Times-Delphic: As vice president of student life, what will your first steps be to improve Drake?
Josh Duden: As vice president of student life, I hope that I can begin by preparing for the next year, and that starts now. We officially have the 28th Session, and it is my job to make sure they are prepared for all that is about to come at them. President Gale and myself, as well as Vice President of Student Activities Adam Graves have hit the ground running to be prepared sooner, have transitions earlier and have shadowing experiences so that there is no lag between semesters. We are constantly working to improve the student experience. After the preparation, I will work with each senator to ensure that we are working to effectively collaborate with organizations, and working to bring capital projects to fruition, hopefully through the use of the Quasi Endowment.
TD: What do you believe is the most important issue Drake faces and that you plan to address immediately?
JD: I think the most important issue has to be a lack of communication in nearly all facets. Student organizations don’t have the direct means to work with one another, Senate has struggled connecting and hearing the needs of students, and the faculty and administration seem insulated from the needs and desires of students. I hope to fix this. I hope that while in office myself and the entire 28th Session can work together to connect organization-to-organization, and to connect faculty and staff with the wants and needs of students by opening new lines of communication among each division of the school. We have the means to fix this issue and reach new heights as a university, but we just need to reach out, and that is exactly what I plan to do.
TD: What are your goals for your term?
JD: My Top-3 priorities for the Student Senate include accountability, interconnectedness and continued dedication to results. These are important because Senate can and should be accountable to the students. That is the job of the VP to lead the senators in a manner that they are accountable for their actions and promises to the student body. For interconnectedness, it is more than transparency. It is the willingness to reach out and include other organizations in a manner that helps them grow and develop, as well as making campus better overall. As for continued commitment to results, it is extraordinarily important to continue a commitment to tangible results to campus — a duty of Senate’s above all else. I hope to connect organization-to-organization and student-to-student to work to achieve more than we have before. I also hope to bring more capital projects to campus, where real change can only be seen by delivering real results.
TD: What are you most excited for?
JD: Honestly? I am so excited for everything! I am so humbled and excited to have been elected, and more so I am excited to work alongside President Gale and VPSA Graves, as well as the entire 28th Session. I can already tell we will be a close-knit team, as well as strong individual leaders dedicated to change. It will be so much work, but every second is worth it.
TD: What challenges will you have to overcome in order to carry out your goals?
JD: A lot of challenges will be recognizing that Senate governs, and that means it is slow and deliberate with its operations in order to make sure we aren’t hasty or presumptive to specific situations, like renovations for example. Though the process is slow, I can say without a doubt that it is worth it. Senate can and will do so much.
TD: How will you work alongside President Joey Gale to ensure that both his goals and yours are fulfilled?
JD: This is a great question, but what is really exciting is that President Gale and I have very similar goals, and after several conversations and hours spent with him, we are so willing to help one another. They have changed from his goals and my goals to our goals, and that is really important. We are ready and willing to lead as a team, and that will do great things for the student body.