Student Government vice-presidential debate

Candidates Jaden Ahlrichs and Jay Waagmeester taking questions submitted by the student body at the 2022 Student Government vice presidential debate. 

Charles Klepps

The Vice-Presidential debate took place Tuesday night at the Great Hall of the Memorial Union, discussing topics such as COVID-19, mental health and campus climate. 

Residence Hall Senator Jaden Ahlrichs, senior in global resource systems, and United Residence Off-Campus Senator Jay Waagmeester, junior in journalism and mass communications, are the candidates for the position. 

Ahlrichs is running alongside current Chief of Staff Jacob Ludwig, senior in economics. Waagmeester is working with the current Director of Marketing Bryce Garman, senior in public relations, as his student body presidential candidate. 

The format of the debate was broken up into two different sections. It began with current issue questions about COVID-19, student engagement in student government, diversity and campus climate. 

Both candidates encouraged vaccines against COVID-19, as well as supporting the mask mandates which are required to transport via CyRide. 

Ludwig and Ahlrichs have centered their platform around four main principles: affordability, community, sustainability and diversity and inclusion. Ahlrichs explained during the debate how he and Ludwig wanted to make sure that their platform was meaningful and plausible. 

“When Jacob and I sat down to hash out what our platform would be, we came up with tangible things that we can guarantee can be done in the next year,” Ahlrichs said. “We made sure that our platform was not just general, empty promises.”

Garman and Waagmeester’s campaign focuses on community on campus. Their platform breaks community into three categories: collaboration, togetherness and opportunities. 

Waagmeester spoke about how their focus on community can also help get students more engaged with student government. 

“If you’re out there watching this and listening to this right now, and you think there is a position in student government that you would fit well, I encourage you to apply for it,” Waagmeester said during the debate. “I just want students to know that there are a lot of non-elected positions in student government.” 

Some of the topics within the campus health section included sexual assault prevention and mental health. Topics in the diversity section were preferred pronoun use and first amendment rights. 

Both candidates encouraged vaccines against COVID-19, as well as supporting the mask mandates that are required to transport via CyRide. 

Ahlrichs discussed the importance of educating students on sexual assault prevention early in their careers at Iowa State.

“Majority of our sexual assaults that do happen on campus happen in the first six weeks of semester,” Ahlrichs said. “So, if we could educate them before they even get here, that would be even better.”

Waagmeester spoke about how the First Amendment perfectly represents their campaign about community. 

“Cultivating a community where people feel welcome to express themselves, but also one where people feel discouraged to spread hate speech,” Waagmeester said. “I think that the community that Bryce and I dream of is a community where people are free to speak.”

The Presidential Debate between Garman and Ludwig is scheduled for Feb. 23 at the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. The Election is scheduled for March 1 and 2.