New NISG Upper Cabinet commences


NISG/Courtesy Photo

The new Upper Cabinet members of Northern Iowa Student Government were officially sworn into their positions on Wednesday, April 10. The new members began work in their individual roles on Monday, April 15.


On Wednesday, April 10, the new Upper Cabinet members of Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) were officially sworn into their positions. Each person started work in their individual roles on Monday, April 15. NISG President Jacob Levang and Vice President Jacob Stites selected the Upper Cabinet Members based on applications from the student body.

The new Upper Cabinet consists of the following members: Chief of Staff Chad Schafer, Director of Finance Amela Music, Director of Government Relations Isaak Esperson, Director of Public Relations Sara Goodman and Director of Diversity Mahlia Brown.

“I’m very confident with all of the picks that Levang and Stites have decided to choose for each of them,” said outgoing Director of Public Relations David Konfrst. “I think that they all bring a unique aspect to the table. I think overall with all these positions, I don’t know if there could have actually been better picks for these.”

After the NISG election, the newly-elected president and vice president decide when to open up applications for Upper Cabinet positions. This year, Levang and Stites chose to open them the Monday after the election.

Although applications are open to the entire student body, each Upper Cabinet member for the 2019-2020 school year has been involved with NISG in the past. Once the applications closed, each applicant was interviewed. Levang and Stites deliberated about the best candidates for the individual positions before making their picks. On the Wednesday that followed, the selected applicants gave their confirmation speeches to NISG.

“[NISG members] can ask whatever questions that they would like to, any concerns, stuff like that,” Konfrst explained. “From there, if the Senate feels like they are a great pick, they will confirm them in, and, as of last Wednesday, they all got confirmed.

According to Konfrst, Levang and Stites selected these individuals based not only on their individual qualifications, but also on their ability to work as a team.

“[The Upper Cabinet is] going to work a lot with the Title IX office,” Konfrst said. “They’re going to work a lot with sexual assault and making sure that they can help advocate for survivors of sexual assault. They’re going to work a lot as an Upper Cabinet on preparing for the 2020 elections.”

According to Konfrst, the new Upper Cabinet members will each have their own individual initiatives to focus on, similar to this past years’ Panthers Vote Initiative, which encouraged UNI students to get out and vote.

The Chief of Staff and Director of Diversity are fairly new roles. This will be the third consecutive years that each role has been held. Konfrst said these positions are still being defined by the people who hold them each year.

The Director of Diversity Mahlia Brown is responsible for spearheading diversity inclusion efforts and advocating for social justice. Brown is a junior psychology major.

“Mahlia has been a rock star as a senator,” Konfrst said. “She’s done a lot of great work with advocating for social justice and for including multicultural students.”

The Chief of Staff Chad Schafer works with NISG’s Board of Directors to help them with their individual initiatives. Schafer is a junior social science teaching major.

“With Chad, he brings the support system,” Konfrst said. “He’s one that will always break down a wall if it’s right in front of him. He’s one that’s going to support any initiative and always help them. He’ll never do it for them but he’ll always make sure they have all the resources they need.”

The Director of Public Relations Sara Goodman is responsible for NISG’s messaging and managing a marketing calendar to effectively get information out to students. According to Konfrst, Goodman was qualified for this role due to her background and experience with communications. Goodman is a junior marketing major.

Director of Finance Amela Music is responsible for handling money for the organization as well as helping student organizations fill out applications for NISG funding. Music is a junior economics and philosophy major. According to Konfrst, she was qualified for this role based on her internship experience as well as her experience within NISG.

Director of Government Relations Isaak Esperson is responsible for organizing student days at the capital and advocating for student issues such as lowering tuition. Esperson is a junior political science and history major. Konfrst said that Esperson emphasized his experience with UNI Day at the Capital in his confirmation speech.

Esperson is the only member of the Executive Branch, aside from President Levang, who is involved with the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon. In the past, many NISG positions were held by Sigma Phi Epsilon members, but this year there are no senators who belong to the fraternity, according to Konfrst.

“With [the Director of] Government Relations, there were only a couple of applications with that. Isaak was the most qualified,” Konfrst said. “So with him, I think that was a great pick as well. I think overall, yes, in years past there has been a lot of I guess you could say controversy, with SigEp being involved in student government. But that also shows that there is an initiative as well with wanting to put members within the organization to make sure that not only things run smoothly but just a way for students in general to become leaders and NISG is a great organization to do that.”