2022 Student Government Presidential Debate

Student Government presidential candidates Bryce Garman and Jacob Ludwig addressing issues impacting the student body Wednesday evening at the Memorial Union.

Finn Mcnally

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Waagmeester’s major and year, as well as Garman’s major. The article has since been corrected. The Daily regrets these errors.

During the Student Government presidential debate, both candidates said they would not increase the student activities fee.

The debate took place Wednesday night at the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. The candidates for the position are Jacob Ludwig, a junior in economics and political science, and Bryce Garman, a junior in public relations with minors in general business and political science.

Garman’s vice presidential running mate is Jay Waagmeester, a junior in journalism and marketing. Ludwig is running alongside Jaden Ahlrichs, a senior in global resource systems and horticulture.

During the affordability section, The candidates were asked if they would increase the student activity and service fee to offset a decreased budget due to declining enrollment.

Both Ludwig and Garman said raising the student fee is not the answer.

“Now is the wrong time to increase student fees,” said Ludwig. “There’s a lot of students out there struggling, even just to afford being here at the current rate. Every dollar that we tack on is another reason that a student can’t attend this campus.”

He said it’s important for the Student Government to be frugal this year. Garman agreed and said he would appoint a finance director to manage the student government’s money.

“I trust whoever we appoint to know where the money is being spent and where we can maybe take a step back.” said Garman.

Another topic of debate was student wellness. Both candidates were asked about mental health and sexual assault.

For mental health, Ludwig said that increasing access to existing resources was important. He said the Student Government needs to work on getting more funding from the state legislature for mental health counselors and reprioritizing the current budget.

Garman also stressed the importance of improving the awareness and availability of current resources. He said that one in 10 students report not knowing where to go for help. Garman said he would work with the PR team to promote mental health services to students.

Both candidates agreed that one free year of counseling for students is not enough but that it is due to a lack of resources.

“We can’t possibly tackle the mental health crisis at Iowa State without getting more funding for counseling services,” Ludwig said.

Garman agreed and said that the lack of counselors at Iowa State leads to long wait times for students.

“Students, when they need a counselor, they don’t need to be seen three to five month in advance, they need to be seen now,” said Garman.

On sexual assault, Garman said increasing funding for counseling would help with both mental health and sexual assault. He also said his running mate Waagmeester is on the Iowa State University Police Department Chief Advisor Board and that they would continue to work with them to expand education related to sexual violence.

Ludwig said he and Alrichs want to focus on the prevention side of sexual assault. He wants to work with Green Dot to provide more funding for training. He said by making sure bystanders know when to step in can help prevent sexual assaults.

The second topic was affordability. The candidates were asked about budget restraints and immediate access textbooks.

Enrollment at Iowa State has decreased by 16.2 percent since 2016, which has, in turn, decreased the Student Government’s budget. The candidates were asked if they would increase the student activity and service fee to offset this loss.

Each candidate was given 90 seconds to give a closing statement.

Garman thanked his campaign team of students and said he was honored to share his plan for Iowa State.

“Through dedication, empathy, listening and understanding, Jay and I believe we can bring all Cyclone perspectives to our table,” said Garman. “Vote for Bryce and Jay on March 1 and 2 for the student body president and vice president, and together we can cultivate communities of opportunity, togetherness and collaboration.”

Ludwig shared a story about running into Wendy Wintersteen as a freshman and telling her he loved Iowa State. He said he feels the same way today.

“When Jayden and I talk about empowering students through increasing affordability, investing in sustainability, supporting our community and prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Ludwig. “What we’re talking about is creating a campus where everyone has the opportunity and tools to grow, thrive and have the same positive experience that Jayden and I hold so dear.”

The election will take place from March 1 to March 2. Students can vote via vote.iastate.edu.