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Student Senate: General Election Candidate Q&A

Photo courtesy of Drake Student Senate

Meet the candidates for Academic senator positions and the Equity and Inclusion senator! Ballots open online at 8 a.m. April 13, and close the following day at 8 p.m. Results will be announced on April 14 at 9 p.m. on Pomerantz Stage in Olmsted. 

Lilly Ruiter – College of Arts and Sciences

Please provide your name, major(s), school year, pronouns and social media accounts and/or other places where students can learn more about you and your campaign.

Lilly (or Lillian) Ruiter (she/they). Sophomore, I am majoring in American Politics, Law Politics and Society and minoring in philosophy. My Instagram is @lilly.for.senate and my email is lilly.ruiter@drake.edu

 

How do you feel about running uncontested?

I feel conflicted about running uncontested, part of me is surprised that no one else would run when Arts and Sciences is the biggest college and the other part of me feels relieved that I don’t have to campaign against someone else. 

 

How do you plan on making this position your own?

I plan on making this position my own by putting a twist on platforms that Arts and Sciences Senators have had in the past. I also feel as if I bring a different perspective to Arts and Sciences because of my majors and my involvement on campus. 

 

Do you have any initiatives planned? 

Yes, right now I have an initiative linked in my Instagram bio that will ensure Meredith [Hall will] still [have] a gender-neutral bathroom. I have been trying to get into contact for the past couple of months with the Meredith renovation people and they won’t respond which is leading me to believe that they either 1. don’t have anyone to check the email or 2. they are not going to keep the gender-neutral bathrooms. In my position I will be working closely with the Dean so I can better tackle this project [to]be taken seriously then. 

 

Why are you the best person for this position?

I believe I am the best person for this position because of all of the different positions I’ve held on campus. These positions have allowed me to work with a diverse student population and that accurately represents the people who I will be representing.

 

How will you make the time for the duties that are required of this position?

I am so thankful to be asked this question, and I get it a lot. Many people wonder how I have time to be able to hold the positions I do while also having time to be a student and overall a human being. My answer is always: I am a pro at time management, and I hate wasting time. I’d rather spend a whole day in meetings, class, working on projects for my activities and doing homework than spending an hour on TikTok or scrolling through Instagram. I also love being busy and interacting with people!


Kitri Reimer – College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 

Kit Riemer Campaign

 

Please provide your name, major(s), school year, pronouns, and social media accounts and/or other places where students can learn more about you and your campaign.

Kit Reimer, pursuing my Doctorate of Pharmacy & Masters of Business Administration, she/her, personal Instagram: @kitrireimer (DM any questions or email me at kitri.reimer@drake.edu

 

How do you feel about running uncontested?

 I am looking forward to running again and am very excited about the upcoming election!

 

Why did you decide to run again? And continue your work as a senator?

I decided to run again because I felt that I grew and learned a lot from my first time being in Student Senate at Drake. I am very passionate about the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Student Governance Association, which I am the chairperson of as a part of CPHS Academic Senator. I hope to expand awareness about the Student Governance Association and its purpose, as well as further pursue initiatives I started in my term. 

 

Do you have any initiatives planned? 

For my role in SGA, I have been working to help create a CPHS Student Internship/Job Fair next year, which I want to continue planning and working on. I also want to continue the CPHS Student Activities Fair I helped revitalize last year. I was a part of Student Senate’s MCAT/LSAT Preparation Committee, which focused on giving students more opportunities to prepare for their respective entrance exams.  The initiative Student Senate has been working on is not finished yet, and I hope to be working on that with passionate individuals who will work together to create more opportunities for pre-med and pre-law students to feel supported in their aspirations.

 

Why are you the best person for this position?

I have grown in my leadership and collaborative skills over the past year in this position and want to continue developing these. I have goals and initiatives in the works for next year and hope to be considered for re-election [as] Academic Senator of CPHS so I can continue these ideas and work with the 37th session on their goals and initiatives as well, as a now more experienced member of senate that can help guide others.

 

How have you and how will you make the time for the duties that are required of this position?

In graduate school, I have really learned how to balance academics with my extra-curriculars in a way that allows me to be successful and present. Being organized and schedule-oriented has helped me to be an active member of the Senate and will continue to aid me in the coming year.


Luke Gregorie – Zimpleman College of Business

Please provide your name, major(s), year at Drake, pronouns, and social media accounts and/or other places where students can learn more about you and your campaign.

I’m Luke Gregoire, a sophomore majoring in accounting and data analytics. My pronouns are he/him/his. 

 

How do you feel about running uncontested?

I’d like to say that running uncontested hasn’t changed how I view the election but that wouldn’t be the case. To be fully truthful, I haven’t put in my maximum effort in advertising my campaign. I will say that my marketing effort does not reflect my ambition to make the most of the position. I will say that it is somewhat disappointing to see a lack of interest in the position and I hope to be an example of how this role can have a positive impact. 

 

You will be the senator for the first full year after the School of Business was renamed. How do you feel about that?

Being the first senator to represent the Zimpleman College of Business for a full year is something that I’m really excited about. I sit on the National Advisory Council for the college and when the name change happened, there was a lot of excitement from everyone on the board. The Zimpleman’s gift to Drake will help the School of Business to continue to provide an outstanding education to business students. 

 

How will you make the role as Senator your own?

I think the best way to make this role my own is to stay true to myself and communicate as clearly as possible. That will help me provide feedback that best represents business students’ perspectives to the NAC and to the Senate floor.

 

Do you have any initiatives planned? 

One thing I want to focus on is trying to create more of a community among business students. I know a lot of the programs that the business school puts on are focused on external networking. I think there should be more opportunities for business students to network internally. For students not involved in professional fraternities, this could be an important opportunity. 

 

Why are you the best person for this position?

I think I’m the best person for this role because of my experience within the business school and my leadership style. I’m currently an ambassador for the school which has given me insight into how the undergrad office operates and a better look behind the admissions process. I’m also a peer mentor for the class, Business 001. In that role, I’ve been able to connect with first-year students and hear their feedback not only on the class but on their experience as a whole. I’ve already talked about the NAC but if you want more info about what I actually do there just send a follow-up. Outside of the business school and looking at the student senate as a whole, I’m on the Student Fee Allocation Committee which is the treasurer’s board that manages the budgets for student organizations. Besides that list of items, I put full effort into everything I do. I don’t like to put in a subpar effort in anything, especially when I’m a part of a collective. 

 

How will you make the time for the duties that are required of this position?

I’m a very organized person and already have a lot of commitments. I’m stepping back from a few of those to make this position work for my schedule and I have no problem putting this above some of the other things I have going on. I like to keep a consistent schedule and this will just become a part of what I do. 


Eva Kellen – School of Journalism and Mass Communication 

Eva Kellen Campaign Poster

Please provide your name, major(s), year at Drake, pronouns, and social media accounts and/or other places where students can learn more about you and your campaign.

Eva Kellen, double majoring in Public Relations and Strategic Political Communications with a minor in Magazine and Brand Media, sophomore, she/her, Instagram: @eva4sjmc

 

How do you feel about running uncontested?

It definitely takes a lot of weight off of my shoulders in some ways since I don’t have to compete with anybody for the position, but now I have to work extra hard to prove that I am the right person for the job and not just the person who got it by default.

 

How do you plan on making this position your own?

Every candidate who holds the position handles it differently. I am a great listener and have strong interpersonal communication skills, so I will make the position uniquely mine by treating my constituents as my equals and making all of them feel heard.

 

Do you have any initiatives planned? 

One that I would really like to see happen for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is an increase in career and networking development opportunities and events. For a college that Drake is so proud of and is so highly ranked, I do not feel that we have enough professional development opportunities for our students. Things like alumni networking events, job fairs and community outreach programs would be incredible opportunities for our students to reach their career goals.

 

Are you aware of the controversy surrounding the publications? How do you plan on advocating for that? Or do you at all?  

Yes, I am aware of the controversy surrounding the publications. Truthfully, my opinion on it does not matter because I plan to represent SJMC students and advocate for what they are passionate about – including student publications.

 

Why are you the best person for this position?

I am qualified for this position because I am dedicated and honest. I always put 100% effort into my extracurriculars, I will tell the students I am representing the entire truth (outside of items that are confidential, per Senate bylaws) and I refuse to make promises that I am unable to deliver on. 

 

How will you make time for the duties that are required of this position?

This year, I have been commuting nearly an hour each way to get to Drake and working a minimum of four days a week in the Ames area – yet I’ve still been able to make time for all of my current commitments, including my work as the Student Activities Board Relays Co-Chair. I’m very excited to be moving to campus in the fall, as well as reducing my off-campus workdays, which will free up many hours in my weekly schedule and allow me to continue being deeply involved in the Drake community.


Nachy Gardiner – Candidate for Equity and Inclusion Senator 

Nachy Gardiner Campaign

Please provide your name, major(s), school year, pronouns, and social media accounts and/or other places where students can learn more about you and your campaign.

My name is Nachalah Gardiner (Nachy), she/her. I am a senior majoring in Health Sciences, Clinical and Medical Studies, minoring in Neuroscience and a concentration in Global and Comparative Public Health. I can be reached through my Drake email address, nachy.gardiner@drake.edu and Instagram: @nachy_g.

 

How do you plan to make this position your own?

I am not afraid to speak up and offer different insights. By the end of my term, I want to have meaningful contributions made on campus and in students’ lives. I believe that the tiniest action and words can cause a rippling effect amongst us, and with that thinking in mind, I want to use my position and experiences to positively impact everyone. My plan is to be impactful!

 

Why are you the best person for this position?

I come from a family of global leaders and changemakers, and I hope that with my international and cultural background, I can provide a different perspective for the betterment of the students. I can also relate better with other international students on campus who are new to the university, the state and the country itself. I believe to be the best fit to understand the diverse groups here on campus as I am part of them. Since I joined Drake, I had several challenging experiences and certain struggles that made me feel unheard or excluded. I hope to make the campus more inclusive and culturally responsive for other diverse students like me.

 

Do you have any initiatives planned? 

I want to revisit any current initiatives and see how it can be improved to make it more inclusive and culturally responsive to every single student on campus. One of my first actions of duty is to have a meeting with all Diversity Equity and Inclusion position holders and talk about what’s been working and what is lacking on campus. Before any ideas are executed, I want to hear the concerns and input of both domestic and international students. 

 

How will you make the time for the duties required of this position?

I’m always somewhere on campus almost every day, and I try to have flexible hours outside of classes. I love Zoom; hence I will always be available for virtual meetings. I have remote work experience, and online means of communication will always be accessible if ever I am unable to report in person. I volunteered and was part of numerous organizations on campus which taught me to be intentional with my time and to multitask. Therefore, I am confident that I will be able to perform well in the duties required for this position.


Areli Herrera – Candidate for Equity and Inclusion Senator

 

Please provide your name, major(s), school year, pronouns, and social media accounts and/or other places where students can learn more about you and your campaign.

Areli Herrera (she/her) majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Behavioral Analysis of Disabilities. I am a third year and my Instagram is @areli4senate. 

 

How do you plan to make this position your own?

I plan to make this position my own by integrating my own ideas and goals into them. I really want to see more collaborations between the multicultural orgs. I want to make sure the Unity Roundtable is more known on campus and holds an impact. My goals are to hold a multicultural barbeque block party and am willing to hear out the other Unity representatives on ideas they may have. I also plan to make sure there is more communication on my end with the presidents of these organizations to check in and see if Unity can be of any help or if I could bring up any concerns to the Senate that they are experiencing. 

 

Why are you the best person for this position?

I have leadership experiences which would really help me take on this role and a great support system where if I needed help I could get advice. I am good at getting things done and taking initiative. I am extremely passionate about the work I want to do and have collaborated with other organizations already through La Fuerza Latina. I would be very ecstatic if I were elected. 

 

Do you have any initiatives planned? 

As mentioned before, I do have some ideas! I want to be able to hear from other organizations as well and make it a team effort rather than just making ideas and following them along.

 

How will you make the time for the duties required of this position?

I made sure I had the time next year to dedicate myself to this position. I plan to stay organized, and this position will be one of my top priorities. 

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