESU philosophy. He had a campaign slogan which I really liked which was “there should always be a student at the table. You really can’t have the important discussions about student issues without students being there. So I feel like I have the knowledge necessary to be president, but more importantly than that, especially since we’re going to be getting a new president, we need to hit that hard. That person needs to do an incredible amount of work, and we need someone who is going to focus on students. Right now at KU the priority seems to be on buildings and facilities. The main focus is how does the campus look. How are things utilized? Then it’s about the faculty and administration. You know, it’s a public school with a very strong union, which usually works along with student needs but at the end of the day there’s different interests. That’s not to say that the current administration is anti student, but we need to be actively supporting student needs, and that’s my goal. A new president usually means new administration, so we have the opportunity to do that. It’s an exciting time.
What issues are you most focused on?
I have a couple issues that I’m really concerned about. The first issue is to keep students first. I really want to get students to be the first thought. I’m on the strategic planning resources committee and that’s for the whole university, and I’m the only student on that, so I get a lot of information, but I also hear questions like “why are we concerned with customer service first?” As the student in the room I think that it’s the most important thing. I also want student’s to have academic success but they also need the opportunity to have a good social life as well. I want them to have a welcoming campus climate. More specifically is that I want to bring the student committees together. There’s usually only one or two students on these committees, and what we’ve done poorly in the past is we assign people to these, they go to the meetings and they occasionally report back. I want to take these people and bring them all under the umbrella of SGB. I want whatever is discussed at these meetings to be brought back to us.
What made you get into politics?
I’m a political science major. I really got into politics in the 2008 election, because before that nobody in my house was really into politics. But I saw the election and I thought it was cool. I liked it a lot, and I wanted to study politics. I’m not really a partisan person but I think it’s an interesting thing to study. Whether or not you realize it, you’re involved in it. I believe there’s no such thing as not voting. Either you vote by voting or you vote by not voting and doubling someone’s vote. Everyone is involved in politics. When I came here, I didn’t think I’d ever run for president, but I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I could win or if I didn’t think I was the best candidate for it. I ran last year because I thought I was the best one to do it and the president at the time encouraged me, and I think I’m the best candidate at the end of the day. This is an incredible, incredible amount of work, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love this stuff. I’m a politics nerd.