Answers from the Student Body President candidates
Student Body President elections are coming early next month. Voting for the election will take place beginning at 8 a.m. on April 5 and conclude on April 6 at 5 p.m. The current Student Body President is Carl Ludewig and Vice President is Laura Friedmann. Their term will conclude at the end of this year. The candidates for this year’s election are Joy Dahlen, Tanner Johnson and Christian Walth.
Joy Dahlen is a second year of the professional pharmacy program at NDSU, minoring in Business Administration. She is running with Mark Rohleder.
Tanner Johnson is a junior in the mechanical engineering at NDSU. He is running with Alena Pringle.
Christian Walth is a double major in political science and strategic communications with an emphasis in public advertising. He is running with Alexander Duerr.
Why are you running for student body president?
Dahlen — I am running because I believe that I would be able to lead and represent all NDSU students well when working with administration and making decisions that affect the student body. I am willing to stand up for the students I represent even when it may not be easy and not popular with administration. Because of the change in leadership with the new president taking office, I think having a strong student voice is even more important and I believe I can provide that. I also want to see the ideas stated in my platform such as promoting student organizations, athletic and community events and supporting good mental health implemented. As president, I would bring those ideas into practice with the Commissions and Student Senate. Finally, I have great relationships with faculty members and would continue to build those relationships to make NDSU a better university for students, staff and the community.
Johnson — I got motivated to run because I think there is a mental health epidemic at NDSU that’s not being addressed and not being even talked about at all. I have seen it first hand through my Fraternity brothers, to professors, to staff. The negative effects of COVID on everybody’s mental health has been drastic and I don’t think it’s being addressed enough. I’m running because I appreciate all the time I’ve spent here at NDSU and I’ve gained a lot from NDSU and I want to give back. I love the friends and the people I’ve met here at NDSU and I want everyone, all those friends and all those people, to have a reason to love themselves and love NDSU the way we do.
Walth — When I was a freshman, Alex and I had talked about our campaign and what we wanted to found it on and neither of us felt a sense of belonging on campus. We both did not necessarily feel ostracized, but we both didn’t feel like we had a place to go on campus to meet other people. We wanted to create a campaign to make students feel like they belonged when they came to NDSU but to also make sure that students feel a sense of community when they are at NDSU.
What are your plans for your term if you are elected President? What is your platform?
Dahlen — I want to make sure NDSU students feel they have a voice and can make change on campus during my term. The Student Government has so many resources for students. As president, I want to increase awareness of Student Government and allow students the opportunity to help make NDSU a better place.
Engage: publicize NDSU clubs, organizations and Greek life by promoting a different club each week on social media and diversifying welcome week.
Support clubs and organizations by highlighting a different club on social media each week, adding to opportunities for club promotion during welcome week and giving students opportunities for students to get involved right away. Promote philanthropy opportunities such as those in Greek Life to raise awareness for and encourage students to participate in more volunteer events.
Experience: create more opportunities for students to experience NDSU activities such as athletic events, Campus Attractions and community events.
Fund ways to increase student presence at athletic events such as football, basketball and track by having prize student scholarships at the end of games or free food for so many touchdowns. Support Campus Attractions to allow for larger events such as concerts or other student choice activities. Promote events in the community that students can attend by publicizing them on Student Gov. social media and possibly providing funding to allow students to see all that Fargo has to offer as well as supporting local businesses.
Excel: Allow students to build relationships with professors, grow career and internship opportunities while promoting good mental health.
Implementation: Provide ways for students to meet with their professors outside of class. For example, a networking event for students and professors of their college where they could discuss career and life goals and classes in order to help build class participation and as well as an opportunity for professors to get to know their students. Support getting class off during the career fair and encouraging students to attend the career fair to showcase the internship and career opportunities that are available. Promote and support mental health resources such as those provided by counseling centers to students on campus in order to encourage students to use these services and allow them to succeed academically and emotionally.
Johnson — Our platform is to A.C.T. We are running on a platform of advocacy, culture and transparency. We want to be the student advocate for every student, each of the 15,000 students at NDSU and represent their individual interests to the faculty, staff, local community, state legislature and anybody else who asks and wants to hear the students’ opinions. We want to be that advocate on behalf of students.
Culture: COVID took a lot out of the livelihood and the energy and the drive and the Bison Pride that brings the community of NDSU together and that is what we want to instill and bring back. Why do you love NDSU? We want everyone to be able to answer that question.
Transparency: We want to be transparent both fiscally and otherwise. College is crazy expensive, and we all pay that. We don’t know where that money goes, so we want to help create flow charts and documents so people understand where their money is going and why.
Walth — Involvement: We want to do much more PR on the NDSU official page for organization spotlights. We haven’t seen much organization spotlights through the NDSU official page and we think it would be beneficial for them to put it on their stories. I know for example one woman in our campaign is in the Asian student organization and there are only 17 people in it and that’s just because nobody really knows about it. So I think that getting the word out on these platforms will be very beneficial. In addition we want more advertising for the Involvement Fair, and we want to make sure that faculty is giving time off to students so they can go to these. We also want to host an event that also illustrates the importance of all the other organizations on campus. So that would be a way for them to come and meet one another and learn from other students as well.
Student Resources: We want to make sure that student resources are more readily available to students. So this would be the career closet, the career planning services, the counseling center, the tutoring center and the food pantry. These are five big resources on campus that students don’t know they have access to. The counseling center, how we have tried to change it this year, is we tried redirecting funding from the counseling center to get more counselors, and they said this is just not possible. I think that the way they have to this is they have to go through legislature and you have to go through the State Board of Higher Education. I am the only person who is running that has the connections to the State Board of Higher Education and a degree in political science as well. We are trying to use these connections to really make sure that the legislature gives more money to the North Dakota University System solely for mental health resources.
Adaptability: Student government, while Alex and I have been in it, it has not looked the same each year. We are willing to say even if it looks much different next year we are willing to adapt and do whatever it takes to do what needs to be done.
What are you going to be for the NDSU students/how will you be available to students on campus?
Dahlen — I want to be an accessible leader that any student can feel comfortable meeting with and sharing ideas about how to make NDSU better. I will have set office hours and times for people to drop in and meet with me as well as students can reach out via phone or email to set up a time to meet.
Johnson — The Memorial Union is owned by the students, it’s the students’ building and we want to bring this building back to the students. So being on campus as much as possible, approachable to any student at anytime. Being here, being in the Student Gov. office, opening those doors and allowing anybody to speak, come in, speak their mind, hang out, take a nap, whatever, that’s their room, this is their building and speak to their representation in Student Gov. Just have their voices heard and acted on.
Walth — I will be in the office for at least 10 office hours a week. I am actually one of the executives right now for student government and I think I spend about 20 hours in that office every week. Just making sure I am in there. I would definitely post that on the Student Government website so students can see that. When we talk about organization and involvement, making sure that students see that they have a Student Government and if they have questions they can easily go to the website, see when the executives are in there and can come and visit. I will be very available I think.
What makes you stand out from other candidates/why should people vote for you?
Dahlen — I have a very strong work ethic and a proven track record as a Student Senator. I see projects through to completion and will always do my best to represent students and stand up for what NDSU students want. I strive for balance in my ticket. I want every student to feel as though they are represented by myself, my VP and my commission. I love NDSU and want to make a positive change as NDSU Student Body President.
Johnson — We are both engineers and we came into this school trying to solve issues and trying to help others and that’s what engineers do and that’s what we are set out to do. We look at problems pragmatically and try to find a reasonable solution that is achievable. We both have strong philanthropic backgrounds and experiences through our Greek Life and through other organizations. So we actually thoroughly love helping others and that is what we have been doing within our time here at NDSU and before and that is what we want to continue doing.
Walth — Out of all the candidates I have the most experience in the Student Government. With us two, we definitely believe that experience is crucial to being in an organization. It would be weird to not be in an organization and then automatically going to be the leader of it, which could happen for the other candidates as well. I also have experience on the executive team. Everyone else who is running has only been part of the legislative branch besides several committees, I have actually been one of the leaders in the executive branch, so I have that experience as well. I have been able to shadow Carl, who is the current president, and I am also best friends with Matthew, who was the last president. I have been able to see how to act professional, how to engage with the other staff and faculty senates and to act in the legislature. In addition, I think Alex and I would be the best candidates because I think we have the most passion. We want to make sure that we are leaving it in a better place than when we got it.