StuGov talks lease gaps, SafeRide and fall priorities

Maggie Curry

Last spring, Cody West and Cody Smith were elected as the next leaders of the Iowa State student body ready to bring their new ideas to fruition. 

After spending the summer in and out of Ames and around the state advocating for Iowa State students this summer, the new Student Government president and vice president discussed what their plans are for this fall.

Cyclone 101

West and Smith said at their inauguration they plan to continue efforts to enhance student safety, along with reinstating Iowa State traditions and reinventing residency in Ames.

West and Smith planned to build upon West’s and former Student Body President Cole Staudt’s administration by advocating for the proposed Cyclone 101 module-course. The course would be required of all students, if implemented, and would cover “sexual assault, bystander intervention, financial literacy, information literacy, campus resources and discussions regarding diversity and inclusion.” Currently, West hopes to have test courses in 2018.

Lease gaps

On reinventing residency, West and Smith specifically wanted to look at lease signings and lease gaps over the summer, when students are homeless for days between leases when moving apartments.

Smith and West worked with the university to provide an option for students this year as temporary housing August 1-10. The area was open in on-campus housing to all newly admitted, early-arriving or international students, students in approved groups with fall contracts and up to 60 students without fall contracts with need for temporary housing.

Smith was particularly excited for international students who don’t have the option to run home or do the things that U.S. students can during the gap. Smith said he was told half the beds were in use at one point.

“Students had a bed to sleep in and that’s the bigger picture I think people need to really take a step back and look at,” West said. “It was successful, but there’s a lot more work to do.”

West stressed it was not the university’s issue to solve.

“Pete Englin is the director of residence at Iowa State. He’s a champion. He sticks his neck out for students all the time, but especially with this one,” West said. “The fact he was willing to do that to alleviate some pressures on the student experience and make this time less stressful and more enjoyable for students was just incredible.”

West said the issue wasn’t over, but moving forward it won’t be a priority for the school year.

“It boils down to a community issue that we all need to take care of,” West said. “I think the student government was the appropriate place to start a student concern that needed to be guided.”

Medical amnesty

A campaign promise by former Student Government president Cole Staudt did not see fruition during the last legislative cycle – but it came close. 

The bill, targeted toward college-aged students to allow them medical amnesty specifically in underage drinking situations, passed unanimously through the Iowa Senate along with in House subcommittees. Smith plans to continue lobbying efforts this year and hopes to have it on the House floor the first week the state legislature is in session.

The bill would “provide immunity from certain criminal offenses and prohibiting certain disciplinary sanctions for persons who report, seek, or require emergency assistance for alcohol overdoses.”

If passed in the House, the bill will also need to be approved by Governor Kim Reynolds.

Besides medical amnesty, Smith also plans to lobby for general appropriations from the state and a public scholarship program to help combat tuition costs.

Cody West is currently a senior in biology in hopes of eventually going to medical school. Cody Smith is majoring in agricultural communications and political science. As the Student Government representatives, they spent the summer giving input on tuition and the search for Iowa State’s next president.

“We’re always offered a seat at the table,” West said. “They really want to know how we think all the time because they want to know how students are going to react and how students are going to feel about it.”

Whether it’s how to contact your state legislators, an issue affecting Iowa State students or allocating student funds, Student Government does it all.

“Student Government is an untapped resource,” West said. “We have a lot of senators hungry for projects.”

For other policies discussed by Cody West and Cody Smith read the full article online.