Discussion with Student Government candidates
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 08:03
While most people running for office unopposed would just take it easy and wait until the election, Martha Spangler and Ben Kaipust see it as a challenge.
“Since we are in the unique position of running unopposed, we can’t just tell everyone what we want to do for them,” said Kaipust, vice-president on the ticket. “So, we really want to go out and campaign and listen to suggestions.”
Both candidates have a background in UNO student government and have intended to run together since freshman year when they met on the Freshman Leadership Council. Their ticket is naturally balanced by their background interests. Kaipust spends a lot of time on South Campus, and really wants to focus on freshman involvement, while Spangler has more experience with university contacts, and will focus more on that higher level.
“As President-Regent, I want to work to represent everybody at the Board [of Regents] meetings,” Spangler said.
The ticket has a three-part platform focused on improving student support for athletics, a student-run online teacher evaluation website and additional food service options in the Milo Bail Student Center as the renovations take place.
“Having our athletes be able to wear their jerseys before games and get to hear fellow students wish them luck for the game, that would be a nice change for the athletic programs here,” Kaipust said.
Other ideas the ticket explored were commissioning a life-size statue of the UNO Maverick mascot, and having it on campus for people to rally around, as well as better advertising the games and events to the student body.
During the questioning period, sophomore Katherine Horrum asked, “What about expanding club visibility and publicity, because not everyone is that into sports?”
The candidates answered that they definitely wanted to expand both athletic and club activities and said they simply highlighted sports because those tend to be better avenues of united school spirit, more of which they claim UNO could use.
The second program would replace websites like RateMyProfessor.com in favor of a website more localized to UNO.
“A lot of times the other websites have ratings about professors from when they were at other universities or have nothing at all,” Spangler said. “By using student government to support and spread it, we could have a lot of input about almost every professor on campus.”
Finally, Spangler and Kaipust are listening to student suggestions on how to change the dining options in the student center. From signs showing nutrition information, to a Dodge campus meal plan, or even new food choices, they are looking to reflect student opinion on the issue.
One attendee of the discussion was Prentiss Butler, who was visiting UNO, and is planning to enroll in the Fall 2013 semester.
“I think student government here has the unique opportunity to work on getting things other universities don’t have, or least working towards them,” he said.
Butler said he attended because he wanted to get to know the candidates that would be representing him when he enrolls, and to get an idea for how student government at UNO worked. He shared Horrum’s view that sports shouldn’t be the biggest focus, but said it wasn’t a bad thing to do for school spirit, as long as the other activities students participate in are not forgotten.
Many people may dismiss this election because of the single ticket; however, Spangler and Kaipust insist students do the complete opposite.
They are available to talk and listen to the ideas fellow students have, and want to.
To contact them, start at their Facebook page, “Real Ideas for Real Students.”