As the year draws to a close, our current student body President Mason Wenzel and our student body Vice President Katie Mastel highlight their top five accomplishments and a couple of things they wish they had done better.
Their top five success stories, in no particular order, are free scantrons, integrating online classes into the tuition model starting fall 2018, open education resources, educational enrichment and reinstating the Yell Leaders.
The biggest point of contention among students is that scantrons are now included in tuition, but blue books are not.
Wenzel acknowledges students’ frustrations and says they hope the next student government will continue to work toward this goal. However, he also acknowledges that since scantrons have become included that there is less foot traffic to the bookstore, so the university could also be losing out on those potential purchases.
Mastel believes that the scantrons are a good first step, but that students can’t expect to get everything they want all at once.
When it comes to online course integration, both Wenzel and Mastel think this is a big, necessary step, claiming that it may be their biggest accomplishment. Wenzel said it was a step toward modernizing the campus.
While the integration doesn’t start until fall 2018, the two believe it’s the best time for it because making a change to the tuition model mid-year would have caused unnecessary stress to the student body.
Their open education resource initiative aimed to bring free online textbooks and coursework to intro-level classes in an effort to save students money.
Wenzel described this as his “most passionate project,” one that is beneficial to everyone who gets to be a part of it. He did explain that there was still a lot of work to be done. However, an entire department, the biology department, has agreed to implement it and some individual teachers have gotten on board as well. Mastel said the groundwork has been laid and she hopes that North Dakota State can one day share its success story once more data on the program is collected.
The off platform point the two are particularly proud of is their educational enrichment options, such as Microsoft Office certification and graduate prep courses.
The Microsoft Office certification is free when taken through NDSU and includes the practice system and certification. The graduate prep courses are through Kaplan and supply students with discounted test preparation for things like the LSAT and MCAT exams at a fraction of the cost. The idea behind these programs is to provide students with something more than just a diploma and a transcript, according to Mastel.
The two wished to revive the Yell Leader program because they believe that the Yell Leaders encapsulate the “spirit of the NDSU student,” and since revitalizing the program, Wenzel said it has flourished.
Wenzel also said it was important for him to make it part of student government to show the student body that student government is more than just a government. “They help communicate the culture and enrich the community,” Mastel said.
However, the year wasn’t perfect. There are two things that Wenzel and Mastel hope will be better in the future.
For Wenzel, he hopes that communication with the student body will improve. “We got busy and never got there,” he said, but he did regret never getting there.
For Mastel, it’s that there are still unfilled seats in Student Senate. She wishes that more competition existed in student government and for students to want to participate more in student government.
Their closing remarks consisted of thanking those who had made their run with student government possible. “This has been the best year of student government I’ve ever seen,” Wenzel said.
“Everyone has worked tirelessly this year to make everything we achieved possible,” Mastel said.
Both credited the passion of all that participated in student government this year.
“It’s been an honor to represent these students,” Wenzel said.