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New UND student body president, vice president ready to lead university's students this fall

Wahl and Mastrud said what they love most about UND is the campus is a “big campus, but small enough to know your peers, and know the people in your classes, know the people you run into on the sidewalks.”

Faith and Morgan.jpg
Faith Wahl, left, and Morgan Mastrud will serve as UND's student body president and vice president, respectively, this upcoming school year.
Submitted photo.
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GRAND FORKS — UND’s newly elected student body president and vice president are spending part of their summer getting ready for the upcoming school year and preparing their plans to help lead UND students in 2022 and 2023.

While both work jobs this summer, Faith Wahl and Morgan Mastrud, president and vice president, respectively, also organize and attend around seven meetings per week to personally introduce themselves to UND department heads, outline their goals and work with the newly elected senators in the student government. They believe that open and consistent communication between administration and students is what allows change to happen. The summer, Mastrud said, is essentially “all preliminary work to prepare for a full school year.” They plan to be ready to implement their plans for the fall semester.

Wahl is originally from Bismarck, North Dakota, where she attended Bismarck High School. Seeking to be as involved in the high school experience as possible, she actively participated in three sports, served as student council president and a member of the National Honor Society, among many other activities.

Though Wahl arrived at UND as a declared nursing major, she quickly decided she wanted to combine two things she is most passionate about: leadership and health care. After a period of two months and eight changes in major, she stumbled across the UND Interdisciplinary Health program website and knew it was something she would enjoy. She is now double-majoring in business management and interdisciplinary health studies, minoring in leadership and public health, and earning certificates in health management and health administration. Wahl was currently involved in leadership roles in the Kappa Delta sorority and has been an active participant in the student government since her first year at UND.

Though running for a student government office was not originally Wahl’s intent, her desire to improve the quality of students’ overall campus experience easily translated into a leadership role. After encouragement and receiving advice from her mentors, Wahl said, she decided to run for student body president. She added that from her experience on campus, “the culture has always been welcoming,” and the administration is “always making an effort to communicate to students and listen to them.” As student body president, she’d like to further encourage open communication between leaders and the student population.

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Before college, Mastrud attended Fargo North High School in Fargo. Like Wahl, Mastrud was also involved in multiple leadership activities in high school, such as student council. Mastrud continued applying her leadership skills when she got to UND, immediately becoming active in residence hall government and student government. In sophomore year, she was elected a student senator, when she met Wahl. Mastrud was then chosen to be chief advisor for the previous student body president, Kaelan Reedy. Mastrud is currently a double major in Spanish and biology, on the pre-med track in the honors program.

Wahl and Mastrud said what they love most about UND is the campus is a “big campus, but small enough to know your peers, and know the people in your classes, know the people you run into on the sidewalks.”

“In my experience, the culture at UND has always been very welcoming,” Wahl said, and she wants to make an effort to always listen to her peers’ needs on campus.

After going and visiting with many student organizations and asking for their feedback, Wahl said the topics that are most important to students are parking, mental and behavioral health resources, career-readiness opportunities and student health and well-being.

“Parking is always going to be number one,” said Wahl. “In the fall of 2020, me and a couple other student leaders worked … to add some free parking at the Wellness Center for students. We put a Band-aid on that issue a little bit, but I would like to continue to work toward a way we can find more accessible parking.”

In terms of specific tactical changes, Wahl said she and Mastrud want to work on education and communication about parking. “One big focus we’d like to implement is a tiered ticketing system, where your first parking offense would be a warning, and then a $10 ticket, 20, and then 40 … We want to focus on prevention and education, and not as much on enforcement.”

Wahl also wants to continue work to get grants for UND’s food pantry and other work associated there. The pantry started in 2018 and over the last year Wahl helped secure funding to put a refrigerator inside.

“So that helps with food insecurity and empowering people with the confidence to make their own decisions about food. So, working with our upper administration with different grants we get for food and security and homelessness and financial stability, that’ll be a big one,” said Wahl.

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Wahl described a mental health initiative called the Green Bandanna Project, which will be launching in the fall. The project is a peer-to-peer training effort where students will go through a training course and be educated about common mental health topics and issues they might see, Wahl said, adding it helps educate students on how they can help their peers and when it may be appropriate to refer them to a specialist.

“When you complete the program, you get a green bandanna and tie it around your backpack, and that’s supposed to signify to others that ‘I’m able and willing to talk about mental health, and someone that’s an ally,’” Wahl said.

Wahl and Mastrud are working on revamping the student government social media page to offer consistent updates on student and campus issues. If students would like to know more about what the student government is working on throughout the school year, all student government meetings are open to students’ input and questions.

Maren Schettler is a freelance writer for the Herald who attends UND.

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