Student body president candidates talk goals

Emmanuel Ayiku, Contributing Writer

Students will have the chance to vote for the next student body president Monday and Tuesday.

An email will be sent to each students’ panthermail address, allowing them to vote all the student government’s executive board positions.

Speaker of the Senate Felicia Wagner, student vice president of academic affairs Luke Young and Jonathan Williams, a graduate student studying political science, are the candidates running for student body president.

Wagner has been in student government since the spring of 2016.

She said she wants to make a difference by increasing student recruitment and retention at Eastern, with academic initiatives and by continuing the “It’s on Us” campaign, which raises awareness of sexual assault on college campuses.

She plans on increasing recruitment and retention by going to high schools from many areas to talk to students about Eastern.

As president, Wagner said she wants to bring hands-on learning into the classroom by reaching out to Human Resources and faculty members.

“That is how I learned and I know that many other students learn that way as well,” she said.

To increase campus unity, she would have a pep rally during midterms instead of just once during the school year.

Wagner said the way to make student government more visible to students is by getting its logo out there and having the senate talk to students.

Student Vice President of Academic Affairs Luke Young has been involved in student government for two and a half years.

“I am running for president because I have been a part of (student government) for a long time and I love it,” Young said. “I also have ideas that will benefit Eastern now and also in the future.”

Young said he would solve problems that are stopping students from coming to Eastern.

He wants to make programs on campus sustainable so when students leave, their ideas will remain and others will build on that foundation.

Young’s plan to improve communication between the student government and students includes the creation of a presidential cabinet.

This cabinet would consist of different fraternities and sororities on campus, students from different registered student organizations and a diverse group of students.

The third candidate for student body president, Williams, is a former student senator who resigned out of frustration over what he calls ineffective leadership in Student Senate, which made other senators leave.

If elected, Williams wants to address the senate’s retention rates.

“Too many senators leave the senate because they feel unwelcome and are faced with too many strict requirements that interfere with their class work,” Williams said. “I will work with the executive board to reform these requirements so that more senators will want to stay on board.”

As an AmeriCorps VISTA alumnus, he had to coordinate the effort of a statewide anti-poverty initiative.

He said this gave him the experience to manage Eastern’s budget, recruit talented volunteers and ensure that student government can produce results.

He plans to reach out to the media to fight for higher education funding.

“When our state leaders fail us, or call groups such as Fund EIU ‘crazy,’ I will make sure the media is reporting upon these failures,” Williams said. “(Gov.)Bruce Rauner, (Sen.) Dale Righter, and (Rep.) Reggie Phillips work for us, not the other way around.”

Williams said as president, he would reassure minority students and members of the LGBTQ community that the student government will stand against federal policies and rhetoric that he said unfairly target members of the university.

“College is meant to be a time of learning and growing, and nobody should spend college living in fear,” Williams said.