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StuGov presidential candidates debate Jack Trice concerts, sexual assault prevention

Student+Government+President+Jennifer+Holliday+and+Finance+Director+Martin+Hursh+debating+the+feasibility+and+purpose+of+a+free+concert+at+Jack+Trice+Stadium+for+Iowa+State+Students.+
Brielle Tuttle
Student Government President Jennifer Holliday and Finance Director Martin Hursh debating the feasibility and purpose of a free concert at Jack Trice Stadium for Iowa State Students.

Iowa State Student Government Presidential Candidates Jennifer Holliday and Martin Hursh discussed what their campaigns could offer to students during the Student Government debate Tuesday in the Memorial Union.

Holliday, who is currently Student Government President, is a junior studying agriculture studies, journalism and mass communication and international agriculture. She said the decision to run for reelection was because “there is more work that needs to be done.”

“Student government is one of the most important opportunities for students of Iowa State University to voice their wants, their needs, their opinions and also for us to develop the best programs and policies for student success,” Holliday said.

Hursh, a sophomore in economics, is currently the Student Government finance director and manages the over $2.6 million collected for the student activity fee, and chairs the committee that helps student organizations receive funding.

“There is no organization on campus better equipped to make your life better than the student government,” Hursh said.

Diversity

Both candidates expressed a shared commitment to promoting diversity in the Iowa State community. They stressed the importance of inclusivity and the need for increased representation in Student Government and student organizations.

Holliday said she hopes to expand the students on the Iowa State University Police Department’s advisory board to make underrepresented students feel more involved.

“[The police] are so willing to see and hear our voices,” Holliday said. “By collaborating with them, we can make sure that there are more opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds and voices to be heard.”

Hursh said he would create an International Career Fair to benefit international students, who represent 9% of the total student population.

“It’s important that they have access to employers that are equipped and ready to talk about international students either staying in the United States or going abroad and keeping an internship,” Hursh said.

Holliday spoke about collaborating with the International Students and Scholars Office to develop a mentorship program between international and domestic students.

The candidates condemned sexual assault and agreed that it is crucial to have resources available for all students.

“No student here at Iowa State deserves to feel unsafe … we need to be proactive in preventing sexual assaults on this campus,” Hursh said.

Holliday emphasized the importance of controlling the amount of education incoming students receive about sexual assault. She said the education provided right now is insufficient, and “it’s evident by the numbers that we are constantly having.”

“One act of sexual assault is one too many,” Holliday said, “we can’t control what is happening wherever those acts of violence are occurring, but what we can control is the amount of education that we are putting out there for students.”

Student Life

Part of Hursh’s campaign platform is to host free concerts for students at Jack Trice Stadium.

“There are a lot of considerations when executing a college concert,” Hursh said.

Hursh said the concert would serve as a fundraiser for Student Government “so that we can allocate more money to students every single year.”

Holliday raised concerns about the practicality of hosting free concerts, taking into account factors such as security and insurance.

“I think it would be incredible if it were feasible, and I think it would enhance the student experience at Iowa State, but it’s not feasible,” Holliday said.

In response, Hursh said this is not a “subtraction or an elimination” but instead a “way to create more fun” so Student Government can allocate more funds to “student organizations on campus and essential services.”

“We put as much thought into every single point as possible. We would not campaign on it if we weren’t able to deliver it to students,” Hursh said.

One plan within Holliday’s campaign platform is to create training for academic advisers to make them aware of resources, especially mental health programs, to provide to students.

“We will never be able to have enough mental health resources available for students,” Holliday said, “If our advisers don’t know what resources are available to us on campus, how are we going to be able to find those resources?”

Additional Positions

Hursh’s platform includes broadening food options on campus, creating a food insecurity task force to fight food insecurity and making roommate compatibility forms for those moving into the dorms picking a random roommate.

Holliday said she plans to advocate for more dining hall options over school breaks and spread awareness of the Iowa State recycling opportunities that exist not just for those who live on campus.

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