College of Business candidate profiles

Arianna Burkes is a sophomore majoring in management information systems. 

Katherine Kealey

Why did you decide to run?

Burkes: “When I first found out about the lack of diversity in Student Government that made me more interested in it, and want to have an input on the things that are said and go in Student Government for people of color. I feel like they needed some representation.”

Jackson: “Honestly I would say as a Black person on campus, it is kind of hard to even know what is going on in Student Government unless you are in the spaces, and it is even hard to know about the spaces that are even going on. After attending several Student Government events, especially the town halls, that is what got me to be like ‘Oh my gosh, there is a government that does not represent people and minorities.’ They swear they are making a difference even though they are not even thinking about a large population of people. I feel like I have opinions as a Black woman that I would want to share in this space, because even if it is not going to make a change fast, I am going to be that voice in their ear reminding them there are other opinions out here. It is weird that a Senate that is supposed to represent all perspectives lacks to understand all perspectives.”

Topete: “I decided to run because I am participating in a Latinx club which goes by LSI. I have been a part of that club ever since I came to Iowa State as a sophomore. When I came back to a meeting there was another member from another club. He came in and talked about how in the club he was in, which is the Color of Love, he said that there wasn’t a lot of representation of multicultural students in the student senate and how he would like to see that more. To me, I took it personally because I didn’t even know that. If I would have had that information as a freshman or sophomore, I definitely would have done something about it. At the time I wasn’t too sure but then speaking to my friend and they said if they weren’t seniors, they would do it. That really convinced me that it is not too late for me. I could try this and get an experience out of it. What made me want to run is to represent Latinx people and people of multicultural backgrounds.” 

Have you been in any leadership positions or can you elaborate on your club involvement?

Burkes: “In the past I have been involved in a lot of leadership positions. Even in middle school I started a leadership initiative program, so that kind of just showed me the ways around trying to be a leader and having a bigger impact. I participated in a lot of events with Commonwealth Eddison/Exelon. I was a speaker for that as well as a mentor for younger people. That was more of my high school year. From being a mentor, that made me start a club at my high school year called the female leadership club where basically CEOs that I have met and companies I have them talk about leadership. And girls have more opportunities to do presentations, so we get comfortable with speaking up in class or speaking in general. I always felt like at least at my school in the classroom it would always be males that raise their hands and girls who stay quiet. So I feel like if we get used to speaking in a close environment in a club then eventually we will get more comfortable going outside of that. I feel like having a leadership position in college as well will help me maintain what I am used to.”

Jackson: “The leadership positions that I have been in within Iowa State have really helped me learn how to interact with people. Like how important it is to have an idea and an understanding of different perspectives. How important it is to see other people further than your own beliefs. I think just being in those positions and having experienced different situations, learning how to navigate those has really helped me to know how to act within that type of space.”

Topete: “I haven’t had any leadership positions specifically for myself, but I have had a lot of friends in leadership positions. Those friends have always encouraged me to try something in a leadership position and before Iowa State I did a lot of leadership positions. But once I came to the university, I was like ‘This is very big and broad’ so it was a little intimidating. As a first generation student, I didn’t know how to take it; I didn’t know where to look. But really having those friends in leadership positions and seeing them being able to handle it and do it and talk about their experiences really made me put myself out there. Something I take pride in is being a Latina woman in business for sure. I feel like because I don’t see much of it, I would consider myself a leader when I talk about it because I would love to encourage other Latinas in business or even other multicultural students in business to push forward and keep doing it. 

Are there any actionable initiatives that you would start if elected? 

Burkes: “The first thing is participating in events regarding students’ issues and being able to be a voice for students who are people of color. Also, I want students who were not able to be a part of Student Government, I want to reach out to them and be a voice for them. I am in clubs like Black Student Alliance and Color of Love, those are clubs with people of color, so I can talk to them and hear their opinions and be able to speak for them.”

Jackson: “I would definitely want to do more events that are actual diversity. Because a lot of the candidates talk about diversity and want to be more involved but then they sit in a room and the diversity topic comes up and nobody is able to talk about it and everyone is comfortable. So making those spaces of uncomfortable people so that conversations are had. So that is something I really want to make sure happens for Senate this year if I am able to serve.” 

Topete: “Not so many completely different ideas, but they are more basic ideas that we should already be implementing that we are not. There are things that are already there, but they are not being enforced as they should be or they are not really being brought to attention even though they are right there in people’s faces. That is primarily what I would want to focus on. As much as I love new ideas, I feel like what we already do sometimes needs work as well and starting by improving those things would be helpful as opposed to just going in and changing or starting over. I know a lot of the organizations I have been a part of lack funding. I know I would want to help out in committees where I would be able to help student organizations get to where they want to be as an organization. I want to help organizations feel like a community and in order to do that you have to give them resources in order for that to happen because not everybody has the resources to do that. So I feel like we in Student Government need to implement that idea of really distributing resources and letting people know about the resources. It is not a new idea or perspective but is something that is already there and hasn’t been implemented as it should be.”

How do you plan to engage with your constituents?

Burkes: “For engagement, I want to create an Instagram account and have it where I speak about things that go on. Also have polls where students are open to voicing their concerns for those who are not in BSA or Color of Love so I can speak to people outside of those clubs.”

Jackson: “I would say making it very clear and public that I am there for them. I am there to have those conversations and actually there to make a change. I am not here to just sit down and be a part of something; that is not me serving me or anyone else. I want to make it very clear to everyone involved that I am actually here for a reason because I am not doing something just to do it; that is not the type of person I am. I want to make it clear that they can reach out and I am open to any conversation. They [her constituents] can reach out, I am open to their new ideas and perspectives. I am ready for something new.”

Topete: “Showing that Latinx people or people of cultural backgrounds like mine or first generation people, we are out here trying. We are out here doing what we can. I know sometimes there is a very big gap between students who aren’t first generation students. So I want to help them come together as a community and not see those gaps. Everybody can do it no matter what background you come from. I know being in my major there is a gender gap as well. So I would like to start closing those and influencing Latinas or even just women and cultural background women to not be so intimidated by it. If you love learning this is the place for you type of an environment for everybody.”

Why would you say it is important to be a representative for the College of Business in the Senate?

Burkes: “I think it is important for the College of Business to have a voice. That major is not as popular because Iowa State is a science school. I feel like business people deserve to have a voice on what goes on around campus. I know there are not many business events for us, so I wish for there to be more opportunities for business events or where people in business can speak up on how they can be more successful in the future as a business major.

Jackson: “The college of business is filled with a lot of white males. But there are a lot of people who are underrepresented within the college of business; they don’t even get a voice in what happens even in the day-to-day class. As a woman and a Black woman in a class with a predominantly white population of males, it is really hard to get your opinion out there. So even just speaking for women, not necessarily just Black women, for the College of Business is something I think is really important to do as a senator.” 

Topete: “It is very important to represent business in the senate. I know some of the committees are finance and treasurer committees. I know a lot of business majors could go into that and learn a lot to get experience for themself. I feel like overall in student senate, Iowa State University is a business, and the Ivy College of Business has a very big reputation that they should uphold. Sometimes I know it is not represented as it should be. That is why it would be important for me to represent the college of business because it would show it doesn’t matter what cultural background you came from whether you are Latinx or any other background, if you are female or male, you can represent the Ivy College of Business. It is not that Ivy College is one of the biggest colleges but because it is one of the main ones, I feel like it should be in there and speak its voice of what the students want and what their ideas are and things they want to change and improve.”