This spring brings about another Student Government Presidential Election, and an opportunity for students voices to be heard. The election last spring saw 640 students cast their ballots, twice as many as 2015. With the contest being held March 27-29th, Student Government hopes to once again see a high turnout.
Johnson will be departing her office and not running for re-election this year as she only has one semester left before graduation.
“There has been a lot better communication this year,” Johnson said. “I was very open about my work with the administration and opened it up to anyone interested.”
Johnson says she believes this process of openness helped members have the passion and drive to achieve the things they wanted in office. Johnson says the best part about being a Husky was the connections she has made as a student on campus.
“I have learned so much out of the classroom and I know I have people here that I can lean on when I need help which is really reassuring.”
Johnson also mentions she left the office with satisfaction.
“I feel really happy with the year Randy [Olson] and I have had and I think we both can say we left Student Government better than we found it.”
Looking to build off of Johnson’s success from the last year is a pair of candidates, Jack O’Neil-Como and Kridish Uprety, who are both current members of student government. O’Neil-Como currently serves as Building Manager and Tech Fee Chair while Uprety serves as Cultural Diversity Chair.
O’Neil-Como is a double major in Mass Communications and Communication Studies, while Uprety studies Mechanical Engineering. Running alongside O’Neil-Como is Kayla Shelley, Student Government Urban Affairs Chair. Uprety is matched up with Abegail Holm, a Psychology major.
The University Chronicle spoke to both candidates on a variety of issues:
A rapidly growing topic on campus and throughout our country, is diversity. Both candidates acknowledged SCSU was one of the most diverse campuses in the country, but felt there was still room to grow. Uprety believes one of the greatest issues of diversity on our campus was while students of many different backgrounds exist, they rarely participate in activities together. His hopes if elected are to give students of different backgrounds the opportunity to share their culture each week in Atwood.
O’Neil-Como had a similar idea:
“We plan to create an ad-hoc committee that creates a coalition of student leadership.”
He went on to explain the committee would connect those in Student Government to leaders of cultural groups on campus in order to help them work together to solve problems.
Involvement on campus is something the university has pushed for across the board. This is driven by a belief that students who are involved on campus will gain exclusive skills valuable to the working world.
O’Neil-Como wants to create a higher degree of communication with student organizations and thus be able to help them get access to funding, promotion, or simply become better connected.
“When students are happy and feel not only safe, [they] don’t think of school as just being about classes, but [about] having fun on campus and [are] proud of what they are a part of,” O’Neil-Como said.
Uprety believes student involvement on campus can be increased by targeting the groups least involved. He suggested they “take surveys from students [to find hidden interests] and implement it accordingly to attract students.”
Uprety, who has served in Student Government for nearly a year, is pursuing the Presidential office because he believes the position would give him the opportunity to do more for the SCSU campus. Last year, he was commended for his efforts regarding concerns which arose after Chartwells took Sodexo’s place as the campus food provider. Having worked through some of these issues, Uprety today is a supervisor at Chick-fil-A. But it would be Uprety’s cultural heritage of which he feels sets him apart from other candidates. The Nepal native understands others culturally diversified lifestyles and believes this background will carry over well to potentially serving in office.
Most of all, he would like to thank SCSU for giving him the opportunities he has had on campus. “As the motto says, ‘Think. Do. Make a Difference.’ This is what moved [me] to become a Husky, because every person has a capacity to make a difference in society.”
O’Neil-Como is pursuing Presidential office after nearly three years serving as a member of Student Government. He wants to give students a foundation of leadership they feel they can count on and will listen to their ideas.
“We have no interest in the title, it’s not about being called President or Vice President, we believe students should be what shapes the future of SCSU and higher education,” O’Neil-Como said.
His goal is to establish better communication between student government and other organizations and students on campus. O’Neil-Como concluded by discussing his beliefs of the campus community in saying, “We are all Huskies, we are all a family and community, the pack has to stick together and be strong!”
The 2017 Student Government President and Vice President election will be held March 27-29. Voting will take place online just as it did last year. All SCSU students will receive an email explaining how to vote.
Bailey is a senior at St. Cloud State University pursuing a B.S. in Marketing with an emphasis on Digital Marketing. He is known to hold overly high expectations for the Minnesota Vikings each season.