By DI STAFF
The University of Iowa Student Government campaign season is officially underway.
Four tickets announced their campaigns Sunday night at kickoff parties around downtown Iowa City. The four are Envision Iowa, Student Collective Party, UI Surge Party, and Empower Iowa.
The candidates are running to hold UISG office for the academic year 2018-19.
Student Collective Party – Dady Mansaray and Marshall Payne
UI junior and current Hillcrest Association President Dady Mansaray kicked off his campaign for UISG president as the leader of the Collective Student Party.
A group of a few dozen students celebrated in the 337 IMU. Mansaray’s vice-presidential candidate, Marshall Payne, was waylaid by a plane delay returning from spring break.
Mansaray said his party’s main goal is to connect more students with UISG.
“What we’re trying to do is bring awareness to what UISG is and break the barriers of the perception that UISG is sort of an elitist-type organization,” he said. “That to me is a problem, because it’s not; the people in there work very hard, and my team and I have a unique way to reach students.”
The Urbandale High graduate organizes events and study sessions for students as Hillcreast Association president. He said in many students he’s networked with people did not know even what UISG meant.
“If students do not know all the resources they have out there, they cannot take advantage of those opportunities,” Mansaray said.
Mansaray and Marshall are running with seven senatorial candidates.
Envision Iowa – Kyle Apple and Lucee Laursen
Envision Iowa, with candidate Kyle Apple running for president and Lucee Laursen (a DI columnist) running for vice president, said the party’s main focus is to provide voices for minority students.
“We want to give students whose voices have not been represented in the previous administration,” Apple said. “We have talked a lot with different multicultural groups who feel they have been left out of the discussion and reach out to them to let them provide contributions.”
Another platform the party focuses on is the idea of freezing tuition: When students register for the first time at University of Iowa, the original tuition is what the student will pay for all four years.
Apple and Laursen also focus on the improvement of student life and safety. The campaign would work to expand Nite Ride options and add more blue-light security systems off-campus. Envision Iowa’s campaign consists of students who are a part of greek life.
The UI introduced an alcohol moratorium for greek life in the spring of 2017.
“Envision Iowa plans to work on this issue and collaborate with the university and its students to come to a consensus that promotes safety but does not ostracize certain groups that it seems to be targeting,” Apple said. “We want to make it fair for everyone.”
Surge Party – Hira Mustafa and Heath Schintler
The UI Surge Party will be headed by presidential candidate Hira Mustafa and vice-presidential hopeful Heath Schintler. Mustafa is the current health and safety liaison for UISG.
The Surge Party will aim to expand student engagement, work to raise awareness about sexual assault, and build a more diverse student body by creating an inclusive environment, among other goals.
The party has members involved in 78 student organizations, and it has 32 ticket members.
Mustafa and Schintler announced their campaign at Airliner. The announcement was preceded by a live performance by Paperback Rhino.
Mustafa said being a resident assistant motivated her to run for president. As an RA, she was in contact with her residents and learned about the problems they faced.
It is more critical to understand the stories of victims of sexual assaults than just the statistics, she said, to understand the weight victims carry on their shoulders.
“It was a collection of experiences that motivated me to run,” Schintler said. “I know from my experience the issues students face [in terms of] settling in.”
Schintler aims to work and make more resources available to victims of sexual assault and raise awareness about healthy relationships.
“As the president of the student government, it is important to make yourself physically available [to students and not just limit availability] to office hours,” Mustafa said.
Empower Iowa Party – Benjamin Nelson and Nate Robinson
The Empower Iowa Party announced its candidates for UISG president and vice president, Benjamin Nelson and Nate Robinson.
Empower supporters packed Bo-James to hear their platform based on affordability, community involvement, Hawkeye relations, and sustainability.
Robinson previously served in the Office of the Vice President for Student Life as a Black Student Success Coordinator and as a resident assistant.
“Together, we can improve our campus, our community, and our home,” Robinson said.
Nelson, who previously served as UISG city council liaison, touted his community involvement by noting he attended city council meetings every week.
“The only reason we get things done is that we do things together,” Nelson said. “If you’ve never voted in student government, get involved now. Stay involved; don’t let it go to waste.”
For affordability, Empower Iowa plans to work with University Housing & Dining and Parking & Transportation to use Hawk Dollars to pay for parking and partner with community housing-advocacy groups with similar goals to provide a better housing market for all of Iowa City.
Empower Iowa also aims to make UISG meetings more accessible by live streaming every meeting.
Among its team members, Empower Iowa has a presence in more than 60 student organizations and in student government and supported 37 pieces of legislation.