LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Hello bulldogs. My name is Josh Duden and I am the current Vice President of Student Life for the Student Senate and, newly, I am a candidate for Drake University’s Student Body President.
I write this more as an open note to the students, where I hope to articulate my platform in a way that is easy to understand and approachable.
The primary role of the student body president is to advocate to the administration, Board of Trustees and other student organizations in order to make our student experience better.
It sounds easy, but it is so much more than simply speaking here and there on behalf of the student body — it is seeking out opportunities to make the student experience all it can be.
As president I fully intend to advocate for more intentional campus programming and a stronger budget to support student organizations.
I promise to seek opportunities with the entire senate to collaborate, not through a set number of goals that may be smaller, but with intentional and large-scale goals that serve the student body in a more quality and effective way.
How do we do this though? It begins by being open and available to students as a president and Senate.
I promise as president I will make myself available whenever called upon, but I will also ensure the Senate and the outreach thereof is reformed to better serve the students.
It is more than a Facebook page. It is being present within the student experience.
This advocacy as a nonpartisan leader representing all students can make all the difference.
As president, I will bolster the organizational council by ensuring it properly supports student organizations, I will expand the role of the President’s Panel to increase communication and collaboration among the governing bodies and I will mentor Senate to be inclusive and progressive in ensuring our experiences are the best they can be.
I will identify the challenges that face the student body, like finances or diversity and acceptance for instance.
We can find solutions if we are open to recognizing our problems and that all begins with advocacy.
Among these problems includes diversity, where our school so often struggles with confronting it as the difficult issue that it is.
One of the largest challenges that faces our student body is our financial situation as it currently stands.
Though finances are largely under the purview of the Vice President of Student Life and the Student Body Treasurer, the President can provide support ways that are unconventional, yet from a place of mentorship and support.
If elected, I promise to ask the right questions and re-emphasize the importance of fiscal responsibility, but also a willingness to use student funds to make our experiences better than ever before.
We shouldn’t be afraid to spend the money that we trust the Senate with, and it deserves to re-manifest as tangible changes, programs, resources and other means for the entire student body.
While serving as Vice President of Student Life this past year, I spent much of my time seeking out ways to address diversity.
The Crucial Conversations Series has been a project I am most passionate about, where it aims to bring large-scale, recognizable leaders and celebrities to campus to discuss change and the need to be inclusive, open-minded and aware of the privilege we have as a student body.
We come from diverse backgrounds and have diverse majors, but there is so much more to our experience than what we can see.
As president, I will make sure the Crucial Conversations Series manifests and in a year of transition for Drake University.
We will have regular conversations, speakers and events to discuss important issues such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, relationships, language and many more facets of diversity in an unprecedented way.
We owe it to each other to have these conversations so that we can truly be the best campus in the nation.
I hope to support diversity-interest organizations by providing marketing, organizational and other support in any way that is asked of me and the Senate.
Further, I hope that the voices of our diverse population become stronger than ever before by bolstering the Unity Round Table and opening up greater modes of communication than have existed in the history of our Senate. It begins with a conversation, but it ends with our hope of being more accepting and understanding of others and our differences than ever before.
If elected, I promise to focus on changes that students want. The Senate 60 was a remarkable idea and it has been an honor working on over 12 goals on the list while also providing support and oversight as VP for the Senate, but 60 is too many.
We need to focus our goals to making tangible changes by collaborating with others to advance the student experience.
This means continuing the Olmsted renovations that we began back in the 27th Session when I was the Buildings and Grounds Senator and by finishing the implementation of bigger projects like the Crucial Conversations series.
More examples would include: Expanding the water bottle initiative and recycling program in an effort to increase sustainability on campus and supporting programs and events around campus like Dogtown Afterhours or the Henrietta Lacks Immortal Conversation, which is sponsored by the Coalition of Black Students (CBS).
As students, we deserve intentional programming, student organizational support, and an outstanding experience that can be receptive to student opinions and concerns as the year continues.
Sixty goals limited our ability to be responsive to students’ wants and needs.
If elected, I promise tangible changes in the form of 15-20 adaptable goals that continuously advance and expand a remarkable student experience.
This means that students deserve a recognizable Relays band, a student life center that caters to your needs, technology that serves you in your academics, and fun experiences and traditions specific to Drake.
This is our home. Let’s make it the best it can be.
I have the experience as an executive of the student senate to make these changes happen, but even more so, I am so passionate about Senate and Drake that I promise not to let you down.
DU it with Duden. #Duden4DU.