Why we’re running for Student Union Exec
In light of Student Union elections this coming Wednesday and Thursday, we wanted to introduce ourselves and share why we decided to run. Our slate, Elevate!, is Emma Tyler, Nick Palermo, Vivek Biswas, Brian Benton and Laura Roettges, and together we hope to represent the student body as Student Union Exec for the 2014-15 school year.
Most importantly, we decided to run because we have seen the positive impact Student Union can have on students and the campus community through student-sponsored advocacy, allocation and programming. We have also seen Student Union fail to be accessible, engaging or transparent to the student body in recent years, and we understand that Student Union is not relevant to most students’ everyday lives and many student groups do not engage with their student government beyond appealing to Treasury. In our time at Wash. U., our slate has seen many uncontested elections, unfilled Senate and Treasury seats, decisions made without student input and a failure of Student Union to engage directly with students. We are ready to see that change.
Elevate! wants to work with students and the administration to make Student Union a proactive force on campus that students see as a resource not only for funding, but an outlet for advocacy work and an innovative programming body. Elevate! has been heavily involved inside and outside Student Union in the past, and we believe our time spent in Student Union has allowed us to look at the organization critically and analyze how it can become more relevant to the students. The time is past due for Student Union Exec to actually perform as “your student government” and collaborate with students and the administration to make change on campus.
We created our platform by collecting a variety of student opinions from about 50 student leaders, in addition to reflecting on our own experiences with Student Union and campus life. We hope to make Student Union more accessible to both student groups and individual students by increasing Student Union’s presence on campus and in campus decision making, increase student engagement in both Student Union and campus as a whole through programming and communication, and create more transparency in Student Union by increasing public participation, access to information, and recruitment and retention.
The name Elevate! comes from our mission to raise Student Union’s presence on campus in order to allow it to more effectively advocate based on student needs, allocate based on student wants and program based on student interests. Our platform hopes to represent how the student body and Student Union can work together to create positive change and a more accessible, engaging and transparent campus community.
As a slate, we have identified five objectives we would believe would accomplish this: collaboration with students as the path to a better campus life, increasing public participation in decision making, reforming Student Union’s presence on campus and service to student groups, creating effective, organized co-programming, and internal Student Union developments.
Some of our many ideas to accomplish these goals are to create positions on campus decision-making committees for students, re-introduce the Student Union Public Relations committee to provide free PR services to groups planning events, create a long-term capital improvement and advocacy fund for students to access, start an all-campus programming calendar, and transform the Student Union Election Commission to become a resource for students running for office.
Our full platform can be found at voteelevate.com and provides an outline of how we would accomplish each of our goals and objectives. We encourage everyone to read through our platform, provide feedback and let us know what you would like to see from your new Student Union exec by emailing us at [email protected]
We look forward to a continued conversation about how Student Union can better our campus community and working together with many of you inside and outside of Student Union.
-Emma Tyler, Nick Palermo, Vivek Biswas, Brian Benton and Laura Roettges