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Meet the 2023 Student Senate Candidates: Vice President of Student Activities

Photo courtesy of Drake Student Senate

Meet the 2023 Student Senate Candidates

Voting for the Drake Student Senate elections open on Thursday, March 30 at 8 a.m. and will remain open until the following day at 8 p.m. The election will most likely go into a runoff in which case polls will reopen at 8 a.m. on April 3 and close April 4 at 8 p.m. Results will again be read at Pomerantz Stage in Olmsted Center at 9 p.m.  


Vice President of Student Activities

Bernadeth Lapore

Please provide your name, what you’re studying, school year, pronouns, and social media accounts and/or other places where students can learn more about you and your campaign. 

Bernadeth Lapore (she/her/hers) is studying Elementary Education endorsing in Special Education and Teaching English as a Second Language. She’s a junior, and her campaign account is @lapore4vpsa on Instagram.

 

How would you describe the role of the Vice President of Student Activities? 

In my own opinion, the role of the Vice President of Student Activities is to mainly oversee the Student Activities Board (SAB), as VPSA’s dual role is to be SAB’s President, which has the privilege and responsibility to coordinate student activities and events on campus. 

In addition, the VPSA also supports and advises student clubs and organizations, collaborates with other student government leaders to plan and execute campus-wide initiatives and events. [VPSA also] ensures that funds are allocated properly in SAB, encourages student engagement and participation in campus life and serves as a liaison between student organizations and the school administration. Not only that, but the VPSA also has the honor of being part of the voting members of Drake University’s governing body. 

 

Why should the student body choose you to fulfill this role?

The student body should choose me to fulfill the role of VPSA because of my experience being on the board for two years now. I have seen what worked well and what still needs improvement. When elected VPSA, I promise to fulfill my goals of relationships, equity and inclusion and consistency, along with the ideas and goals of the student body that highlights [the] Drake community. I will dedicate my time in ensuring to create an engaging, inclusive, supportive and vibrant campus community. 

 

What are your goals for this position? What issues do you plan to address, and/or what initiatives do you plan to start or continue? If you have platform points for your campaign, please list them and explain the meaning and goals behind each one. 

 

RELATIONSHIP: 

I want to discuss how I would like to build, strengthen and expand relationships with SAB’s executive board members and general members, Student Senate, other organizations and the student community as a whole. 

Building strong relationships is essential for our success as individuals, as well as for the success of our college community. We all have different backgrounds, perspectives and ideas, but we share a common goal: to create a vibrant, inclusive and supportive campus environment. 

To achieve this, we need to work together and build bridges of understanding and cooperation. We need to engage with each other, listen to each other’s ideas and collaborate to achieve common goals. 

To build strong relationships, I want to establish open communication channels. I will also do everything in my power to make sure that the events being put out by SAB are accessible, approachable and responsive to the concerns and ideas of the student body. 

Providing constructive feedback that can help the executive and general members of SAB improve their performances and organization as a team is one of the few actions I will be taking. 

Similarly, we need to strengthen our relationships with other organizations on campus. We need to find common ground, share resources and work together to create events and initiatives that benefit the entire community. We should also seek to learn from each other’s experiences and expertise, which can help us grow as individuals and as a community. Continuing to participate in other organizational events is one of the few actions I will be taking. 

Lastly, we need to expand relationships that we may not have built before in the past. This can be challenging, but it’s essential for our growth and progress as a community. We need to approach these situations with an open mind, a willingness to listen and a commitment to finding common ground. One of the few actions I will be taking to ensure this is to communicate with other student organizations and as many students as I can to hear them out regarding their concerns and ideas to collaborate more. 

In conclusion, building, strengthening and expanding relationships are crucial for our success as individuals and as a community. We need to work together, communicate openly and collaborate to create a vibrant, inclusive, and supportive campus environment. 

I hope to have everyone commit to this goal and let us work together to achieve it. 

If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out via email: bernadeth.lapore@drake.edu.

 

EQUITY AND INCLUSION: 

SAB holds the most events on campus which is why if elected VPSA, I would use my dual role on SAB (SAB president), I want to ensure that the events being put out by SAB are welcoming, inclusive and accessible to all members of the Drake community which is one of the many responsibilities of an organization. We live in a diverse and vibrant community, and it’s essential that we reflect this diversity in our events. We should strive to make everyone feel valued, respected, and included, regardless of their background, culture or identity. 

To achieve this, we need to embrace a culture of equity and inclusion. We need to examine our assumptions, biases and privileges and challenge ourselves to do better. We need to seek out and listen to the perspectives and experiences of those who have been marginalized or excluded in the past and work to center their voices in our events. 

If elected as VPSA, I would like to use the dual role of VPSA and SAB President to take practical steps to promote equity and inclusion in our events. For example, we can: 

  • Ensure that our events are accessible to people with disabilities by providing ASL interpretation, closed captioning and wheelchair access. 
  • Use inclusive language in our marketing and communications, and avoid using language that may be offensive or exclusionary. 
  • Celebrate and highlight the diversity of our community by showcasing different cultures, traditions and identities in our events. 
  • Be considerate of all holidays and plan events accordingly 
  • Consider the impact of our events on different communities and work to mitigate any negative effects. 

 

If elected VPSA, I have a unique opportunity to promote equity and inclusion on campus. My actions can be a role model for other organizations, and we can create a positive impact that goes beyond our events. I would also like to hold a space where all student organizations as well as the rest of the student body can come and speak about the issues they would like to see addressed by speakers/events we bring to campus. 

I hope to have everyone commit to this goal and let us work together to create a more equitable, inclusive and welcoming campus community. 

 

CONSISTENCY 

As the Vice President of Student Activities, I believe that consistency is key to our success as the largest event organizer on campus. Consistency is not only essential for our own organization’s growth and development, but it’s also critical in maintaining strong relationships with executive board members, other organizations and the student community at large. It’s also integral in upholding equity and inclusion in all our events. 

When elected as VPSA, I would use my position on Senate as well as the Student Activities Board to maintain the first two platforms I have mentioned, and I will work for Drake’s campus to both trust me in the work I will do as VPSA and as a voting member of our governing body. I will be open about what my votes are, how we’re utilizing SAB funds and my existence within these organizations. If elected as VPSA, I promise to be consistent both with my team and the general Drake population. 

Consistency helps us to establish trust and credibility with the Drake community. SAB’s executive board and general members, other organizations and the student community rely on VPSA to deliver high-quality and welcoming events consistently. This trust is essential in building and maintaining positive relationships, which is key to achieving the goals of the Drake community. 

Consistency also helps us to uphold equity and inclusion in all our events. I want to ensure that we are consistent in our efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of our community. I will consistently challenge myself to center marginalized voices and perspectives and make events accessible to all members of our community. 

To achieve consistency, we need to: 

  • Establish clear guidelines and procedures for planning and executing events. These guidelines should be easily accessible to all members of our organization and should be consistently enforced. 
  • Ensure that all members of our organization are aligned with our organizational goals and values, and are consistently working towards these goals. 
  • Communicate regularly with our executive board members, other organizations and the student community to provide updates on our progress and seek feedback on our performance. 
  • Provide opportunities for members to give feedback on our events and our organizational practices, and consistently use this feedback to improve. 

In conclusion, consistency is essential for VPSA to be successful in this position to ensure that the Drake community is maintaining strong relationships with executive board members, other organizations and the student community, as well as upholding equity and inclusion in all our events. 

 

What qualifications do you have that are relevant to this position, such as involvement with organizations on or off-campus? How have they prepared you for this position? 

During my time at Drake, I have been involved in the Student Activities Board as the Vice President of Marketing as well as Digital Media co-chair. I am also a member of Kappa Delta Pi and Drake Education Association. I have worked in leadership, communication, outreach, event planning, promoting events and community engagement outside of Drake. I have become a better person and a better leader as a result of each of these different experiences. 

Through my involvement as a student leader, I will use my previous developed skills to lead [the] Student Activities Board in a vigorous, significant and exciting manner with the goal of fostering an inclusive, supportive and collaborative Drake environment. 

How will you ensure that you and/or the Student Senate represent the interests of the student body? 

I will have to reiterate my goals to building relationships with the student body to hear everyone out regarding their concerns and ideas to create a more equitable, inclusive and welcoming campus community, and keeping myself accountable to consistently check in with myself as VPSA and the rest of students who are sitting on Student Senate because our positions are privileges and shouldn’t be taken for granted. 

What’s your favorite part of the Drake Relays? 

All events during Drake Relays week has its own uniqueness and I enjoy them a lot, although my favorite part of the Drake Relays will have to be Painted Street. I love witnessing students get together to paint their squares to represent their organizations and coming together to create a welcoming and creative event. 


Daja Lucas

 

Please provide your name, what you’re studying, school year, pronouns, and social media accounts and/or other places where students can learn more about you and your campaign.

My name is Daja Lucas (She/Her/Hers). I am a computer science major with a minor in Marketing and Graphic Design. My campaign Instagram is @daja4dusenate.

 

How would you describe the role of the Vice President of Student Activities?

I would describe The Role of Vice President of Student Activities as an advocate for the student activities that are hosted for the student body. This is also a dual role between Senate and SAB, so this role also entails having the privilege of being the Student Activity Board president.

 

Why should the student body choose you to fulfill this role?

I think that the student body should choose me to fulfill the role because I have goals that align with some of the feedback that I have heard from being a SAB board member. I also have experience being a part of both the student senate and student activity board.

 

What are your goals for this position? What issues do you plan to address, and/or what initiatives do you plan to start or continue?

As part of this question, if you have platform points for your campaign, you can list them and explain the meaning and goals behind each one.

I have five platforms for my campaign and they consist of: Transparency, Inclusivity, Prioritizing Student Input, Collaboration and Involvement.

 

Transparency:

With my dual role of VPSA and SAB president, I would prioritize trying to be more transparent with students on what events are being hosted and try to give a little more detail on how those events were thought of. I would try to achieve this goal by trying to give SAB road maps either semesterly or monthly if possible so that students can know what events to expect or at least events that are in the process of being planned.

Another way that I could increase transparency is by having a physical in-person meet at the board event for SAB before the first event for that academic year officially starts. This year SAB made a board for social media posts which was a truly amazing idea! And I feel that having those two ideas coexist will be a very great way to increase overall transparency.

 

Inclusivity:

Drake University’s campus is a developing community of many students from all aspects of life and cultural backgrounds. I think that it is very important that we make sure that the activities being hosted on campus reflect the community here at Drake, that no one is being left out because they are not the majority of the Drake demographic here on campus.

If elected as VPSA, I would use my dual role on SAB to push for the board to create more events that are outside of the normal events that are usually hosted so that we are able to capture the uniqueness in the different students that are a part of the Drake community. Increasing inclusivity is a very big part of strengthening the community here at Drake University, and it would be one of my main goals/objectives if I am elected.

 

Prioritizing student input:

The student body at Drake University is the biggest and most important part of what makes Drake a community. If I am elected as VPSA, I want to increase some of the ways that student input is used when forming student activities. I also know that student input is useless if it is not actually used and fulfilled.

If elected, I would try to implement a survey that would be sent to students at the beginning of the summer so that we will be able to gauge what the student body would like to see on campus. I think it will also be helpful to send out another survey at the end of the semester while also sending out a survey so that students can rate the event that they attended.

 

Collaboration:

One of my goals as VPSA would be to continue to increase collaboration. I think this is an important way for us to continue to grow as a community and it will also help with making sure that we are communicating with each other on student activities and possibly even decrease the repetitiveness of certain events during the year.

Also, another very important thing that I would want to change if elected as VPSA is the way that we go about collaborating. I realize that during that process there can be a lack of communication and sometimes people can walk away feeling that there was a lack of effort on one person’s end. So I would try to look into doing a training or even a meeting with more specifically the SAB Board on how to properly collaborate. If not training then at least a board conversation so that that problem can be helped.

 

Involvement:

In order to continue to strengthen the community that we have here at Drake University, I think it is very important that we all pitch in to be involved on campus.

Focusing on SAB specifically, I have recognized being a board member for the current academic year that there is a lack of physical involvement and active support for some of the other events hosted by other organizations. As VPSA I will make it one of my main goals to prioritize the increase in this involvement and visibility within the Drake community.

 

What qualifications do you have that are relevant to this position, such as involvement with organizations on or off-campus? How have they prepared you for this position?

I am currently involved in three student organizations on Drake University’s campus. I am the University Services Senator At-Large for the 36th session of student senate. I am also the solo co-chair for Free Movie Friday for the Student Activity Board. Lastly, I am the secretary for the Coalition of Black Students. Along with my involvement in those student organizations, I am also a part of the Adams Leadership Institute.

These positions have prepared me for the position of VPSA because they have allowed me to take on leadership roles where I can observe what a true leader looks like and also how to effectively be a true leader. I was able to see the differences between being on student senate and being on the student activity board and how they function differently but also the same. I was also able to see some of the problems and make possible solutions. 

Another way that my position as Free Movie Friday co-chair has prepared me for this position specifically is I was able to implement one of my current campaign platforms which is collaboration. I was able to collaborate with organizations on a smaller scale and see how much of an impact it made on that position, and now I know that it will make a bigger difference if I am elected as VPSA.

 

How will you ensure that you and/or the Student Senate represent the interests of the student body?

I think the biggest way that I would do this is by increasing transparency. Whether that is by sending out surveys at the beginning of the year and also asking the student body to rate their experience at some of the activities being hosted on campus. This is a major way that we can make sure that we are representing the student body correctly.

And another way to ensure that the Student Senate is representing the student body as a whole would be to continue to increase the way that we allow the student body to voice their opinions. Whether that is making it more public that Thursday Student Senate meetings are open and students are able to come and speak. Or just increasing the publicization of our office hours that we have every week.

 

What’s your favorite part of the Drake Relays?

I would say that I have two favorite parts of Drake Relays. It is extremely hard to just pick one thing that stands out the most to me to be deemed my favorite part. I absolutely enjoy and always look forward to the Step show/ Stroll off that is hosted by NPHC. And then I also very much enjoy Painted Street and looking at how the squares just transform the walkway and the overall feel of Drake’s campus.

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