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Northern Iowan

What NISG election means to you

AARON FRIEL, Opinion Columnist

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Editor’s Note: The Northern Iowan Student Government Election Rules can be found here

Two and a half weeks from now students will be asked to vote for student government, and if they’re unlucky enough to have a runoff, to vote again a week after that.

The deluge of social media posts, endorsements and platform quotes will be so torrential that the National Weather Service may have to report on “NISG Election Tammy” sweeping through our respective news feeds and social circles. Like ripping off a band-aid, that’s the bad news.

By the time this is published two tickets for president and vice president will have announced, beginning their campaign. They will present platforms, make their case in countless meetings with student organizations and participate in a debate to earn your vote.

The good news then is that Panthers will have a chance to vet the candidates, ask them questions and challenge them on their understanding of the university and ability to accomplish their goals.

It’s more important than ever for students to vote for someone who will have their back as the university goes through significant changes, both in administration and funding, and as state and federal governments change hands and political course.

Advocating for mental healthcare, sexual assault prevention and funding for higher education will be challenges for the new administration. At the same time, they will have to address the growing needs of a broad range of student organizations, with changes in how the university treats these organizations and how NISG will fund them going forward.

They will have to do this all while full time students, so their sacrifice is worthy of respect. (I write this as a candidate that did not win the election last year. The time commitment is immense, and Hunter Flesch and Avery Johnson are commended for it.)

The next NISG president and vice president will also have to nominate four paid cabinet positions and many more volunteer lower cabinet positions. The ability to make those choices, to find experienced and qualified candidates and to run an office will be vital.

Past administrations have struggled, no doubt as for most candidates it may be the first time they have ever been put in the position of having to hire someone. When casting a ballot, it will be not just for the elected officials, but this broad set of students that will represent them on committees dealing with diversity, student organizations, disability services, health services and so on.

But for all that the executive branch will deal with, the senate is equally important. The students that run for these offices will also sit on committees, address issues and have been forceful advocates for good at UNI. Regrettably, too often there aren’t more candidates than there are seats.

If any reader believes they can make positive change, then there is ample room to run for office. Senators decide the funding allocated to student organizations, draft the resolutions that inform our higher elected representatives of the students’ views, and more. The speaker of the senate, an officer the senators elect themselves, has an even greater responsibility in running the senate responsibly and efficiently.

While the Northern Iowan will cover this election, the debate and the activities of the candidates, the onus is on each student to determine who will best represent them as president and vice president or as a senator in their college.

Voters should ask themselves who meets these criteria and who is best equipped to select team members to work with to represent the entire campus.

For students who choose to run, the election rules will be published along with this article on the Northern Iowan’s website, at northerniowan.com.

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The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa
What NISG election means to you