Student President Platforms, Practicality

GABBY HARTZE | THE SPECTRUM Candidates (right to left) Josh Fergel, Eric McDaniel, Aaron Weber and Robert Kringler tell students what they would bring to the president and vice president position.
Candidates (right to left) Josh Fergel, Eric McDaniel, Aaron Weber and Robert Kringler tell students what they would bring to the president and vice president position.

In a brief two-week window, student body president and vice president candidates are tasked with establishing and conveying their platforms to students.

Which of these platforms points are practical and plausible, and which, if any, are only there to grab your attention?

We examined both candidates campaigns to see which points stood out from the rest, for better or worse.

Beer at Dome: Robert & Aaron

If you’ve only heard one point from this campaign cycle, it’s likely Robert Kringler and Aaron Weber’s push for alcohol sales during NDSU football games at the Fargodome.

The pair have plans to end the prohibition with alcohol sales they say will cut down on over-consumption and binge drinking beforehand. The ticket has cited other schools’ approaches to selling alcohol at game time, institutions like the University of North Dakota and University of Minnesota.

Though potentially smart for campus safety, it’s unfortunate beer at the Dome is being used as a political point. The Spectrum examined the possibility of alcohol sales in 2013, in which administration did not seem open to the idea. As of today, we have no evidence this has changed.

Athletic Director Matt Larsen told the Forum, “We’re very comfortable with our policy as it is right now regarding athletic events, so I don’t perceive any change to the near future.”

As a political point, it’s brilliant. Robert & Aaron capture the votes of the party crowd while also grabbing the attention of students more invested in candidates’ platforms by filing the point under “campus safety.”

Ultimately, it’s unclear how the two will accomplish it.

Peer Mentoring/Incoming Students

Looking back to freshman year, it would have been helpful to have someone show you the ins and outs of campus life.

UNIV 189, the class required by all incoming students, does little in terms of helping freshmen with real student issues, like using the library’s online databases or mentoring on an individual basis.

To make this process better, McDaniel & Fergel have proposed a peer mentoring system which pairs freshman with a junior or senior volunteer.

Currently, the plan suggests this mentoring program to be a two-year process. Two years seems longer than needed. The program could work just as well as a one-year mentorship.

To strengthen the point further, young students should be paired with peers within their field of study. Knowing what to expect when coming to college and major-related specifics would be invaluable.

Robert & Aaron also are looking to ease entry for new students.

The two plan to revamp the orientation process for transfer students and those who are “underserved on campus.” They would also expand the Summer Leadership Institute, which provides incoming first-year students with a three-day opportunity to get better acquainted with campus by way of workshops and team games.

In essence, the two wish to reshape incoming students’ first interactions on campus; however, the kind of expansion in store for the Summer Leadership Institute is still a little unclear.

Testing Changes

Both parties are proposing test-taking outside of the classroom in testing centers on campus. Benefits include allowing students a bigger window of time to take an exam in case of excused or unexcused absences.

McDaniel & Fergel mention this allows teachers more days in the classroom to teach. Robert & Aaron cite more flexibility for staff and students.

While students may be in favor of taking tests on their own time, it is questionable how many staff members would be on board.

The testing centers on campus are said to be a secure environment for test administration, but who will administer the centers? How many will be on campus? Will the centers be able to accommodate students during midterms and finals? Will instructors have the option to use the testing centers or keep exams within the classroom?

Also, instructors and professors are typically stern with their syllabus. The question is how many faculty members would be comfortable with students taking exams away from the classroom? Students could use a buddy system and have one take the test Monday and then tell their friend what to expect or what to study.

It would be a tough pitch, but McDaniel & Fergel’s platform point states the University of Nebraska – Lincoln is implementing testing centers and “is seeing success.”

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