Democratic duty: Student Senate polls closing soon
It may not be November, but a campaign of a different stripe is happening on campus. This week launched the elections for Student Senate, and from the flurry of posters to tabling efforts by the candidates, the campaign process is well underway.
MSUM’s Student Senate is separated into two parts: the Executive Board and at-large senators. The Executive Board is comprised of the president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. Senators include specific representatives for the five academic colleges and 12 senators.
Senate members are elected for a one-year term. Those elected this year will assume office the day after the spring semester ends.
This year, there is only one contested position on the Executive Board: the president. The two candidates are Madeline Jo Carlson and Rahil Pereira. There were no approved candidates for vice president. According to current Student Body President Kaleen Krueger, if no write-in candidate qualifies, then a special election will be held to fill the position.
Madeline Jo Carlson: “Big goals with the tenacity to achieve them”
Madeline ‘Maddie’ Jo Carlson is an entertainment industries and technology sophomore. She is currently the secretary of Student Senate.
“I love what I do here,” Carlson said. “I love that we make change.”
Carlson joined the organization as a senator her freshman year. Now in her second year, she hopes to continue her involvement in a new position.
“The president is really the bridge between (the) administration and students and works to put policy into place,” Carlson said.
Working in student government comes with challenges, but Carlson finds it rewarding.
“I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to both dealing with the Student Senate and … the bridge between students and faculty,” Carlson said.
Carlson’s main goal for next year is increasing involvement. She hopes to collaborate with other groups and help students feel like they too can take an active role.
“I want to make the Senate a more welcoming place,” Carlson said. “I’m really running on the basis of great humility and heart. I try to look for the best in people.”
Carlson insists that two people can accomplish much more together than they can alone. Her plan is to encourage the formation of bonds between the Senate and other students on campus.
“We have such a diverse campus that no two people are ever going to have the same view on anything,” Carlson said. “Someone needs to be in place so they can be there, listen to everyone and not put anyone down.”
Rahil Pereira: “Progress with purpose”
Rahil Pereira is a junior with majors in economics and international studies. He is currently the senator for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
“I was the student body president in high school,” Pereira said. “From a really young age, I got involved in extracurricular activities, organizing events and advocating for students.”
Since beginning his collegiate career, Pereira said he has been very active at MSUM. He holds multiple positions on campus, including president of the Model United Nations Club and chair for the Legislative and Internal Affairs Committee.
“I’m part of academic organizations along with more fun organizations,” Pereira said. “I have a good idea of what students want and need. I can use that to bring forth the greater good for the university as a whole and not just one group.”
Pereira’s campaign is built on four main goals: textbook affordability,
maintaining/lowering tuition costs, increasing environmental sustainability efforts and increasing student involvement in university legislation.
“We’re trying to work with Students United to come up with a common textbook affordability plan that all schools can be a part of,” Pereira said.
This plan would include using open-book resources, which are free online books that students can easily access. Pereira said this would reduce the cost of textbooks for students significantly.
“Another thing that I want to do is set up a sustainability committee within Student Senate,” Pereira said. “I think having student input and students being able to say ‘how can we make things better?’ is super important.”
Pereira said the university is making efforts toward being more sustainable, but most senates at other universities have student-run committees like the one he is proposing.
“People think that Student Senate is just one body,” Pereira said, “(but) there are multiple committees and multiple ways that they could be a part of (it).”
Casting your ballot
Voting for next year’s Student Senate began on April 9 at 8 a.m. Ballots are accepted until April 13 at 4:30 p.m. To vote, search senate on Dragon Digest or visit my.mnstate.edu/elections. Below is a list of all the candidates. Statements from each candidate are available within the online voting ballot.
Maddie Jo Carlson
At Large Senator:
College of Arts, Media & Communication Representative:
College of Business & Innovation Representative:
College of Education & Human Services Representative:
College of Humanities & Social Sciences Representative:
College of Science, Health & the Environment Representative: