Vince Bowhay and Lacey Keller threw their hat into the ring as presidential and vice presidential candidates. They want to make a difference and have taken stances on issues facing Washburn students.
Bowhay is a seasoned senator who has held several positions in the Washburn Student Government Association, including chairing committees and sitting on boards. He said that he had a deep respect for what the student body says and he has the tools to help them if they have problems or questions. Keller has more political experience outside of WSGA, but she is serving as Special Events Director under the current administration of Josh Shald, WSGA president and Molly Shea, WSGA vice president. She said she has enjoyed success with the events she has planned, including WUSAC and Mabee Up All Night.
Bowhay said that Ashley McMillan, former WSGA president, really encouraged him to get involved as an officer of WSGA and he feels now that he has reached this point in his collegiate career, it is time to give back. Keller has been more active in the local and national political scene, but had never really considered running as a candidate. She wants to run to help get the student voice heard.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Keller. “I am really looking forward to seeing what we can do for students.”
Keller and Bowhay have outlined several goals for the students that align with their campaign slogan, “Your Money, Your School, Your Experience.”
Keller is resolute about the most important element of their campaign being meeting with students. Bowhay agrees, saying it gives them an idea of what students want.
“Meeting students is very awe inspiring,” said Bowhay. “A lot of them are very adamant that their voices get heard and I agree. You see a lot of passion you don’t normally see as a senator.”
Bowhay and Keller maintain their interest in helping students enhance their college experience by proposing a number of different ways that the students are better able to use WSGA’s programs to their advantage.
The candidates want to make the WSGA Web site, which was developed under a campaign promise by Shald and Shea, more user-friendly. Bowhay wants to make it easier for students to e-mail their senators and make sure other Web sites from different organizations around campus are linked on the WSGA Web site. They said this would help improve communication between students and major organizations on campus and between students and their senators. Keller wants to put important forms on the Web site with the capabilities to fill the forms out online, which would eliminate some of the steps required to obtain funding from WSGA.
Parking has been an issue for both WSGA and the Washburn administration. When confronted with the issue of parking, Bowhay maintains students aren’t necessarily lazy, but that there was a parking problem on some parts of campus.
“I don’t think that all the parking lots are being utilized, however,” said Bowhay. “There have been studies done, especially by this administration.” Keller understands the 20-minute trip to class can be a hassle for students. Bowhay suggested they might have to look into the time between classes to accommodate for parking issues. However, both candidates were adamant about keeping the administration abreast of student concerns.
Another campaign issue for Bowhay and Keller are semester professor reviews or providing students with information about classes before they enroll. They could get objective information so they wouldn’t have to rely only on students who have taken the class or get into the class and be overwhelmed. Bowhay would like to publish syllabi online as well as a book list so students can be more informed about classes before they enroll.
“I do think it is important to know what you are getting into,” said Bowhay. “You can wind up with a heavy, heavy load and that can effect your G.P.A. When students drop, it is frustrating for the students and it is frustrating for the teacher.”
Bowhay wants the book lists to be available so students can begin shopping early so they can save money. Keller said it would be more realistic than students rating professors on Web sites not affiliated with the university.
Bowhay and Keller have outlined some big ideas on their Web site and on the campaign trail. This includes the possible coffee house in Mabee Library. Bowhay said a lot of proposed long-term projects involved getting student reactions, not necessarily physically starting on them during this administration. He also said it wouldn’t necessarily require using money from students who would not benefit from the projects. He mentioned the possibility of acquiring money from the administration or alumni. He wants WSGA to be the starting force behind some of these projects. Keller also mentioned the WSGA reserves account that might be a possibility of a funding avenue.
Bowhay said that the coffee house project may not end up being an actual coffee house, just a new environment on campus for stuents.
“Providing an atmosphere where students can come together and study and work and fellowship is important,” said Bowhay.
Keller has been spearheading the campaign for the coffee house. She has been working closely with different organizations and working on feasibility studies. She said Mabee Library has been an ally in the process.
“It’s a really good opportunity to expand on Mabee Library,” said Keller. “We are getting a new dean and will be going through changes.”
Bowhay and Keller stressed their desire to create a place where students could interact with each other in a social setting. Keller said a million-dollar coffee house wouldn’t happen, and they weren’t sure what businesses would go into the renovated College Hill district. She said that she could feasibly see something like a kiosk going into the library in the near future. Keller has been working with Gary Schmidt and other administrators on the project. She said that she could see the overwhelming support from students for the project.
Bowhay believes safety is an issue. He wants to help Washburn to assist in building Topeka and making it a college town.
“If it’s not us, I don’t know who it will be,” said Keller. “We need to make sure that we’re a voice and we’re out there. It needs to be something where we’re lifting up together.” Keller thinks that events like the College Hill Clean-Up can be expanded to a community-wide event.
In addition, Keller and Bowhay are strongly supporting expanding programs, particularly Safe Ride and the student discount program, iSave. To expand Safe Ride, the candidates want to increase awareness of the program and post advertisements in more of the drinking establishments around Topeka. Bowhay and Keller want to add more business to the iSave program and be able to have open communication between students and WSGA to add businesses as students express interest.