WSGA presidential candidates prepare for elections

Brian Cervantez

Elections held March 8–10 will determine the new president and vice president of Washburn Student Government Association.

Earlier this semester, the candidates were announced, which include Malcolm Mikkelsen for president with Nikki Rodriguez as his running mate, and Natasha Martinez for president with Jack Van Dam as her running mate.

Mikkelsen is the current vice president and Rodriguez is the chair of campus affairs. Martinez is the vice chair of student engagement and Van Dam is not in WSGA but is in the Leadership Institute.

Both groups have ways they want to improve things on campus, and some are different while some are the same.

One of the biggest issues is lighting on campus. Both candidates brought up the issue because students want to feel safe on campus. They also brought up the issue because there are spots on campus where lighting is barley there or non-existent. 

“You don’t appreciate the lighting till you walk out of the library at 2 a.m. in the morning,” Mikkelsen said.

It will take a process to get the lighting problem fixed on campus, but both candidates are willing to push for this to make campus safer for students.

Both candidates have similar ways to get students more involved. They both want to go out and meet students, getting feedback to focus on the most important issues that the students are facing right now.

Both groups also want to make sure that students can approach them because neither group can know what the students want to change unless they hear from them.

“Our platform is to advocate, innovate and stimulate school spirit on Washburn campus,” Mikkelsen said.

Mikkelsen and Rodriguez want to bring new things to campus. One of those is open-source textbooks. Washburn would pay an upfront fee and e-textbooks would be free to students in the seventeen most popular classes on campus.

“I want to advocate more for the student initiative grants,” Martinez said.

Students would be able to ask for funding to go to a conference and they could come to WSGA and ask for funding for that conference. 

Martinez wants to make sure these grants are advertised more. Not too many students know about them and they can help a student in their career by going to a conference to learn new things about their field.

The only way to know which candidate will benefit a student more is by going to the talk to them and asking questions. Students can also attend a debate between the candidates at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 2 in the Washburn B Room.