How the new Student Body President and Vice President are working during challenging times
Despite transitioning into office during a pandemic, Matthew Friedmann, Student Body President and Kylee Arndt, Student Body Vice President, are staying on top of their platform by working on the three main ideas driving them forward.
Within the first idea of their platform, student health, both Friedmann and Arndt said this idea is important during the pandemic.
To go along with student pride and decrease the risk of Covid-19 on campus, North Dakota State University’s yell leaders, those who stir up crowds during sporting events, are now advocating for the use of face coverings on campus.
“We are utilizing them to kind of promote that student pride of protecting the herd,” Friedmann said. To promote student health, the Student Government helped distribute welcome packs at the beginning of the semester that included a face mask and hand sanitizer.
Arndt went on to explain more ways they’ve worked on their student health idea. Such as working with the Student Health Center which was in their plan from the start. Arndt and Friedmann have also worked with the Counseling Center in order to get Destress in the Dirt back and available to students.
Destress in the Dirt is a group therapy session that allows students to plant succulents while learning about coping mechanisms for stress. Though Destress in the Dirt will now be a virtual event, Friedmann said it will be offered so that “the content” will still be offered to students adequately.
Friedmann and Arndt are also part of the President’s Council for Campus Well-being, which Friedmann said added the mental health working group that started this year.
– Matthew Friedmann, Student Body President
“We’re still doing the things, it’s just modified. It’s different than how we expected it, so obviously the nature of our jobs has changed.”
“There’s actually going to be an email sent out to faculty, staff and res students just as an encouragement of we know we’re asking a lot. We know this is a hard time and sometimes it’s hard to be positive and that’s ok,” Friedmann said.
For the student advocacy part of their platform, a lot more will be completed as the year progresses. Arndt explained that one of their big projects includes working in the legislative session. “Obviously with COVID, we’re still waiting on how that’s going to happen,” Arndt said.
The student senate whose role is to work with the administration on bills, but with COVID-19, have been helping out on task forces as Arndt explained, “working on how we’re going to get the university ready and what kind of things we want to do.”
“I think student advocacy naturally ends up being involved in everything that we do,” Friedmann said. “Right now the administration wants to know how are students feeling cause this is a time like no other. So it’s about being there and showing up and providing that student input.”
Friedmann then talked about how he got to speak in front of United States Sen. John Hoeven who came to campus Aug. 25. During the meeting, Friedmann said they got to discuss how the CARES Act has benefited the NDSU student experience as Friedmann said he was able to, “Advocate for the students and the student perspective.”
Because of the pandemic, Friedmann and Arndt said that some of their plans might take longer to accomplish. “A lot of it’s on track just because it’s kind of set up for exactly the right time. Like student health, that’s more important than ever right now,” Arndt said.
Friedmann explained that because the focus and priority is on COVID-19 currently, they will keep their goals in mind so they will be able to complete them at the right time throughout the school year.
“We’re still doing things, it’s just modified,” Friedmann said. “It’s different than how we expected it, so obviously the nature of our jobs has changed.”
“We’re still working very hard to accomplish our goals, but just in this different framework, it’s just kind of through a different lens.”
Friedmann went on to say they both have the opportunity to step up and face the challenges everyone is facing adding, “We’re not scared of a challenge.”
Though Friedmann and Arndt are still working on getting together with organizations to get students involved on campus, they plan on meeting with organizations via Zoom or Skye so the remote students will also feel involved.
Friedmann also mentioned how he thinks MyNDSU is obtaining the attention of students that they were hoping for. “I think the freshman are super motivated to be involved and MyNDSU is a really great platform for that,” Friedmann said.
Modifying the campus calendar so more students use it is also on their checklist to accomplish this school year. Arndt said that they have worked with the RHA this summer to collaborate on what they envision the campus calendar should look like.
Both Friedmann and Arndt are open to student suggestions throughout the year as they encourage students to reach out to them.
“Feel free to email us with suggestions,” Arndt added, “We would love to hear people’s perspectives since we don’t always get that and then we can share that with administrators.”
Students interested in becoming involved in the Student Government can go to https://www.ndsu.edu/sg/ to learn more about how to join.