Flesch and Johnson are going to work

Hunter+Flesch+%28left%29+and+Avery+Johnson+%28right%29+won+this+year%27s+student+elections+to+become+the+new+NISG+president+and+vice+president%2C+respectively.+
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Flesch and Johnson are going to work

Hunter Flesch (left) and Avery Johnson (right) won this year's student elections to become the new NISG president and vice president, respectively.

Hunter Flesch (left) and Avery Johnson (right) won this year's student elections to become the new NISG president and vice president, respectively.

Hunter Flesch (left) and Avery Johnson (right) won this year's student elections to become the new NISG president and vice president, respectively.

Hunter Flesch (left) and Avery Johnson (right) won this year's student elections to become the new NISG president and vice president, respectively.

LEZIGA BARIKOR, Associate Copy Editor

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What do you get when you pair a superhero nerd with a slam poet? You get the newest Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) president and vice president.

Hunter Flesch, sophomore elementary and middle level education double major, and Avery Johnson, sophomore English major, won the election for president and vice president by earning 1,187 out of the 2,072 votes cast – or 57.28 percent of the total votes.

The duo’s origins date back to their first semester in college, when they first saw each other at a Sigma Phi Epsilon scholarship event in the fall of 2014.

However, they didn’t formally meet until their first SigEp class together. Both Flesch and Johnson fondly recalled that first interaction in class.

It was then, during their freshman year, that Flesch and Johnson first thought about running for NISG president and vice president.

“We saw Kevin [Gartman] and Paul [Anderson] as the good leaders and role models,” Flesch said. “This would be something really cool to do, but neither of us were involved in NISG at that time.”

It was only a couple months after deciding not to run that year that Flesch and Avery felt the urge to run for those positions again.

“We were having a discussion of how we could affect students the best way,” Flesch said. “We decided that the biggest way we could impact students is through these roles. So that’s why we decided to run for president and vice president.

Due to their interactions with the former NISG president and vice president, who were also fellow SigEp members, Johnson said it was very easy for them to decide which positions to run for.

“I heard from Paul Anderson about what the vice president did and I heard from Kevin about what the president did,” Johnson said. “I liked the job description of vice president so that’s the one I wanted.”

Flesch said he was more drawn to the role of president because of the opportunities it provides to work with the higher-ups in the state and to see hard data on issues affecting UNI. But Flesch doesn’t see that making his role in NISG any more important than the other members.

“I don’t even like the title of president,” Flesch said. “I just see it as team leader, [a] team member, because we’re all putting in so much work and so much time, and we’re all doing it at the same cost.”

Flesch and Johnson ran on a platform that focused on three main points: mental health, sustainability and student engagement. To elaborate on student engagement, Flesch explained that they want to get student leaders who are interested to start collaborating together on events.

Johnson said that they hope to “use connections to bring people together,” and thus expand student life at UNI. This includes NISG as well.

“It’s going to be a culture change in NISG,” Flesch said. He explained that pulling more students into NISG starts with making a more positive and fun experience for the students who already participate.

Flesch and Johnson also inherited a number of programs from the previous NISG presidencies. Initiatives like creating the Diversity Exit requirement, the Bikeshare program and the Women’s Center were just a few that Flesch highlighted.

“I think the toughest thing is just figuring out, ‘Okay where do we start, how do we establish a plan for next year for our administration, but also how do we continue all the work that’s been done through this year?’ And sort of figuring out how to balance it,” Flesch said.

With all the work they’ll be doing, Flesch and Johnson say that they already have stable support systems set up. Johnson deals with stress by writing poetry, playing racquet ball or talking to his mom. Flesch relaxes by going for nature walks, fishing or taking Netflix breaks.

“Honestly, I’m looking forward to a positive year,” Flesch said. “We’ve got a good team – a good plan set in place – so I’m just really excited to get to work.”

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