Candidates debate campaign goals

Zach Wagner | Collegio Reporter

In a debate between the BOOM party and the ASAP party, candidates covered topics ranging from student apathy toward SGA to plans for enhancing everyday campus life, sharing their visions for PSU’s future in front of about 40 students.
Eric Jones, SGA president, opened the debate by asking the candidates for their opinions on a recently published article about a possible disconnect between students and SGA.
Sydney Ward, BOOM (Break Out of the Menagerie) party candidate for vice president, says that there is definitely an issue of student disconnect from SGA.

Student Government Association presidential candidate Lara Ismert speaks during the Candidate Forum held on Tuesday, April 10, in Grubbs Hall. | Kenzi Jordan/Collegio

Student Government Association presidential candidate Lara Ismert speaks during the Candidate Forum held on Tuesday, April 10, in Grubbs Hall. | Kenzi Jordan/Collegio

“For too long we’ve had this reputation as this group of Greek elitists. I don’t think it’s the students’ fault, though,” said Ward, junior in communication. “It’s up to us, SGA, to make known that we want to make a difference and encourage student organizations to come to us for support.”
Ward cited a recent event implemented by BOOM, titled “Sure Happy It’s Tuesday,” where members of PSU’s campus can notify SGA about their ongoing issues.
Edwin Stremel, ASAP (All Students Advocacy Party) candidate for vice president, says he wishes to see a greater representation for organizations around PSU in the future.
“What we really want to do is make sure we have a campus where everyone wants to be involved,” said Stremel, senior in automotive technology. “I think some organizations feel like they are disconnected from it all, therefore they feel disconnected. I don’t think that should happen.”
Sen. Thomas Gregory asked the candidates for their stance on the proposed conceal and carry bill in the Kansas Legislature.
Stremel says he sees no harm in the responsible carrying of a concealed firearm around campus.
“If you look at the history, not a single massacre has taken place at schools with concealed and carry weapons rights,” Stremel said. “As is, you have to admit it doesn’t make it any less safe to allow it.”
Ward says she wants to see a campus free of any weaponry, citing research that has shown the benefits of being firearm free.
“In past years, SGA continued to be against allowing firearms on campus,” Ward said. “Police officers are put in more danger around campus if this were to be carried out and allowed.”
The focus then shifted to the plans for making PSU a tobacco-free campus.
Kafui Alomenu, presidential candidate for ASAP, says that the amount of time it takes to make the campus tobacco-free depends on how much students know about the plan.
“’When is it going to happen?’ is a regular question,” said Alomenu, graduate student. “I think what we really need to do is get some more student attention for it. It’s for the better health of everyone.”
Lara Ismert, presidential candidate for BOOM, says that making PSU a tobacco-free campus can be achieved in the near future.
“I think that we’ll see less opposition for a future tobacco-free campus,” said Ismert, senior in English and math. “It’s definitely something that I’m excited to see happen in the coming years.”
At the end of the debate, both candidates were asked what some of their top initiatives would be if they were elected.
Alomenu says he hopes to increase student connectivity around PSU.
“A big problem is just students not knowing what all is going on around the university,” Alomenu said. “When students aren’t able to be informed about what’s happening around campus, they won’t be able to get out in the open with their ideas. That is a big problem for those organizations wanting to gain attention and publicity.”
Ismert says she hopes to make the university a “greener” campus, and improve student connectivity.
“We need to partake in receptacles for recyclable materials,” Ismert said. “SGA should work to provide those for students, and they should make sure students know what’s going on during meetings.”
Online voting for the next SGA leaders opened on April 11 and will close on April 19.

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