For Mikaela Johnson, a junior at St. Cloud State and Student Government presidential candidate, politics is not exactly a new arena.
“My brothers are super political. So I’m used to being around it and communicating very well in that kind of setting,” Johnson said.
Johnson being comfortable communicating in a leadership position might not be hard to believe, considering her experience thus far at St. Cloud State. Aside from being the current Student Government vice president, she has been vice chair of the Technology Fee Committee, a campus intern for the Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA) and is a CA at Mitchell Hall.
Like many new students, when she was an incoming freshman, Johnson came to St. Cloud State with little knowledge about the school and the resources available to her. In her nearly three years here, opportunity and initiative have led her all the way to the Student Government vice presidency.
“I started the year being an executive assistant and then our [vice president] resigned. And then, I don’t know why, but I was just like, ‘Yes. I can do this. I can lead,’” Johnson said.
She said that learning about the inner political and administrative workings of campus was infectious and sparked an interest in her to get even more involved.
“Getting to know more about where our money goes, what goes on around campus and what the student efforts that are going in place to better our campus,” Johnson said. “Being a part of the movement in making the best campus that we can have is a really interesting thing to me. It’s been a really fun year, and I’ve thought why not further it next year.”
Her early experiences at SCSU have helped form one of the main platforms upon which she is now running her campaign for Student Government president.
“I’ve gone from being unaware of what’s going on to being completely involved,” Johnson said at the Student Government election debate on Thursday. “Seeing how to close that gap… will be a really big thing.”
“I want to work on that kind of communication and then having a transparency on campus about what’s going on with our administration, what’s going on with student organizations, and then having a really big push for Huskies First Four,” Johnson said, referring to the initiative to help new students adjust to campus life.
“I’ve seen a lot of students that don’t know what’s going on or don’t hear about all the things that juniors and seniors are involved with because they don’t hear about it right away. I want more open resources and more advertisement about what goes on around campus,” Johnson said.
“I want to make sure those students are starting to feel like they are becoming more a part of our campus so we can have retention rates go up,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s focus on improving communication between administrations and students is informed by her background as a graphic design major. She said this is a field she plans on going into after college.
To round out her own skills in achieving these communication goals, Johnson chose her running mate Randy Olson, who is majoring in mass communications with an emphasis on Advertising.
Olson currently works as the public relations chair for Student Government. He also highlights his experience in fundraising and balancing budgets as a reason to support their campaign.
“When I was president of Campus Choir, the actual ensemble raised 10 times more in fundraising,” Olson said.
According to Student Government, Olson helped fundraise $5,000 for SeriousFun Children’s Network and helps manage education fundraising for various non-profits at Aria Communications.
According to Student Government, Olson chose to attend SCSU “because of the many opportunities available to learn and serve.” At Thursday’s debate, Olson emphasized a desire to learn and serve when describing what kind of leader he would be.
“Collaborative. We have to make sure if we are representing students… we have to do this thing together. It’s not for Mikaela and I to dictate,” Olson said.
According to Student Government, Olson has also held positions in the National Society of Leadership & Success, Residence Hall Association, American Choral Directors Association, UTVS and Phi Kappa Tau.
Student Government presidential elections will be held at St. Cloud State from April 4 through April 6.