Turn up ISU with Raghul and Akol

Zach Clemens

Raghul Ethiraj, senior in aerospace engineering, and Akol Dok, senior in political science, hope to turn up Iowa State with your vote for Student Government president and vice president.

Ethiraj, who is running for the presidency, is an international student from India who has been in more than 15 leadership positions on campus, including the Student Union Board, Student Government and a former opinion writer for the Daily. He has been a community adviser for four years now and is a commissioner for the Ames Human Relations Committee.

Dok is a multicultural student who has been involved in the African Students Association, the Black Student Alliance, IRHA and is currently an associate justice on the Student Government Supreme Court.

“It’s obvious there is a lack of multicultural and international student representation on Student Government, and the best way to change something is to get involved in it,” Ethiraj said.

Ethiraj was previously an engineering senator for Student Government and now works directly with Ames mayor Ann Campbell on the Human Relations Committee, and with Dok an associate justice, coupled with their diverse backgrounds, they believe they are great candidates for the presidency office.

“Akol and I have so many different leadership experiences,” Ethiraj said. “[With our diverse backgrounds] it makes us a unique combination.”

Dok and Ethiraj want to “turn up” Iowa State through four major initiatives, one being heated CyRide stops.

“We don’t want people freezing out there, so we want to turn up Iowa State with heated bus stops,” Ethiraj said.

Ethiraj and Dok point out that a neighboring university — the University of Minnesota provides heated bus stops to its students, so it is possible.

Another initiative they want to promote is a multilingual MyState app. The MyState app is a resource with maps, class schedules and CyRide schedules for students but is currently only offered in English.

“Most online sources have a default language, and you can change the language, but the MYState app does not have that,” Dok said. “That would be a great feature for international students.”

Ethiraj pointed out that 10 percent of the enrollment is international students and that it is unfortunate and actually very sad that this is not an option for people who use that app.

“We want to get those students [international students] involved in the university and Student Government so they have a quality voice,” Ethiraj said.

The third initiative is improving and expanding campus safety. The ISU Help Van and Safety Escort only escorts students from one campus location to another. They want to expand it to escort students off campus as well, even in the middle of the night.

“This evolved out of having one-on-one conversations with over 300 students on campus,” Ethiraj said. “They need to be able to get home safely.”

Another initiative they want to provide students with is a free, customizable portfolio website that students can use to share their work with prospective employers.

“We want to help provide a help desk, customized Iowa State templates, a content management site,” Ethiraj said. “Everything so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel, spending weeks trying to learn how to build a website.”

They pointed out that there is a web space for students to use to display their work, but it is not easily customizable and is a lengthy URL.

We want to leverage the existing infrastructure, not have a hidden URL, bring in the expertise we already have and put them together and make something great,” Ethiraj said.

Ethiraj and Dok said these things are all obtainable within the timeframe of their time in office if elected.

“We did not want ideas that take five years down the road to implement, Ethiraj said. “We wanted things we can get done in the time we are in office.”

They want to bring representation of international and multicultural students to Student Government, and they need the help of all Cyclones.

“We want to turn up Iowa State and we need that energy [from students] to get that accomplished,” Ethiraj said. “We want to bridge the gap between the international student community and the representation in Student Government.”

To learn more about the candidates, go to their website, www.turnupwithus.com, or visit their Facebook page, Raghul and Akol for Student Government 2016.