Now Introducing: Jamal & Tristan- Pres & Vice Pres


Courtesy Photo

Tristan Bernhard (left) and Jamal White (right).

JACOB MADDEN, News Editor | [email protected]

After a year of contentious issues including the US Presidential election, as well as issues of mental health and diversity, the student body elected Jamal White, junior marketing and organizational management major, as student body president and Tristan Bernhard,  junior social science teaching and political science major, as student body vice president.

White is from St. Charles, south of Des Moines, and Bernhard is from Mason City. The two are involved with several different groups on campus, specifically in student life.

Bernhard, who was a senator in Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) for two years, has found many opportunities for involvement across campus. Bernhard has served as a Resident Assistant (RA) and as a member of the Department of Residence Inclusive Communities Team.

“I’ve also been heavily involved in Camp Adventure,” Bernhard said. “Which has been really transformative, so that’s probably been my favorite involvement that I’ve done, in addition to [National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH)] and some other student orgs too.”

White has also been heavily involved in residence life and student life as a whole.

“I’ve been a resident assistant too, just like Tristan,” White said. “As well as the Inclusive Communities Team, Student Admissions Ambassadors, Connecting Alumni to Students, NRHH.”

White also served as the lower cabinet director of student organizations and engagement.

Bernhard said that one of the first things he wants to accomplish is a diversity leadership certificate, which was one of the features of White and Bernhards campaign.

The diversity leadership certificate would create a program to incentivize diverse academic courses.

“We really think that’s something that’s really feasible,” Bernhard said. “That’s something we can really get done before we leave office.

“In addition to that, in general, Jamal and I are just working on building a really solid team that can, as a whole administration, support students really well,” Bernhard said.

White said that he would like to focus on building NISG’s brand as a support structure for students.

“Really creating those relationships with students,” White said. “To where we’re being the voice and we want them to be comfortable sharing their voice so we can be the voice at the upper level with administration and at the state level.

“I hope to ultimately work on campus culture and climate and what that looks like. So if it’s with things such as sexual assault, or awareness to things such as diversity to create a better climate on campus, and to create new programs that can really enhance the campus culture as a whole.”

Bernhard echoed this sentiment, stressing the need to bridge the gap between the student body and the faculty, especially as it relates to issues such as diversity.

“One of the areas I think we can really make the biggest strides in is in faculty’s familiarity with diversity issues,” Bernhard said. “I think there is still a really large gap there between, kind of the student understanding of diversity issues and the faculty experience. A lot of the concerned students I talked to, that is the issue, that things are happening in the classroom.”

White and Bernhard also said the campus political climate is a difficult issue to tackle. White said that having open conversations and approaching political issues with moderation can help bridge the gap between ideologies.

White and Bernhard have also written a letter welcoming new and returning students back for the new year on page two of the Northern Iowan Orientation Guide.