UWT students can soon vote for next year’s student government.
Election time is upon us at UWT. Students can soon vote for fellow students who are running for positions within ASUWT. Before voting opens on May 8, students will have opportunities to learn more about the candidates and initiatives they plan on focusing on this upcoming school year.
Students can meet with these candidates this Wednesday, May 10, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. at a Rock the Vote event on the Prairie Line Trail that will have live music, free t-shirts and stuff-a-husky plush toys. Candidates will be hosting their own tables where they will facilitate games as well as answer any questions students may have about their initiatives.
“Voter turnout has been low since the pandemic, and now that we are back to hosting more large-scale events, we are hoping that Rock the Vote helps educate the student body on the importance of voting in this election. The students that are running for ASUWT have put a great amount of effort into their campaigns and want to represent the student body on the local and state levels. We are also hoping that these events get the student body more involved with ASUWT in the future,” said Rachael Spear, the Civic Engagement Specialist at UWT.
Students running for ASUWT positions include Holly Wetzel for ASUWT President, Roland Heyne for Director of University Affairs, Yolanda Escribano for Director of Outreach, Jay Estacio for Director of Student Technology, Alicia Whitten for Director of Finance, Chrystal Miskanis for Director of Legislative Affairs, Jamie Song for Director of Internal Communications and Affairs and Jon Angell for the SET senator.
Along with these students on the ASI ticket, there are several students running independently such as Santino Wong for Senator of the School of Education and Evan Campbell for a senator position for the Milgard School of Business.
While many of these students are running unopposed, these eight students have rallied together under the ticket of the Allied Student Initiative with a specific goal in mind to improve ASUWT and focus on three pillars to improve the UWT experience for students.
Overall, these goals include student health and wellness, food equity and diversity and student safety and security – a top priority for candidates such as Roland Heyne and others.
“I feel like our campus’s recent response to events and our culture in America has been pretty lacking. I feel like having more of a student perspective challenging these ideologies and looking for ways to address the people who need to hear our opinions and concerns is going to be really important and I’m prepared to do that,” Heyne said.
One student, Ryan Wicklund, is running as a write-in candidate for Director of Outreach. This is one of the few positions where there is another candidate running or campaigning. While they are not a part of the ASI and are independently running, Wicklund can be spotted around campus handing out fliers with information on how to write them in as a candidate.
Something that Wicklund would like to focus on if voted for Director of Outreach is providing informational resources to students.
“I started during COVID, but that’s not uncommon and a whole lot of people think there are not a lot of informational resources on campus. People don’t find out about all the opportunities that there are. I had to work very hard and spend a lot of time meeting people and talking to other people and being networked in to find out about other things going on. People should know about these things, there should be an RSO calendar…” Wicklund said.
As for Holly Wetzel who is running for President of ASUWT, they want to create a foundational student government that will incorporate legacy documents or sustainability plans. Wetzel is hopeful that by creating such plans, future administrations will not struggle while stepping into the shoes of the previous administration.
These legacy documents and sustainability plans would create blueprints for these future administrations on the steps they may need to take in order to keep certain initiatives around or funded. Wetzel believes these established documents would benefit future administrations for years to come versus year-to-year which is how they have been in the past.
Wetzel shared some other thoughts regarding student engagement within ASUWT. While engagement has been low and most candidates running are unopposed, Wetzel believes that should not be the case.
“Unfortunately, that kind of change needs to be made from the top, which is partly why I am running for ASUWT president. You can’t do it on your own as just a director,” Wetzel said, “I think part of (increasing engagement) is really just catering to the non-traditional students.”
Some of Wetzel’s plans include bi-weekly updates and creating more of a strong media presence, something Wetzel has tried to work on this past year as Director of Outreach.
While these candidates are united on the goals they wish to accomplish in the next year, students can find out more about their initiatives and qualifications on their Instagram accounts at @voteasi and @asuwt.
If you are interested in being involved in ASUWT, there are still positions available for senators. Those interested can campaign to be a write-in candidate for those vacant positions.
Voting for candidates will take place Monday, May 8, through Friday May 12 and students can vote from an email sent out to all UW student accounts.