WSGA: Voice for students

No more kidding around Meredith Kidd, Washburn Dean of Students, reads the rights and responsibilities of leaders to Taylor McGown and Michael Kitowski, Washburn’s newly elected Washburn Student Government Association president and vice-president. McGown and Kitowski have already began to discuss how to implement their platform ideas.

The new president and vice president of the Washburn Student Government Association hope to exemplify their campaign slogan “for students, for change,” through interaction with other students. WSGA president Taylor McGown, senior in biology, and vice president Michael Kitowski, junior in history, were elected last March.

 “Michael and I talked a little bit last December that we just wanted to provide a voice to students,” said McGown. “We felt we had enough experience with the administration and were approachable for students.”

Their platform contained two main issues including the idea to change the Mabee Library hours to be 24-hours a day.

“We really wanted a 24-hour study place,” said Kitowski. “A lot of us are writing our papers at 3 in the morning and we wanted an access point for students to collaborate.

McGown and Kitowski have had meetings with the administration and the dean of libraries to discuss the issue of a 24-hour library, but money has been a big setback to this idea.

“We got a little bit of a budget cut from the state and the Washburn University Board of Regents decided to increase tuition, but that still doesn’t give us a surplus of funds for the library,” said McGown.

Kitowski said that he was encouraged by the recent addition of the coffee shop to the library.

“Having the coffee shop in the library is fantastic,” said Kitowski. “Students can get coffee and snacks and get right back to studying without having to walk all the way over to the Union. I think it promotes academic studies further and increases the academic culture at the Mabee Library.”

The library is still one of their main focuses and McGown said they will continue to have discussions on whether it would be best to expand the current library or in the future build a different building entirely. 

The second main issue of their platform was the desire to change from Angel, the current online grading and learning management system, to Blackboard, another system that provides similar tools for students and faculty.

“The reason we chose Blackboard is because it is widely used across the country,” said Kitowski. “Angel isn’t the most user-friendly and not having what is considered the best is a setback for Washburn.”

McGown said that it is important for students to have grades posted online and hopes more teachers will catch on with the implementation of the “Freshman Year Experience Class” where teachers will be required to post students’ grades to Angel. 

“Right now we are looking to use Angel to its fullest potential,” said McGown. “With budget cuts we have to use the best of these situations as we can and the administration is doing a great job of that.”

Both McGown and Kitowski also emphasized, as implied in their campaign slogan, that they want to be a voice for students.

“One of our goals is to be sure that students know that we welcome them to come in to talk to us about the weather, football games or issues that are concerning them,” said Kitowski. “We want students to know that they can talk to us. We really are easy going students too.”