Student Government candidate profiles: Emi Thornton

Emi Thornton is one of the candidates running to represent the College of Design on Student Government

Emi Thornton is one of the candidates running to represent the College of Design on Student Government

Finn Mcnally

Iowa State Student Government election polls open Monday. There is one seat on the ballot represented by the College of Design. Emi Thornton (they/them), a senior in architecture-professional degree, is one of the two candidates running to serve as a senator for the college.

Why do you feel qualified to serve in Student Government?

I’ve had different leadership positions growing up. As a high schooler, I introduced freshmen and sophomores to school as a crew leader. I’ve also been a [Destination Iowa State] leader, so I’ve got different leadership opportunities. I also feel qualified to have tough conversations between faculty and students. I have the ability to get straight to the point and say, “This is not working.” I also feel like I’m qualified because I’m approachable and outgoing.

How do you plan to serve your constituents?

What I plan on doing is maintaining the Instagram page that I have for the election. I’ll use that to continue outreach to students and say, “Please use this to message me directly.” I will make an effort to not just go to the office but go to parks or anywhere else on campus that’s convenient for you. I’m open to extensive office hours. What I really want to hear is the grievances from the students. The footwork part of it would be being a loud and proud senator, making Student Government more known in the College of Design.

What are some of the biggest issues you feel need to be addressed in the next year?

In terms of campaign points, I want to facilitate transparent communication between faculty and students in the College of Design and on a broader scale, [like] input from students on what lecturers visit and what events are hosted. I would love to be able to send out surveys to students and ask, “What are you interested in learning about?” and have a mixture of what students want to learn and what faculty thinks would benefit our learning.

Mid-semester review for professors, I think, would really benefit our college and help out in instances where a student has a grievance that doesn’t need to go straight to the dean. It could help tweak teaching styles to just help with everything instead of just waiting till the end of the semester, where you might never see that professor again.

Specifically for the College of Design, I would like to increase spending for the college. Design students need lots of programs on top of their laptops, and that can be expensive. These programs are a necessity in the design world, so I want to make it so that access to these programs would be free.

Another issue is that we have men’s bathrooms and women’s bathrooms, but we don’t have a gender-neutral bathroom. We have a family bathroom in the basement, but that is not the same thing. If queer students do know about it because it’s not well-advertised, if they’re on the fifth floor they have to go all the way down to the basement to go to the bathroom. I also want to end the culture of staying up late and getting two hours of sleep. I feel very passionate about what I could do for this college because I want students to love being a design student.

Outside of those issues, what are the goals you hope to accomplish?

I’m very open to what students want out of the College of Design, and I want this to be more than just my ideas as a senator. I want to challenge the idea that you should get very little sleep. The first two years, there’s a lot of that, but after that, it’s not as much of a thing. I think it’s weird when teachers will joke about students getting no sleep and being addicted to coffee. I think there needs to be more of a conversation about mental health and how that related to the culture of the College of Design. I would like to talk to more students about whether this culture could discourage people from staying in design.

Why do you think it is crucial the College of Design has an equal role in government?

I think it’s important that someone is representing the College of Design, someone with passion who really cares about the college, who wants it to be better than when they first came in. I don’t think the college was bad when I came in, but there’s always areas we can improve in.