Election coverage: Student Government elections open through Thursday

Three campaigns are running to be the leader of Student Government, creating platforms on a range of issues and garnering diverse student support at Truman State University.

Voting for Student Government opened Monday and will conclude at 10 a.m. Thursday morning. There are three people campaigning to be president and 13 senators running for 12 Senate seats. The ballot also includes Student Senate initiatives students can vote on. The three president and vice president tickets are junior Keaton Leppanen and sophomore Deanna Schmidt, juniors Remy McClain and Annika Eckenrode, and juniors Riley Bonnesen and Nicolas Poindexter.

Leppanen and Schmidt said they have a project-oriented platform, with priorities including medical amnesty, test-out options for essential skills, student-accessible printing in all academic buildings on campus, a TEDx conference and mental health support.

“One thing we like to drive home with all of our projects is that these are not harebrained things,” Leppanen said. “These are all concrete, obtainable goals that we’ve talked to faculty with, that we have talked to administration about and we have a plan to actually accomplish.”

Leppanen and Schmidt said if elected, they would work to preserve the current culture of productivity established this year in Student Government. They said they want to lead a project-oriented body that always has new ideas and follows through with them to improve Truman. Keeping up the morale of the Student Senate body is an important part of productivity, they said, as is keeping conflict at a minimum.

Leppanen said he has served in Student Government since his first semester at Truman, holding numerous positions including Student Affairs chair and speaker of the Student Senate. Schmidt said she has also served since her first semester at Truman and is currently a member of the TEDx planning committee and serving as academic affairs chair.

To gather support for their campaign, Leppanen and Schmidt said they have pushed for facetime with a variety of students.

“We have reached out to a ton of student organizations … I think we ended up reaching out to 25-30, easily,” Schmidt said. “We wanted to draw from a diversity of organizations, so not just Greek Life, not just athletics, but a lot of smaller organizations as well like some political, academic and pre-professional. Some all across the body.”

McClain, whose running mate is Eckenrode, said their campaign has a four-pillar platform focused on mental health, transparency, the environment and community involvement. McClain said the platform includes a push for suicide prevention — which is one of their top priorities — making Student Government more visible and accessible to students, increasing plant life on campus, and more garnering cooperation and partnership with the Kirksville community.

McClain said he would like to further pursue the growth in the Student Senate body and projects established by the current Student Government leaders.

“Making sure we can do projects that are going to positively influence the University and supporting what [Student Government] comes up with is very important, so is making sure it gets implemented in a timely fashion,” McClain said.

McClain said he wants to continue the style of leadership the current administration is using because he thinks it is the most beneficial to the organization and its members in providing a support network that makes Student Government more efficient.

McClain said he has served in Student Senate since his first semester at Truman and has served in multiple positions including academic affairs chair, speaker pro tempore and parking ad hoc committee chair. He said Eckenrode does not have Student Government experience, but is heavily involved with other student organizations on campus, which might benefit in creating more transparency between Student Government and the student body.

McClain said to garner student support, they created a Facebook page and website when they started actively campaigning to fully share their platform and project ideas. Additionally, McClain said he and Eckenrode visited student organizations to speak about their ideas and campaign.

Bonnesen and Poindexter said their platform consists of improving University image, communication between Student Government and different student groups as well as University administration, accessibility to Student Government, student wellness, and creating practical goals. The priority of the platform would focus on creating a wellness booklet for students about managing University life and reducing stress and creating a partner program to help students further explore the different organizations and involvement opportunities on campus.

“A lot of times, Student Government can get bogged down in the politics of a situation or small things that don’t really have a big impact on the student body as a whole,” Poindexter said. “We want to really tackle problems that many students are facing and tackle them in a way that actually solves the problem and isn’t just the politically expedient thing to do.”

Bonnesen and Poindexter said they would like to see more input from the student body on issues Student Government is considering. They said they want to make clear to all students the power Student Government has and how the organization can be used to enact change and make improvements to the University and student life.

Bonnesen and Poindexter said they are running as outside candidates, meaning neither of them have experience with Student Government, but the relationships they have built across campus will be beneficial in this position. Bonnesen said he has experience as a Harry S. Truman  Leadership Scholar and K-Life leader, as well as holding leadership positions in other organizations and internships. Poindexter said he was the vice president of chapter operations for Delta Sigma Pi and has leadership experience with the K-Life program and internships.

Bonnesen and Poindexter said they have been gathering support for their campaign mainly through social media. They said they have mobilized the talents and support of their friends and other students to help spread their ideas and message.

“We think that social media is a good way of getting our personalities out there while also getting our platform out there,” Bonnesen said.  

The election results will be announced Thursday at noon. Check tmn.truman.edu for results.