Wednesday, April 12, the “Hilltop Monitor” moderated the 2017 Student Senate debate. The polls open Thursday, April 13 and continue through Easter weekend. The three running cabinets answered questions from the “Hilltop Monitor’s” editor-in-chief Brett Stone, followed by questions from the live audience and those streaming online. The questions ranged from alcohol policy to chicken tender Thursdays with responses highlighting each cabinet’s unique composition and stances on the issues.
The Beard is a cabinet comprised of all independent, sophomore student-athletes running on a community-centric platform to make the voices and concerns of Jewell students heard. Ethan Weilant is a sophomore economics and business administration major running for president. Hannah Waine, a sophomore economics and math major, is the cabinet’s vice president with Justice Taylor, a sophomore physics major, running for treasurer and Sam Sullivan, a sophomore communications and interactive digital media major, running as secretary. The cabinet’s platform includes more student autonomy such as the choice of commuter food plans for Juniors, off campus housing for seniors with at least a 3.0 GPA and reform for the alcohol policy to focus more on student safety, rather than fear of punishment.
The Beard mentioned several times during the debate that they have been going to extra effort this past week and one half to ask students about their concerns and opinions. One of the unique initiatives of the Beard is to bring about more education and safer alternatives to drunk driving, which they see as an issue to be addressed on campus.
Their community-centric campaign wants to create incentives for student attendance at events. Among these four athletes, three sports are represented, and the Beard intends to invest serious effort into addressing the concerns of student athletes, which accounts for a significant portion of the student population. However, due to sporting commitments, Waine and Sullivan were unable to attend the debate. The livestreaming audience raised a question of time management for student athletes running student senate since half of their cabinet was unable to attend.
“I believe we will have plenty of time,” said Taylor “Running this cabinet is not always going to be a specific time sensitive thing.”
Taylor acknowledged that full presence may not always be guaranteed, but he is certain that their cabinet will definitively have time to get the job done.
Listen, Plan, Act (LPA) is a cabinet campaign led by first-year oxbridge major Jeremy Hofman as president. The cabinet includes junior physics and math major Macy Tush as vice president, junior Seki Anderson, a junior biochemistry and ACTI-In as treasurer, and first-year, chemistry and communications major Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe as secretary. Hofman is the only cabinet-member with experience as a student senator, however, their cabinet represents as wide range of student organizations, such as Greek life, Pryor Fellowship, feminist club, University Innovation Fellows, QUILTBAG, the “Hilltop Monitor” and multiple honor societies.
LPA is focused on senate communication, empowering student organizations, Title IX education and accountability, implementing an effective student mentorship program and reforming the alcohol policy. Their platform is action-oriented and they describe their promise of action as the distinguisher of this cabinet. LPA aims to increase student autonomy and make Jewell’s overall environment safer in order to make sure the students feel heard and trusted.
LPA brought a unique response to the question of sustainability on campus and Jewell’s environmental responsibility. All cabinets were adamant about continuing and encouraging recycling programs, but LPA mentioned the solar and wind energy usage on campus. Tush mentioned the potential for furthering those sustainable energy efforts and expanding their utilization at Jewell.
“By enacting change, empowering the student body and improving communication, we will change the way that senate does business,” said Hofman. “Which means we will not dodge accountability, [but rather] embrace accountability, and engage students in all that we do.”
Moving Jewell Forward is the campaign that includes presidential candidate Junior Political science major Drew Novak. The cabinet’s vice president, sophomore nursing and ACT-In major Luce-Virlynn Apollon, is serving as the current Student Senate Cabinet’s treasurer. The cabinet also includes first-years Chris Choe, an oxbridge major, as secretary and Jacob Dice, a physics, economics and math major, as treasurer. This cabinet is focused on innovative policies and effective student government, which they strongly feel is attainable with Novak and Apollon’s past senate experience combined with the creative ideas brought to the table by Choe ad Dice’s fresh perspectives. Moving Jewell Forward believes their senate experience and preexisting relations with the administration, such as Student Life and the Board of Trustees, will aid them in effective action as a cabinet. They plan to continue forward with the progress they’ve already made such as conversations regarding alcohol policy, Title IX awareness and chicken tender Thursday.
“Complacency with our accomplishments only leads to their disintegration,” said Novak. Multiple times this cabinet reiterated the significance of student senate, explaining the intricacies of diplomatic relations with administration, and the expertise needed to continue the progresses that the current senate has achieved.
“The next cabinet will hold in its hands the ability to make decisions that will fundamentally change this campus for the next decade,” said Novak “Our cabinet is the only cabinet that is prepared to meet these challenges and to deal with this. Our cabinet is the most experienced and has the most intellectual capability to achieve these.”
The full video of the student senate debate is available on the “Hilltop Monitor’s” Facebook page.