Student body elections heating up at UND
As the school year begins to wind down, election season is cranking up on UND's campus.
Three teams are running for student body president/vice president to replace Erik Hanson and Kaleb Dschaak as their one-year term comes to an end.
A number of students are also running for seats on the Student Senate.
Voting is set for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 17. Students can vote online at involvement.und.edu
The Herald spoke to the teams running for president and vice president. They are listed below in alphabetical order.
Gracie Lian and Matthew Ternus have thrown their hats into the ring for the 2019-20 school year.
Lian, who is running for student body president, is a sophomore studying English, political science and Honors. Ternus is a sophomore majoring in secondary education.
Lian, originally from Grand Forks, has served on the North Dakota Student Association. She is also a student senator at UND. Ternus has been involved with student government and Greek life on campus.
The team's slogan is #OneCampus. The ONE in the slogan is an acronym that encompasses their platform, standing for opportunity, notification and essentials.
Ternus said giving students the chance to be involved in a number of on-campus and community events will help drive campus unity and create a sense of community. Lian said they would like to create hockey tailgating in the fall months to boost school spirit.
Students also need to be notified about what is going on around campus as changes are made to the university, Ternus said. The duo wants to create an app that would give students information in one place, Lian said.
Ternus said he, along with Lian and another senator, passed a resolution that funded menstrual products in nine bathrooms around campus. They want to expand that reach.
Lian said having student access to open educational resources is important to help reduce student costs. Open educational resources allow students to save money on textbooks through a free online textbook that is paid for through the university.
Cora Odoala and Saphyra Jeudy are also running for UND student body president and vice president.
Odoala is a junior majoring in mechanical engineering. Odoala was born in Nigeria and moved to North Dakota from Oklahoma. Jeudy, who is originally from Haiti and moved to the U.S. in 2015, is also a junior, majoring in philosophy with a pre-law emphasis.
Jeudy said one issue important to their team is the campus community and feeling connected with different student groups.
"We have international students, athletes, UND students," she said. "When we have events, we don't really come together, so we thought that is linked to a deep disconnection among the student body."
If the pair were elected, Odoala said they would like to help get more students involved in the community and plan more events that get more students involved on campus.
"We also want to build that (campus) community," she said, noting it is important for students, especially freshmen, to make connections with one another.
When it comes to decisions like what is going to be done with parking services on campus, Jeudy said it is important for the student voice to be heard and for students to be a part of the process.
Odoala said it is also important for student government leaders to make themselves available to students, so students know their names and faces and come to them with a variety of different issues that may need to be addressed around campus.
Odoala and Jeudy said their diverse backgrounds can help them to relate to and understand students from many perspectives.
Taylor Schaubert and Torie Danielson are the final team running for president and vice president.
Schaubert, who is from Bismarck, is a junior majoring in political science and economics. Danielson, a Fargo native, is a junior majoring in nursing.
Schaubert served as chief of staff for the executive team for student government. Danielson serves as president of her sorority Kappa Alpha Theta and has also been involved in UND athletics.
With a number of changes going on, including Memorial Union being torn down in the summer, Schaubert said it is important for students to be informed about what is going on around campus so there is "no hiccup in student life."
Campus finances are also a top priority, Schaubert said. With potential changes to parking services looming on campus, Schaubert said it is important for student government to help find students savings elsewhere on campus through open educational resources and other areas.
"If money is being pulled from some of our programs, like parking, I want transparency to show where that money is going," he said.
Supporting student groups and student athletics is also key, Danielson said. Building a connection with various student groups on campus can help make the university better, Schaubert said.
One issue that does not get talked about often on campus is student hunger, Schaubert said. A campus food pantry was started last semester at UND, but Schaubert said he would like to consider starting a program that utilizes unused food to help provide to students who need help.