Student Government election profiles: United Residents of Off-Campus

​​Iowa State Student Government election voting begins Monday and goes through Tuesday. Eleven of the seats on the ballot are represented by the United Residents Off-Campus (UROC). This article will continually be updated as the Daily receives responses from candidates. 

What are your main goals if elected?

Becker: “One of the main things I think about is that LAS lacks, especially political science and some of the less sciencey majors, lack a specific area on campus that is their home. So I think that it would be really great and convenient if we could try to centralize the curriculums so that they’re only in a couple buildings and not all over the place. Another thing is the lack of awareness that people have about Student Government. When I joined, I had no idea about the extent of the funds that the Student Government is working with and really does want to give to student groups. I think it comes down to spreading the word. Even just the short glimpses I’ve seen, it’s very who-you-know, and it shouldn’t have to be that way.  I’ve been on the Public Relations Committee this past year and there’s talks of a podcast and that’s something I’d be really passionate about getting on its feet.”

Brueck: “The big things I want to focus on, I have a little platform I’ve written out to reference. The three main points I did put on there were diversity, equity and inclusion, outreach and accessibility. Diversity, equity and inclusion is the first thing I was thinking of on that platform. Student Government has a real issue with hearing the perspectives of underrepresented groups. Iowa State is a predominantly white institution, so we struggle to get perspectives outside of that frame of reference of the world. And that’s been a real problem for Student Government because when you don’t have a diverse base of decision makers, you look at a certain problem all the same way, all 36 plus in the senate look at the problem the same way. And we don’t see the things on the margins that other people with different life experiences see, and that leads to decisions that may not be the best for the entire student body. So I’d want to focus on doing more with that. As for outreach, for example the Daily a poll was released last week, Student Government is very poorly known about. People don’t have a clear vision as to what Student Government is and what it’s trying to do and what it’s supposed to do. That’s a problem because Student Government has $2 million total of student money that we’re spending. That’s a lot of money and students should really understand what we’re doing with it, why we’re doing what we are with it and making sure they can be a check on us to make sure they’re getting what they should expect from that fee they pay every year. Then accessibility was my third one, and that has more to do with the structure as Student Government as it is. For example, Election Code, the process for running for Senate and getting a seat on the Cabinet, is dictated by a lot of rules and laws that we have that aren’t always immediately for someone who is interested, our Student Government website isn’t updated in that regard. Once you get it, it’s a very complicated thing, where, if how rules and government bodies are set up, then it’s relatively straightforward, it’s relatively easy, but most people aren’t that. LAS is but one part of the colleges that are represented in Student Government. Someone who is in human sciences or engineering or design might not have distinctive interests in those intricacies but might want to get more involved in a more general way in Student Government, and the way we have Student Government set up doesn’t really encourage that. So those are my three main points I’m trying to focus on if I’m elected.”

Drey: “My main goals include bringing a voice to off-campus residents that may feel less involved because they are living away from the excitement of main campus.”

Frencher: “My main goals if I am elected are to inform others of ways to decrease prejudice on campus and make sure students actually obtain information that will allow them to succeed. I think Iowa State University has a lot of resources that go unused by most students simply because they do not know of the resources.”

Goh: “What I would like to do is make changes to that so that student government will be seen as more competent.” Goh also said he wants to reduce the bureaucracy in Student Government.

Tansey: “I’ve got three major goals if I get elected. One is increasing mental health accessibility. So I mean like launching an information campaign, signs, online webinars and just making sure students have the access to the resources they need for mental health services. Another thing I would do with mental health is advocate for the allocation of any available funding for mental health services because they’re kind of pushed to the limit right now. My second goal would be to help first-time renters. To do this, I basically do the same thing as mental health which would be an information campaign where we have brochures and information sessions, maybe even create a task force to address helping students find adequate housing even if it’s outside of the university. My third goal would be increasing Student Government transparency and diversity. Just through my own experiences, I think Student Government has a lot to learn and can really benefit from someone with an outside view. To get more people involved with Student Government, I think they could host more public events, like, fun events like maybe a bingo night, a movie night or a sports or game night at State and Lied.” 

Slade: “I want to advocate for the awareness of ISU’s mental health support programs and plans of aid for all campus members and increase student and staff participation in these programs as well. I also plan on working within Student Initiatives Committee to institute proper lighting on paths through campus as well as free and easily accessible nighttime transportation. All of these move towards creating a safe and supportive campus environment, which is very important to me.” 

Shivraj: “There’s three main points that I am focusing on. One, improving mental health resources here on campus, through tele-health and increasing funding for student counseling services. Combating issues in regards to sexual violence, as well as food security and food safety on campus, especially for off campus students.” 

Engelken: “My main goals are LGBTQ+ representation, mental health and environmentalism. For LGBTQ+ representation, I would really like to do a town hall format. This year for student government, diversity, equity and inclusion committee, they did a town hall for multicultural students, and I attended one of those and it went super well. It made the students feel super heard and it really brought a lot of stuff to student government that we didn’t quite think of, and it helped a lot. I would like to expand that format to include LGBTQ+ people. I feel like the town hall would really help and encapsulate all those experiences. So if I get elected, I could represent them all to the capacity I could. For mental health, I’ve had a fair amount of experience with ISU counseling and something I have found not the easiest is trying to sign up for counseling. So you either have to call or email and accepting that you need help with mental health or counseling is pretty difficult and this comes from personal experience. So I think making an easier way to do that would be really nice to just do it through the website. For environmentalism, I am currently on sustainability committee and we’re working on a lot of stuff for that. We’re just working on educating the students and I would do a lot with social media. I currently run the ISU recycling account on Instagram, but I would simply just educate students more and integrate it more into student government and also try to expand composting.”

Momaney: “I’m a first generation student and my transition to campus wasn’t so much rough, but it was really intimidating my first day of classes being on such a large campus even though I went to East High School, which is the biggest school in Des Moines. So I think it would be really beneficial to have some more programs implemented to help not only first generation students but students who are underexposed to the college experience just so that way when they come, they’re more comfortable on campus and around the large amount of people.”

Moore: “I would say some of my priorities that I want to push forward are more events or spaces for off-campus students. Granted, even though a lot of us are students, I do think sometimes we go along with a lot of the university policies and things that go on but we’re not really included in a lot of conversations that happen on the university. I want to bring the off-campus perspective and show people that we do want some more voices and we do want certain things to happen on campus even if it’s little things.”

How do you plan on keeping your constituents involved?

Becker: “I love talking to people. More than that, I think it would be really great to have better communication between prominent club leaders and LAS senators. I think a group chat of all the club leaders and the senators would be really beneficial.”

Brueck: “Being available basically whenever they need it. I currently keep my email and phone number available in my email signature so anytime I give someone my email I’m immediately available for them to contact me through my cell phone if they’d like, if they want to call or text me. Available online, I’ll be in my bio on the website if I’m elected; people can find me if I’m one of the representatives. And they’ll see my email and phone number, and I’ll encourage people to use that to reach out to me. Just being available in real time if anyone needs to reach out is how I plan to loop them in. More or less having an open door policy on my contact information anytime someone feels the need just reach out, text me, email me, call me, let me know what your problem or concern or comment is.” 

Drey: “I plan on keeping my constituents involved by bringing more advertisements of campus events to them. I also plan to put a large effort into being available to meet with off-campus residents about their questions or concerns both in person and online.”

Frencher: “​I plan to keep my constituents involved by keeping each other motivated and accountable. We need to make sure that we accomplish what we were elected for. Communication is very important when working with peers and a good way to stay working efficiently.”

Goh: “We have a discussion with the UROC council about reaching out to our constituency and building a relationship with them. I know one thing they talked about was to provide information regarding how to negotiate contracts with landlords to provide help to the UROC constituency. That’s how to build relationships. Once we establish that relationship and if we can get them a little bit more involved with Student Government, they can input the changes and we can help implement them.”

Tansey: “Right now, I’m actually working on my Instagram account: @tansey4senate. On that account I will be routinely posting about what I’ll be doing in office and events that I’ve planned and different types of activities I’m working on.”

Slade: “With UROC representing such a large number of students living in different off-campus areas, I plan on utilizing social media as an outreach tool as well as the UROC Constituency Council meetings. Both of these provide great outlets for forum and survey to see what the student body would like to change or want to see more of on campus.”

Shivraj: “Through a lot of communication. Obviously off-campus students, it’s very easy for them to feel very disconnected from campus, except in an educational stance, and my goal as an off-campus senator will be to ensure that they’re connected socially, very much with Student Government and other senators, other platforms as well, and be able to give them a voice and hear and understand what they want and need.” 

Engelken: “I found that an easy way to get everyone involved was having a Google doc and then having people submit their ideas, concerns and thoughts because it was really hard to reach out to every single student and a Google doc just made it a lot more accessible. So being able to post a QR code in Facebook groups and around campus and then having students put their thoughts there would be a pretty good idea and it would get everyone that wants to be heard, heard.”

Momaney: “I just started in the election process but I do plan on making a campaign page either on Instagram or Facebook or both just so I can keep up anybody who’s following me in the senate seat and let them know how things are going from my perspective and my viewpoint.”

Moore: “I’m actually the director of events for the Black Student Alliance so I’m really good at coming up with different ideas for different events. I’ll go as far as to making a separate page just for the students off campus if that’s what it takes and I know how to do event authorization, reserve rooms, I have a lot of different connections to people on campus. So making an event is easy, it’s something that I can do when I have ideas all the time so that’s just some of the things that I feel like I bring to the table.”

What is your plan for campus sustainability?

Becker: “I think one of the biggest issues is, especially living in a dorm, recycling is non-existent. I know so many people who are good at sorting their recycling but then it all just ends up in the trash anyways. Another thing is, especially with clothing and fashion, I feel like there needs to be more awareness and a push for sustainable fashion.”

Brueck: “Sustainability is a really important thing we’re working with. I’ve talked with Elizabeth Smith, she’s the current director of sustainability for Student Government, about sustainability. I don’t have any concrete, main fronts with sustainability right now, but furthering projects is really important to me. I know we have those compactable trash cans that Student Government has had a role in. Just things like that, looking for little things that Student Government can do that aren’t necessarily going to change the world in the end, but are going to be these little things that we can do to incrementally improve our sustainable practices, our pro-environment practices that we’re doing. As a body, as a whole, advocating to our administration with a soft-power approach, of how we are voices of the student body, using that to say ‘hey, let’s look at more stable energy sources.’ For example, the coal plant that powers most of Iowa State’s stuff is a bit far from a sustainable way to power this university so looking at alternatives to that. Decreasing our alliance while also still acknowledging that there’s still a lot of variables in play that make it so that immediately transitioning away from non-sustainable sources of energy is not something that’s immediately viable. Understanding that temporary expectations while still forcefully advocating for change in those areas.”

Drey: “Campus sustainability is very important to me, and I believe it starts with our students. I think that by keeping the largest population at Iowa State (those living off-campus) in the loop, that we can continue to improve campus sustainability.”

Frencher: “​My plan for campus sustainability is to look into ways that we could incorporate solar power and alternative energy sources into Iowa State’s everyday life. I think the solar-powered trash cans are a great example of this. Another thing I would seek to do is to educate the student body about the need for solutions to the worsening situation with climate change.” 

Goh: “I believe that we have a lot of resources for that. I don’t think it’s wise to add more unless absolutely necessary. I think the big thing is to promote what we already have because right now those resources are kind of under-utilized. I actually liked the idea of the solar trash cans. The reason people litter or just throw stuff on the ground is because there’s no space and they don’t want to carry trash with them. If there are more trash cans around campus, there will be less trash on the ground.”

Tansey: “With all my programs that I plan to work on with other members of the Senate, I obviously want to make sure that those programs don’t just disappear as soon as I leave. So, making sure people are getting involved, making sure the Student Government itself is getting involved, and that real change is being made.”

Slade: “Cultivating a campus dedicated to sustainability is important to me, and I would encourage all students to learn more about Iowa State’s Climate Reality organization and sign their petition fighting for clean energy on campus.”

Shivraj: “I’m a part of the campaign team right now for Ludwig and Alrichs, and they’re pushing for more composting options on campus as well as pushing for more green busses. So I’m supporting them in that endeavor.”

Engelken: “I went to the Ames Climate Action town hall, and we have pretty ambitious goals to help Ames reduce emissions and I feel like Iowa State is a big part of that. Iowa State has to do a lot and that’s where composting comes in. We’re going to have to really reduce our emissions, and I feel like composting will definitely help that because composting brings waste back into the landscape instead of burning it like the Ames recovery plant does.”

Momaney: “I think it’s important that we preserve the land, especially at the rate it’s going today. I would also like to implement maybe some more solar compacted trash cans, more access to recycling bins and more presence in informing people of new ways to be sustainable on campus.”

Moore: “Sustainability I think is a tricky one. I would say because even if you’re talking about the solar compact things, even those can be a bit iffy because I feel like they don’t get cleaned up after enough. Even just doing more events centered around going around campus picking up trash, even going around Campustown bringing that energy and making the Iowa State campus look better as a whole.”

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing students today?

Becker: “Affordability. Going to college is so expensive and I would really love to see the SHOP get greater funding and more scholarships for students for day-to-day needs and not just tuition.”

Brueck: “The biggest issue facing students today. That’s tough right now, because there’s a lot of issues facing students. In the context of the pandemic ongoing, one of the major issues facing students, I don’t know if you can pin down one that’s the most important but the one that sticks out to me is mental health. The pandemic, isolation, just a lot of negative feelings are going around, with people being isolated from everyone else. And they don’t really fit into a certain situation, they don’t really fit in at the university, they’ve lost their ability to interact with friends, make good friends, have a good time in general and enjoy Iowa State, there’s really been loss in that. Our mental health services have been struggling to keep up. I don’t know the source on this, but I believe in talking to people in Student Government, the numbers of people going to student counseling services on campus have been waiting five months or more to receive services. That’s not just on student counseling services, they don’t have the resources, but that’s unacceptable for us. Students shouldn’t be waiting for this crucial care in this really difficult time. We can’t afford to wait this long. We need to look into and possibly lobbying to state legislature, and lobbying the university to take real, decisive action on mental health services.”

Drey: “I think the largest issue facing students at ISU is how easy it is to fall into a lazy routine. Since COVID and online classes, it has made it harder to get students back into campus and out of their rooms. It fosters bad mental health and problems with motivation for students, but is a very hard thing to overcome.”

Frencher: “​I think the biggest issue facing students today is the lack of resources they are informed about. I think every student wants to be successful but not every student is given tools that enable them to study and learn to their fullest.”

Goh: “I feel the biggest issue is the rising cost of tuition which is something that is increasing year by year. We are trying to do stuff but there isn’t a whole lot more we can do. So what I wanted to do is more research into what can be done.”

Tansey: ”I would say mental health is probably the biggest issue. I think a lot of students have a lot to learn about this issue. Some people might be suffering mental health issues and not even know it, so I think it’s important that we educate students on what are the symptoms and how they can seek help and where they can find that help on campus.”

Slade: “I believe we can work to further improve campus safety; there are some poorly-lit areas on campus with heavy foot traffic that can be hazardous at night. I also feel like wellness resources are unknown to many students who seek them, or the stigma around seeking help prevents some from doing so. I would like to survey students about these issues to get a sense of their thoughts on them as well.”

Shivraj: “There’s quite a few of them. I think a sense of community. I think that there has been, my own personal experience as well as other individuals on campus, as a minority, it’s very easy at times to feel like you’re part of a niche group, or you only have certain people you can go to for different things. I think that’s establishing a better, more expansive community for minority students is something that we should focus on.”

Engelken: “A big issue I feel especially with s=Student Government right now is not being able to reach students and just people not really knowing what we do, so I would do a lot of outreach.”

Momaney: “I feel like one of the biggest things, in my opinion, affecting students is mental health and motivation. I know Iowa State offers five free counseling services, but I feel like with the stigmatism around mental health, it’s so hard for students to be comfortable enough to reach out for help.”

Moore: “I think accessibility is one of the biggest issues facing a lot of students. Especially in terms of, not every student is necessarily financially capable of doing certain things, getting books, getting to and from class, and food insecurity. So I feel like accessibility really hinders students on what they can do on a day-to-day basis.”

Are there any initiatives you plan to start if elected to address these issues?

Becker: “I think with the scholarships that’s really just prioritizing the Student Government’s budget. We fund a lot of things that are what I would consider to be fun, but I don’t know if they’re as helpful as something like books or food or housing is. So I think it would be interesting to look at the budget and just see what we could take away from things that might just be a fun concert and put that into feeding people and helping them buy books. The point is, we’re here for an education. College is fun but at the end of the day people need help funding their education. I would probably try to advocate for reworking the budget.” 

Brueck: “Most of the things I’m focused on right now are little things, internal tweaks to bylaws of Student Government that I can implement right now. Tweaking the way open forum works, for example. I know last year we had an issues where there was controversy within certain acts of members of Student Government, and the biggest issue we had was the open forum section of our senate meetings, which is essentially when members of the public can come and have a voice in Student Government, provided very little opportunity for there to be meaningful discussion. It was essentially as it stands, more of a ‘Hey, I’m going to talk at the Student Government, give my perspective, and no one can respond. There’s no back-and-forth, I just talk at you, and then leave.’ And that’s not a productive way to have conversations. So finding ways to restructure the ways that senate meetings are ran, the procedure in that, which is just a very internal thing, is dealing with our own internal rules and not necessarily having to deal with outside organizations and funding or anything. It’s going to be very little, kind of technical things in our rules. Getting those little things changed is really where my focus is early on if I’m elected. Those are the things I feel I can deliver the most on right away.”

Drey: “I’d like to use my position to help plan events and use funds effectively to make students want to come get involved and break up the lazy cycle that they may be in.”

Frencher: “​I want to start seminars to educate students on how to reduce prejudice in others and ourselves. Everyone has obstacles in life but being put down by others, especially because of one’s skin color, should not be one.” 

Goh: “One thing I’ve heard is that after you graduate, you have a contract with the university that you pay a certain percentage of your income and not a fixed amount, so I feel like we can expand on that. I don’t know the legality or what the requirement for that is, but I would really like to look into that.”

Tansey: “Push for an information campaign just to make sure that students understand the symptoms of mental health issues as well as where to find the mental health services on campus.”

Slade: “I’m excited to be working within Student Initiatives Committee to execute some events that will highlight and address these campus safety issues, such as Take Back the Night with Iowa State University Police Department for sexual assault awareness month, and the Safety Walk. I will also be participating in and promoting ISU’s student wellness resources, focusing specifically on mental health training initiatives we all can take to create a supportive campus environment.”

Shivraj: “I know Ludwig and Alrichs have a lot of stuff planned executively, in the executive branch that they’re doing. As part of their campaign team and as an off-campus senator, my goal will be to support that as well as empower them in providing those same resources and same endeavors for all campus students. There’s a club that is being started on campus outside of Student Government that I’m hoping will be more steady flow in Student Government in terms of mental health. There’s a side endeavor that I’m pursuing as part of a business class to be able to provide more mental health resources on campus.” 

Engelken: “I would probably do a lot of tabling. I also think that expanding the town hall format to off campus students would be really fun. Maybe host it in an off-campus area so it’s more accessible to them because I really do like the town hall format just because it’s able to make students feel heard.”

Momaney: “I personally think it would be beneficial to have more than five free meetings, and I want there to be open discussions about mental health on campus so it’s not frowned on as much.”

Moore: “Honestly, the initiatives for me would be just creating those events similar to some of the students off campus things, just creating little events from time to time for things like mental health and venting and talking about your problems. Granted, they don’t necessarily change all of the problems, but I do think bringing those conversations to the table can help people really understand like ‘Oh, this is actually an issue,’ you know?”

Why do you feel you should be elected?

Becker: “All throughout high school, I did student government and I was class president for four years. I have a deep interest in politics, I’ve worked on the campaigns of a couple senators, like house of representatives, that sort of thing. I really care about LAS, and I care about how it’s represented on campus. We have people who are pursuing degrees that are super important to the world, and I want us to receive the same funding, the same recognition and the same help from the university that the other schools get. I think it is very obvious that LAS is a lower priority from the lack of a primary building. We don’t have a Gerdin, we don’t have a big Student Innovation Center. We just have kind of what they give us, and I don’t think we should be afraid of asking for more. I think I would be good at it because I’m an excellent public speaker, I really enjoy communicating and working with others and I genuinely care about this campus.”

Brueck: “I have served the last two years of my career at Iowa State; I have served on the Student Government Supreme Court of the Student Government. So in that time, I served as associate justice and then this last year the chief justice. That has given me experience with Student Government, our internal bylaws and the constitution and little documents in there that govern our institution. It’s given me the knowledge and preparedness to deal with that stuff, to tackle the glaring issues that are in there, it’s also allowed me to cultivate relationships with Student Government, to become known and trusted by people in the organization and adjacent to it, to know that I am someone who is competent and willing and able to tackle the issues that we face. So I have the experience, I think I have the knowledge of the organization as a whole, and I have the motivation to put my best foot forward in tackling the issues we’re facing as a Student Government and as a student body.”

Drey: “I feel I should be elected because I want to help ISU become a better place and involve all students on our way to getting to that place.”

Frencher: “​I feel like I should be elected in order to properly represent the student body. People of color are often discouraged to run for positions within our Student Government. I know because I felt the same emotion. Electing me will let other students of color know that we also have a right to voice our opinions, especially when it has to do with our education.”

Goh: “I feel like I can do it because I am passionate about it, and I really want to see changes to the image of Student Government because I’ve been here for two years, and I really love the friendship and relationship I have with Student Government.”

Tansey: “I think my experience with the mental health services on campus has really shaped my view of how they can really better the services and the accessibility. My own experiences with being a first-time renter, in my opinion, I feel like make me really qualified to lead the charge in informing our students about the necessities and amenities they should be looking for when they first rent an apartment.”

Slade: “I’ve been involved in leadership previously, but due to being completely online my first year of college I’ve had the desire to get further involved on campus. My involvement as a member of Student Initiatives Committee has also prepared me for a role in Senate; I was recently introduced to the parliamentary procedure and bill writing process. I have a passion for participating in hands-on projects benefiting those around me, and hope that drive will show through my campaign”

Shivraj: “I think that I represent a lot of different groups, a lot of different communities here on campus that are underprivileged or might not have as big of a voice and I think that I can be very understanding and just be able to connect with a lot of different people and get things done that perhaps another individual would not be able to do.” 

Engelken: “I feel like I should be elected because I really do love student government. I really love reaching out to students and I just have a lot of ideas and a lot of passion, and I feel like with all of the time I have and with all the effort and passion I have, I could really put these ideas forward and make them something big.”

Momaney: “I feel like this is a really good opportunity for me to expand my network, but that’s not the main reason I’m running. I’ve always been really caring for people, and I want to put that to good use. I want to help people, not only like me who had a rough transition to college and are not always in a good place with their mental health, but I want to help people who had a good transition who are in a good place with their mental health and seeking other things to do in college and other ambitious goals.”

Moore: “I feel like I bring a very different perspective, just because not only my demographic but I’m a very interdisciplinary kind of person. I see things from lots of different views and because I’m a sociology major, I’m interested in so many things. There isn’t just one frame of mind that I have, I look at everything from, ‘Why does this happen,’ ‘Why does that happen because of this,’ or ‘How can we fix this to make sure this doesn’t happen,’ you know? So, I feel like I bring a broad spectrum to the seat.”