Spangler, Kaipust running for leadership unopposed
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 08:02
At the end of their freshman year, Martha Spangler and Ben Kaipust knew they were going to run for Student Body President-Regent and Vice President. Having served on the Freshman Leadership Council and Student Senate, the goal of becoming President-Regent and Vice President has always been on their radar.
Spangler is a junior Sociology major with a minor in Spanish. Last semester she studied in Pamplona, Spain and had a great experience learning Spanish there.
Kaipust, also a junior, is an Architectural Engineering major and is busy running his own lawn service, doing photography on the weekends and working with UNO Facilities Management.
Initially, Kaipust thought he wanted to run as President-Regent and Spangler, Vice President. Once they realized their own unique skills, they decided to switch roles.
The Vice President works with the Freshman Leadership Council and has a list of other responsibilities while the President-Regent meets with the Board of Regents and students to discuss concerns about the university. Along with a host of other duties, both fill the role of student advocate.
“I love Freshman Leadership Council (FLC) and teaching new students what it’s like being on Student Government and Martha has more contacts on campus and is more on the political side,” Kaipust said.
Unlike years prior, Kaipust and Spangler are running for their positions unopposed. While some might see the race as an easy win, Spangler said this offers them an advantage.
“[That] gives us a unique opportunity to not just sell our ideas but really listen to students and get their ideas and feedback,” Spangler said.
Another goal for the running mates is to improve voter turnout for the March 5 elections. Kaipust was told three years ago in the Student Government elections 1,400 votes were cast. Two years ago it was down to 1,100. And last year only 400 voted.
“We’re not going to be competing, but I still want to get our name out there and say look into who is going to be your senator, look into what their going to be promoting, try to get them involved and vote,” Kaipust said.
Among their many goals, there are three that Kaipust and Spangler are hoping to achieve while serving. One is to provide a teacher evaluation website, like ratemyprofessor.com, which Student Government would oversee and operate. Instead of students going onto generic websites that may not be updated, they would like to see a website that is continuously monitored and is UNO specific.
In the years to come there is also talk of a renovation of the Milo Bail Student Center and so Kaipust and Spangler want to look into providing better meal options for the Dodge campus once that project develops.
“There are going to be a lot of research and focus groups to see what the best options are going to be and we want to make sure students have an opinion in that,” Spangler said.
The running mates have also made UNO Athletics a key point in their campaign. Currently Student Government offers free shuttle services to UNO hockey and basketball games and gives out free t-shirts and sunglasses as promotional tools to get students engaged in UNO athletics.
“We want to do a lot of promotion and strengthen our relationship with the Athletic Department to try and get more students out and get the athletes the attention they deserve for what they do,” Kaipust said.
Although Kaipust and Spangler have their work cut out for them, both emphasized their desire to see UNO improve.
“I really do love this university,” Spangler said. “I think it takes a lot of commitment and passion to do what all of those on student government do.”