GSB presidential candidates talk Veishea alternatives

Many students came to the GSB presidential debate Feb. 26 in the Multicultural Center of the Memorial Union to hear the perspectives of candidates Amanda Loomis and Daniel Breitbarth. 

Makayla Tendall

The Government of the Student Body presidential debate on Thursday centered on what each candidate plans to create in place of Veishea, as well as how they stand on other issues relating to the student experience at Iowa State. 

Both candidates agreed that they wanted to introduce an event similar to Veishea that represented original goals of the week-long celebration. However, they differed greatly on when they wanted to schedule the event. 

Amanda Loomis, who is currently the director of special events for GSB and is running with Kathryn Leidahl, said she wants to hold an event in the fall. Loomis said she wants to hold an event in the fall because it has already been proven that an event in spring does not work in the best interest of students, their safety and the university. 

Loomis said her event would take place in early fall on a bi-week so as not to interfere with football games. She also said she has been in contact with the directors of the Homecoming Committee to ensure that the event would not overlap with Homecoming. 

The event would showcase the university in the way Veishea had always been intended, to represent the colleges’ progress, as well as bring alumni back to Iowa State. She said she also wants the event to be philanthropic and would schedule a day when ISU students would volunteer to better the Ames community.

If students wanted the event to take place during the spring semester, she said she would be willing to take that in consideration. However, she said the event would not take place in April, no matter what. 

 “April is after winter. April is after midterms,” Loomis said. “Students are looking to go out and have fun. Students will know what’s going on with a weeklong event in April.”

Dan Breitbarth, who is currently the vice speaker of the senate running with Megan Sweere, said he would have the university event that represents the university, brings in alumni and provides activities remain in the spring semester. 

While both candidates agreed a new event should have the purpose to bring ISU students into leadership positions like Veishea did, Breitbarth said spring semester makes it much easier for students to get involved. 

Breitbarth said having the event in the fall semester means “freshmen don’t get the same experience” because they are just arriving on campus and are not able to rise to leadership positions as quickly as they would need to in order to participate in the event.  An event in the spring semester would give students a chance to reflect on the year. 

When asked how they plan to keep an event safe in the way Veishea failed to do, Loomis said the entire reason she wants the event to take place in the fall is to further the event from the unofficial practices of Veishea. 

Breitbarth said the way to keep the event safe is to rebrand it and not associate it with Veishea at all. Moving activities to earlier times in the day and providing safer activities during the night would help accomplish that, he said. 

Breitbarth also said his new event may not entail concerts because it would bring “less hype.”

“Students associate concerts with alcohol and various others things that probably should go hand in hand and it antagonizes that violence, as well,” Breitbarth said, referring to last year’s Veishea incidents. 

Loomis identified eliminating Library 160 as a required course and eliminating schedule change fees as part of her platform. Library 160 is a class she said she has heard many students saying they do not learn from. Though an audience member said they had heard Loomis had not contacted the dean of Parks Library about her plan to eliminate Library 160, Loomis said her job was to take issues students identified as problems to administration so they could compromise. 

Breitbarth identified creating more seating space in the Memorial Union and transportation as major platform issues as well, saying he wants to increase campus parking and alleviate congestion on Osborn Drive.