Presidential and vice presidential candidate biographies for the 2021-2022 Student Association election


Student Association logo. Image obtained from the UWL Student Association Facebook Page.

Julia Balli, Executive Editor

On Tuesday, April 27, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse students will be voting for the 2021-2022 Student Association (SA) election for President, Vice President, and Student Senators. More information pertaining to the senatorial candidates will be made available with the upcoming debate on Monday, April 19.

Those running for President of SA include Jared Zwettler (K.C. Cayo), Jordan Lattimore (Adrian Hernandez), Jenasea Hameister (Madelyn Hansen), Jake Williams (Erin Everson), and Isaac Ozolins (Robert Friske).

Vice President candidates are K.C. Cayo (Jared Zwettler), Adrian Hernandez (Jordan Lattimore), Madelyn Hansen (Jenasea Hameister), Erin Everson (Jake Williams), and Robert Friske (Isaaz Ozolins).

A sample ballot with all running candidates will be provided below. The following candidate biographies were sent to The Racquet Press from the election commission.

Presidential Candidate Jared Zwettler

1. What are your past experiences?

Jared Zwettler. (Photo retrieved from @zwettler.and.cayo Instagram page.)

My name is Jared Zwettler and I am a sophomore studying Mathematics and Political Science. Throughout the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters, I served as a Student Senator representing the College of Science and Health.

During my first year in Senate, I successfully created and served as the chair of the COVID-19 Policy Research Committee in order to promote policy transparency and address gaps in the student knowledge of administrative policies. I also served as the chair of the Academic Initiatives Differential Allocation Committee (AIDAC), which is a budget committee that allocates over $1.3 million to campus entities that support advising, diversity, internationalization, and research.

Outside of Senate, I also serve as a Youth Action Campaign Coordinator with the American Red Cross. I work closely with the International Humanitarian Law division to bring people together to do important outreach projects about IHL. I also work as a legislative intern in State Senator Brad Pfaff’s office, which has allowed me to gain unique experiences in the policy-making process.

2. What inspired you to run for P / VP?

I was inspired to run for President when I became the chair of AIDAC and got to look deeper into the university budget process. This process of collecting and allocating funds is vastly complex and I struggled to find out where our money is directly going. I began attending as many Budget 101 presentations as I could, and there is some budget information available to students. However, we can still do more.

Students should be able to see exactly where their money goes within the different divisions and colleges, and this information must be accessible to all students. This is

why I chose to run, to work with the administration to create transparency in our budgets which will enable us to have conversations about how to reallocate funds in the future.

We all need to have access to the proper resources to be successful, and this starts with budget transparency. Before we can determine where to reallocate funding in order to hire a Sustainability Coordinator or where we can get funding to improve mental health services on campus, we first need to know where the money is going currently. This is the key to jump-starting projects that so many students are passionate about, and as your Student Association President, I will do my best to work with everyone on campus to achieve these goals.

3. What are your future goals for Student Senate?

One of my biggest goals for Senate is to bring more voices to the table. We need to be doing more to bring diverse voices to the budget process in order to create more equitable budgets. We need to get as many perspectives involved in the budget process as we can, as this will produce the best end result.

K.C. and I also plan to work closely with the Green Fund, Students for Sustainability, and other campus organizations to continue making our campus more environmentally friendly. I am definitely not an expert when it comes to sustainability initiatives, but I am always looking to learn more. I will be sure to meet with Senators that have an interest in sustainability to gain new perspectives and help connect them with resources to support their goals.

We also hope to make the campus a more accessible place for all students. This starts with addressing barriers to mental health on campus. Students who are uninsured have a very difficult time obtaining the resources that they need in order to receive special accommodations for their classes. This is a major concern.

As president, I will also work with entities across campus to remove attendance policies, which punish students twice, once for missing the material and again for being absent. These policies are also inequitable, as they frequently impact low-income students and those with mental health problems, who tend to miss more classes due to work or their mental health problems.

4. How do you plan on representing your constituents?

I plan to make myself very accessible to the student body. Students can expect to see me frequently in Murphy Library and the Student Union doing homework, studying, or just watching Netflix. I will be sure to make sure that I am available in both a formal and casual setting as your Student Association President to best serve you in whatever way I can.

In addition to meeting frequently with students, I plan to also meet regularly with Student Organization leaders and individually meet with members of the Senate to get a better idea of what issues the student body is facing. These are the issues that I will bring to my meetings with Chancellor Gow, Provost Morgan, and other folks within the administration.

K.C. and I will do our best to make sure that we are proactively reaching out to students as well. We want to be listening to you, learning about your experiences and goals, and seeing how we can best help each and every student at UWL. Accessibility is the key. We will always do our best to be open with emails, online meetings, and in-person meetings with all students.

Presidental Candidate Jordan Lattimore

1. What are your past experiences?

Jordan Lattimore. (Photo retrieved from @jordan_lattimore Instagram page.)

I believe that I am a very well-rounded individual. I’d like to say I can attribute those qualities to my parents. My dad worked in the White House and Pentagon; therefore, a lot of my political knowledge and leadership was passed down by my dad to me. I have worked directly with Bryan Steil (Rep. of Kenosha, WI) to address environmental concerns and currently, I am a part of UWL SUFAC. SUFAC is a committee that determines where and how money is spent around campus. I have also been a part of my high school student government and mock trial. I believe my diverse range of experience and knowledge inside and outside of UWL sets me up for success in office.

2. What inspired you to run for P / VP?

I would like to state that I am less interested in the title of “president” and I am genuinely more concerned with the needs and wants of my fellow students. Running for student body president will offer me a larger platform to connect with my peers and offer me opportunities to make positive changes. If you know me you recognize I am remarkably social. If you do not know me, you will. My main goal is to make our years at college memorable but also expand awareness on issues that impact students. Issues ranging and varying from mental health, sustainability, and food options.

3. What are your future goals for Student Senate?

A variety of students were polled about their knowledge of student government at UWL. A majority of the students polled admitted they were not aware UWL had a student-led government. This lack of knowledge gave me a clear vision for the future of student senate. My first goal is to ensure students know UWL has a student-led government. My second goal for the student senate is to address student concerns, assist in the investigation of student

problems, and participate in decisions affecting the educational experience of students. Lastly, I want to provide an official voice through which student opinions may be expressed; for example, opinions about how our campus is affecting the environment.

4. How do you plan on representing your constituents?

As student body president, I will devote my time to listening to students’ requests, concerns, and disputes. I desire to be the link between the students and student government/faculty. I will be open-minded and willing to work with a diverse group of people to improve my competence as the student body President. Seeing as how I would be stepping into a new position, I will look for guidance from the people I am working with so I can serve the students better. My plan is to consider every option when trying to make UWL a better campus.

Presidential Candidate Jake Williams

1. What are your past experiences?

Jake Williams. (Photo retrieved from @we.lax2021 Instagram page.)

I’ve also held leadership roles and maintained active participation in clubs like the Students for Sustainability, Political Science & Public Administration Association, and our campus History Club—where I currently serve as President—as well. I’ve learned about important areas like budgeting, management, and communication through these experiences.

2. What inspired you to run for P / VP?

What inspired me to run for Student Association President is the pattern of student concerns being raised and the Student Association being unable to deliver on any real substantive change. If elected I will work to ensure that not only will my administration be able to deliver change but that the Student Association as a whole will be better equipped going forward long after we graduate.

3. What are your future goals for Student Senate?

I believe that students deserve a better student experience. My goals are to improve the student experience by making sure the student association is set up in a way to be reflective of the student body and delivers real substantive change. This will allow us to make real progress on improving the food, strengthening our community, and advocating for sustainability.

4. How do you plan on representing your constituents?

In order to represent my constituents, I can’t do the bare minimum that is laid out in the bylaws. I have to address the increasing divide between students, and their representatives. I plan on closing that gap by meeting with as many students as possible and giving students’ voices a permanent seat at the table.

Presidential Candidate Isaac Ozolins

1. What are your past experiences?

Isaac Ozolins.

In the fall of 2019, I was elected to serve as a Freshman representative on Student Association. I got the pleasure of serving on SUFAC, Legislative Affairs, and later ADIAC. These three committees taught me a lot about how our student government is operated and how your fees are spent. I kept noticing a disconnect between what the student body wants and what Student Association accomplishes. Special interests inside of Student Association eat up a lot of the money that should be going to the student body. You pay segregated fees but rarely get any benefit from paying them. That needs to change. All student organizations should have equal access to the funds collected by the administration.

2. What inspired you to run for P / VP?

I decided to run for President of Student Association because of the University’s response to Covid-19. Today, over a year after “14 days to slow the spread”, the University still refuses to open up. Many of the services that you paid for are still unavailable with only a few exceptions. After a long talk with my running partner RJ, we recognized that things were not going to get better on their own. The student body needs a voice to say that their mental health, education, and college experience matter. I have made it my goal to return campus back to normal. The Covid crisis is ending, our campus policies need to reflect that.

3. What are your future goals for Student Senate?

If elected President of Student Association, I plan on fighting for the following:

● Reopening all areas closed by Covid to their maximum capacity (including: Classes, Chars, Whitney, Study rooms, The Rec)

● Solving this mental health crisis created by the longevity and severity of these Covid restrictions.

● Making masks, testing, and vaccination recommended but not required; what you wear or do to your body should be your choice.

● Creating a strong Org’s ecosystem that allows students to better connect with campus organizations and activities.

● Reworking the Cove so that active student organizations can have a home base on campus.

● More parking.

● Getting all Intramural Sports back to normal.

● Spending Student Association money in a way that represents the student body.

4. How do you plan on representing your constituents?

In these hard times, we might not agree on what should be done, but we can all agree that something has to change. I plan on being a thorn in the administration’s shoes for as long as they put your mental health, education, and college experience second. The administration needs to know when it is working against the interests of its students. To fix this gap in understanding, we need your thoughts on how our campus can be bettered. Please feel free to reach out to RJ or I either through email anytime, even if you just want somebody to talk to ([email protected], [email protected]). Never forget that this is your campus, you get a say on how it is run.

Vice Presidential Candidate K.C. Cayo

1. What are your past experiences?

K.C. Cayo. (Photo taken by Aaron Ickler of Ickler Photography.)

I have been on UWL’s Student Senate for the past three years, creating legislation to transform our university as well as local and state politics. During my time as a senator, I was tasked with representing first years, CASSH, and this year I had the privilege to serve as The Pride Center senator. Over the years I have written resolutions to add a Diversity and Inclusion statement to Student Association and student organization bylaws, resolutions approving sustainable Green Fund initiatives for our campus, and resolutions supporting and opposing current issues happening in local politics that would affect students on this campus (e.g. opposing anti-trans legislation in Wisconsin, opposing building on The Bluffs, etc.).

As a senator, you need to sit on a minimum of two committees, and over the years I have been on quite a few; I have been on the Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee (SUFAC), which decides how segregated student fees get allocated to specific programs and activities, for three years and currently sit as its Chair. I was last year’s Chair for the Academic Initiatives Differential Allocation Committee (AIDAC) where we were tasked with making budget cuts and allocations to different entities. In addition to those two different budgetary committees on campus, I am the student representative for the university’s Campus Climate Survey Team, the Title IX Advisory Board, an ad hoc COVID-19 Policy Research Committee, and the Misconduct Hearing Committee.

Outside of my experience in Student Senate, I am also an advocate in our community, working closely with activist groups such as Citizen Action WI, NextGen WI, and Our Wisconsin Revolution to aid in Get Out the Vote efforts, organizing young people around issues they care about and pushing the La Crosse City Council to support green and sustainable initiatives by 2050.

2. What inspired you to run for P / VP?

I think that I have the drive and experience to make real change on our campus. I have written resolutions, already have a relationship with administration and faculty, and have been at the table where decisions are being made. The policy does not get changed overnight, and that is something that my time as a senator has shown me firsthand.

The Vice President also needs to have an intimate understanding of Robert’s Rules of Order, parliamentary procedure, writing legislation, and delegating to a team, all of which are skills that Student Senate has prepared me for.

It would also be really amazing to be the first nonbinary person in the Executive Branch of Student Association. As a queer student who uses they/them pronouns, I think I represent a constituency that has not been given ample space to flourish in areas where policies are created—getting to serve in this role would redefine how we allowed to exist at UWL and in society.

3. What are your future goals for Student Senate?

Jared and I have organized our top three campaign goals around three pillars: Accessibility, Sustainability, and Transparency. This is not an exhaustive list, but these are the ones that after the last year we decided students care the most about, and we wanted to honor that.

We would like to address the inequality of accessibility on this campus, and for a lot of students, mental health is the greatest barrier for them in that regard. Insurance is a barrier to using the ACCESS Center and if students need extra help outside of Counseling & Testing. We intend to advocate and organize around offering more resources on campus for students. Attendance policies are another ableist accessibility concern on this campus and are particularly harmful to students of marginalized identities. We want to move toward a future where students do not need to sacrifice their mental health for a grade.

UWL students are always looking for ways to promote sustainability and green energy use on our campus, and that is absolutely something we can deliver. We can better promote and spotlight past and current Green Fund projects and help mentor students in the grant-writing process. There are also ways we can incorporate sustainable options into existing systems and decision-making processes on campus. If there is one thing that COVID-19 has shown us, it is that we are well-suited to function without needing to print out lengthy assignments or handouts for students. We would partner closely with Students for Sustainability, the Green Fund coordinator(s), and Student Association’s Sustainability Director to bring more green opportunities to our campus.

Student Association and student’s role in the budget process has not been an accessible space for all students, and we would like to bring more voices into those conversations. Students should know how resolutions affect them, where their student fees are going, how the university allocates its money and why. Creating space for collaboration with more students is incredibly important in the process of transparency.

4. How do you plan on representing your constituents?

Student Association representatives hold weekly office hours, but students are also more than welcome to set up meetings with me in other informal settings, too! I practically live in The Pride Center on campus and can be easily reached there. We can also be reached by email or on our social media accounts, too, if students have questions/concerns/comments.

We will also be reaching out to students via email announcements, social media posts, press releases, online and in-person meetings, and the works. We can best represent this campus if we are engaging in earnest, frequent outreach to students!

Vice Presidential Candidate Erin Everson

1. What are your past experiences?

Erin Everson. (Photo retrieved from @we.lax2021 Instagram page.)

My name is Erin Everson and I’m an English major with a legal studies minor. I’m involved in a range of clubs such as women’s rugby, women’s hockey, tabletop board game club, and political science public administration association (PSPAA). I have learned leadership skills from being involved on campus and I’m also known for having a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility.

2. What inspired you to run for P / VP?

I’m running for VP because I want to make changes that positively impact the day-to-day lives of students. Right now, many students are struggling with their mental health and I think that it is the responsibility of the Student Association to advocate for those students. My main goal as VP is to pay attention to the challenges students are facing and ensure they are getting the support they need to do well.

3. What are your future goals for Student Senate?

· Working to improve lackluster services for students, like the academic advising office, counseling and testing center, and Whitney.

· Teaming up with the violence prevention office to eradicate domestic violence and sexual assault on campus through targeted awareness campaigns.

· Fostering an increased sense of diversity, inclusion, and community across students of all backgrounds. Covid has taken a toll on all of this and I would like to improve upon it going into the Fall semester.

4. How do you plan on representing your constituents?

In past years, many Student Association VPs have taken a very hands-off approach towards their positions, but Covid permitting I intend to hold public forums where interested students can ask a question about the things which are important to them. To the same end, I would like to send out email notifications regularly to update them about the activities of their student government.

Vice Presidential Candidate Robert Friske

1. What are your past experiences?

Robert Friske. (Photo retrieved from @the_rj.friske Instagram page.)

I, like many other students, have had no prior involvement in student government. This means that I view campus issues as a typical student does. Just because I haven’t been part of student government, doesn’t mean I don’t have leadership skills. In high school I was a team captain for the basketball team and helped to lead a youth-group in my hometown.

2. What inspired you to run for P / VP?

I decided to run for Vice-President of the Student Association because I haven’t felt well represented on campus specifically with how my tuition money is spent on buildings and resources that are un-accessible due to COVID-19 restrictions. I’ve concluded that rather than complain about things on campus, I should do whatever I can to make campus better. Isaac and I want to be the voice for students whose voices have gone unheard.

3. What are your future goals for Student Senate?

My goal for student senate is simple: bring life back to a once lively campus. I plan on accomplishing this by:

· Ensure the option of in-person classes for students

· Bringing dinning back to full capacity, including the re-opening of Chars.

· Keeping dorms lobby entrances open to allow students to visit friends in other dorms.

· Help Student Org’s access the resources they need to grow

· Restarting intramurals on campus, and bringing the rec back to full capacity

· Continuing to provide medical protective wear for students who need that resource.

4. How do you plan on representing your constituents?

I plan to represent students on campus to the best of my ability. I want to be a Vice-President FOR the people. In practice, this looks like prompt responses to emails and DMs, hosting extended office hours, and prioritizing your ideas. Since I’m running to represent you, the students, please feel free to reach out to Isaac or myself ([email protected], [email protected] ) at any time about issues on campus or if you just need someone to talk to in these tough times.

Presidential Candidate Jenasea Hameister, Vice Presidential Candidate Madelyn Hansen, and Vice Presidential Candidate Adrian Hernandez did not provide candidate biographies.

Sample ballot for 2021-2022 Student Association election.