Presidential candidate biographies for the 2020-2021 Student Association election

Retrieved+from+the+UWL+Student+Association+Facebook+Page.

Retrieved from the UWL Student Association Facebook Page.

Sam Stroozas, Executive Editor

On Tuesday, April 28, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse students will be voting for the 2020-2021 Student Association (SA) election for President, Vice President, and Student Senators. Students only vote for a Senator for their college, so for example, if one was an education major in the School of Education, one would only get to vote for Senators within that college, but all students vote for the President and Vice President of SA. More information pertaining to the senatorial candidates will be made available.

Those running for President of SA include Cate Wiza (Olivia Ahnen) and Joshua Fiegel (Keenan Brummett). Vice President candidates are Olivia Ahnen (Cate Wiza) and Keenan Brummett (Joshua Fiegel).

The following candidate biographies were sent to The Racquet Press from the election commission. A sample ballot is provided below.

Presidential Candidate: Cate Wiza

1. What are your past experiences?

I have been active in Student Association since Spring 2018 when I was elected as a student senator for the College of Business Administration. During my time as a CBA senator, I have had the opportunity to sit on six University committees.

I chaired AIDAC in Fall 2019 where I have gained knowledge about budgets, Student Association spending, and how campus entities impact students. I have worked to maintain a relationship with UWL’s administration and be a voice for the students in the CBA. I worked closely with the Council of Presidents & Senators for the CBA student organizations, and I provided reports to inform my constituents about current issues.

Committees

  • Legislative Affairs Committee
  • Academic Initiatives Differential Allocation Committee
  • Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
  • Associate Dean Fixed Term Search Committee
  • Election Commission
  • Student Evaluation of Advisors Ad Hoc Committee

2. What inspired you to run for President?

I am running for President of Student Association because I understand that COVID-19 has created uncertainty on our campus and disrupted our normal way of life. I believe through collaboration with students and the administration, my goals for UWL can be implemented and our campus will get back on track. Olivia and I will stand up for the interests of students and make sure their voices are heard. UWL Student Association has allowed me to find my voice, and as President, I want to encourage others to use their voice to make a change.

3. What are your future goals for Student Senate?

My goals as President include the following: To help students get back on track this Fall semester and provide support. To conduct research and work to improve advising for students. To promote environmental sustainability on UWL’s campus. To replace plastic bags on our campus with reusable bags. To promote diversity and inclusion and help create more initiatives that make UWL more inclusive. To hold an additional “Elect Her” event during the Fall Semester. To work with Violence Prevention and create a campaign against sexual assault and domestic violence. To work with the administration on improving the phone reception in the Student Union.

4. How do you plan on representing your constituents?

I will respond to every email sent my way, and I will always be there for students who want to meet and have a conversation. Even if it’s just a conversation about your day, my door will always be open. There’s never a dumb question or a concern too small. Every concern matters, and I want to hear the students’ opinions. As President, I will have designated office hours as well for students to come to talk to me and express their concerns.

President Candidate: Joshua Fiegel 

1. What are your past experiences?

Joshua Fiegel has experience as a CBA senator, over 9 seasons coaching youth sports, and a variety of other experiences in leadership roles over his lifetime. Being the son of the most successful youth football coach in the history of his hometown, Joshua has also been held to and held himself to a higher standard than those around him. These high expectations came with a lot of pressure to outperform teams with five times as many players. Joshua also works part-time for a private security company, loves the Green Bay Packers, cheese, and UWL.

2. What inspired you to run for President?

One day Joshua learned about the things past UWLSA President had done such as establishing the drunk bus, building the REC, and guiding the Student Union construction. Being a senator on Student Senate, Joshua felt he had the opportunity to make real change on campus and leave a lasting impact for years to come to make UWL better for those who come after us.

3. What are your future goals for Student Senate?

Joshua’s future goals include increased production and use of green energy on campus, attempting to ensure tuition will stay the same price, and ensuring students feel safe on campus as no one should be afraid in the place we the students so often call home.

4. How do you plan on representing your constituents?

Joshua plans to take the same approach as some US presidents have taken and have a Livestream once every week to discuss what student association is doing and receive input from anyone who wishes to be heard.

Vice Presidential Candidate: Olivia Ahnen 

1. What are your past experiences? 

My name is Olivia Ahnen and I’m currently a Junior studying organizational and professional communication and digital media and design. I currently serve as the public relations director of the Student Association. I’ve spent the year handling the internal and external communication of our student government and serving as chairwoman of the marketing and special events committee. This has been an opportunity to learn how Student Association must communicate to the rest of the campus in order to do our jobs in the most effective way possible.

2. What inspired you to run for Vice President? 

I am passionate about providing each student at UWL the best experience possible and took this as an opportunity to step into a more substantive leadership position to enact positive change. I believe that Cate and I would be a great team to act on behalf of students’ interests. We both have experience holding leadership positions in Student Association already, with me holding a position on the executive cabinet and Cate being a multiple term student senator for the CBA. It’s this dynamic that will make us effectual leaders.

3. What are your future goals for Student Senate? 

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has thrown our campus for a loop this semester. Cate and I would like to help students get back on track during the summer and this Fall. Our ultimate goal is to provide support to students during this unprecedented time. Our other goals are as follows:

  • Conduct research and work to improve advising for students
  • Promote environmental sustainability on UWL’s campus
  • Replace plastic bags on our campus with reusable bags
  • Work with administration to improve advising for students
  • Promote diversity and inclusion and help create initiatives that make UWL more inclusive
  • Work with violence and prevention to create a campaign against sexual assault and domestic violence
  • Work with the administration on improving the phone reception in the Student Union

4. How do you plan on representing your constituents? 

Running an efficient and productive administration that considers each day as an opportunity to improve campus will be my main priority as your Vice President. The Student Association President and Vice President get put in their positions to improve the lives of students on campus. This is not a role that should be taken lightly, and it won’t be in mine and Cate’s administration.

Vice Presidential Candidate: Keenan Brummett

1. What are your past experiences?

Growing up I had to be there for myself because my father left at a young age and my mom worked 3 jobs to put food on the table. At times it was hard, but I don’t think I would be in the position I am today without that experience. When times got tough, it was always comforting to know that I could rely on my mom. She sacrificed so much yet always made time for me and my brothers. I try my best every day to be the best I can be, and my mom is the one that set the bar for me.

2. What inspired you to run for Vice President?

Being one of the only African American kids in my school, it was sometimes hard for my voice to be heard. People didn’t listen to me and sometimes they didn’t take what I was saying seriously. It was hard feeling so helpless, and I want to make sure nobody feels that way. Voicing your opinion in a small town is one thing but trying to stand out in a university is even scarier, especially if you don’t know anybody. I want everyone to be able to speak up at any moment and not be afraid they won’t be heard. I want to be the voice of the people, not for the people.

3. What are your future goals for Student Senate?

The future goal I’d like to focus on first would be the inclusivity of all genders and races. I don’t want anyone to feel as helpless as I once did. No matter your gender, race, sexuality, religion, or social standing I want you to have a voice about your future here at UWL. Nobody should feel unincluded just because they stand out for any reason. We need to stand together and embrace all our differences, that is the only way to understand one another and actually make a difference. We can’t ignore these issues anymore, as Charlie Chaplin once said, “you’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.”

4. How do you plan on representing your constituents?

One of the biggest flaws in politics, in my opinion, is when the candidates don’t get the information the voters are putting forth. It can get lost in translation or just as easily ignored. I want to be available for the students at all times. I plan on having multiple ways for voters to contact me, whether through social media or email. I will be checking all of these platforms every hour to make sure I am on top of any and all questions/concerns. I know this may seem unrealistic, but I want to be there for every voice that needs to be heard.

Sample ballot provided by the election commission.
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