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Senate Elections Student Senate

Meet your Student Senate executive candidates: Vice President of Student Life

Executive elections for the 31st session of Drake Student Senate begin March 23 at 8 a.m. and continue through March 24 until 8 p.m. Students will get a chance to elect four candidates to the four executive positions: Student Body Treasurer, Vice President of Student Life, Vice President of Student Activities and Student Body President.

There are currently two students who have announced their candidacy for vice president of student life:

 Anna Gleason | sophomore, graphic design major

What role should the position you are seeking play in making Drake University a high-quality institution?

Vice President of Student Life largely serves as the overseer of senate affairs & operations, & ensures the successful functioning of such. Therefore, the successful functioning of a student government meant to accurately represent the student body directly correlates to the overall quality of an institution.

What top three goals/priorities do you hope to address during your term in office? What makes you qualified to achieve these goals?

In order to ensure that I am not making false promises or empty claims to the student body, my goals/initiatives for this position primarily derive directly from current goals/initiatives I have focused on within my term as a senator-at-large & therefore alongside each I reference current examples of such in order to demonstrate my qualifications:

1. Sexual violence advocacy, prevention, & resources: Under VP Kane, the 30th session was able to create the sexual violence ad hoc committee. I am the only sitting committee member with the intent of returning to senate & so my hope is that as VPSL I can continue to oversee the efforts of & sustain the current work being done by the committee. Additionally, I firmly believe that empirical voices & perspectives in conversations centered around sexual violence are imperative.

2. Organizational collaboration: With the number of active student organizations on Drake’s campus, the availability for collaboration is immense. As VPSL, I plan to enhance senate’s efforts of collaborating with other student organizations & fortify the relationship between the two. My committee throughout the 30th session has made a priority of collaborating with organizations like SAB, UNICEF, SAA, & La Fuerza Latina, to name a few, in our efforts. By demonstrating organizational collaboration within my committee, I hope similar efforts are continued in the senate body.

3. Effective communication, transparency, & an improved relationship with the student body. The 30th session took a number of measures in order to increase the overall accessibility of senate (e.g., voting results & a publicized & updated budget posted in the breezeway, posting agendas before the meeting, increased publicity of office hours, etc.) & I hope to continue these efforts into the 31st session. By both increasing senate’s visibility & enhancing our collaboration with other campus organizations, my intent is that the relationship between senate & the student body is less contentious.

What motivated you to run for office? What do you hope to get out of this experience?

As students, I see it as imperative that we are taking active roles in the advancement of our university when possible— this has been a major factor in my decision to participate in student government since as early as 8th grade. Second, the sustainability of the sexual violence ad hoc committee is extremely important to me. Lastly, I personally find representation of traditionally marginalized identities in leadership positions & such to be especially impactful & so as a queer & disabled woman I feel a high level of personal empowerment in holding an executive position on student senate.

 Nick Johnston | first-year, biochemistry, cellular, and molecular biology major

What role should the position you are seeking play in making Drake University a high-quality institution?

The Vice President of Student Life is a great position for working on both internal senate functions as well as external Drake concerns. The Vice President of Student Life is essentially the chief student administrator for the senate. Therefore, I believe it is the VPSL’s role to ensure a high level of functioning for the senate and encourage other senators to stay true to their platforms as well as their constituents’ needs. At times, I believe that this requires that the VPSL discipline senators who fail to meet expectations and maintain the integrity of the senate.

The Vice President of Student Life also serves as an executive member of the senate. This allows the VPSL to work as a liaison between the Drake student body, the Drake Student Senate, and the Drake administration. The VPSL should be constantly listening the community and bringing items of importance the floor of the senate as well as communicating these concerns to the administration, when appropriate.

What top three goals/priorities do you hope to address during your term in office? What makes you qualified to achieve these goals?

The Vice President of Student Life is responsible for running the First-Year Interest Committee preceding the election of the First-Year Senator. I want to ensure that the committee is well equipped to take on challenges facing the first-year class and has an experienced member of the Senate to help guide them. As the current First-Year Senator, I am in a unique position to understand the challenges next year’s First-Year Interest Committee may face and what goals they can pursue.

I want to ensure that students on campus, particularly first-years, have adequate access to safety resources on our campus. This year I’ve been working

with Drake Public Safety and other senators to ensure that the Rave Guardian app (an app designed to help protect students who feel unsafe walking on campus or in the Des Moines area) is well advertised, especially during Welcome Weekend. I’ve already started working with others on a series of projects aimed at helping students understand how the app is useful and why it’s important to download it. I hope to continue these initiates as Vice President of Student Life, as this project will likely transcend my current term in the senate.

I want to promote close collaboration with organizations on campus and more actively encourage the senate to defer to groups with more knowledge when necessary. This year as First-Year Senator, I’ve made it a priority to rotate around to the first-year halls and ask for ideas and feedback on various initiatives. This has been a tremendous resource to my position, and I think that it highlights the important concept of active engagement with the community and the senate. We, as senators, should constantly be listening to what the community has to say. As Vice President of Student Life, I will encourage the Senate to regularly retrieve feedback from organizations and/or individuals on campus as I have been doing personally in my position.

What motivated you to run for office? What do you hope to get out of this experience?

I’ve immensely enjoyed my time as First-Year Senator in the Drake Student Senate. Taking the concerns of the students that I represent and manifesting them into action has been and honor and a privilege unlike anything else in my college career. I want to take my experience to the next level of service to the student body, and I’ve decided to run to make the senate the best version of itself that it can be. I hope to gain satisfaction in promoting the needs of the Drake community in our student government, and having conversations with students about how to improve our campus.

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