Candidate interview: Durham and Coate

photo by Matthew Williams
photo by Matthew Williams

1) Why are you running?

C: I feel like it’s important to be a voice for people. We have a lot of ideas on stuff we would like to get the ball rolling on, but the main thing is that we are representing the students and what they’re passionate about.

D: For me, I’ve started to want to get into this type of leadership role. I have some goals in my life that this position will really help get the ball rolling on. Finding a home here has made me want to get more involved because I believe in the school and I believe in the students and I believe that the students have a great chance to make a difference in the world. I want to be right at the heart of making that happen.

2) What is your platform?

D: For us, we believe in what’s happening with the ASMSU programs that are already running. I haven’t heard any complaints about them. So we don’t really want to change anything there. But we have our own ideas we’d like to run with.

We’d like to revamp the ChampChange program and have it encompass more than just prizes at certain times — have it become more all-encompassing. As we go forward — farther in the debates — we’ll continue talking about that.

We want to work on buying local and getting local produce, and getting involved with local farms and ranchers to create a restaurant in the SUB where most of the food can be local-bought, and make sure they are really healthy.

Most of our platform is who we are as people and that we care about the students here at MSU and want to do what is best for them.

3) What do you offer that the other candidates don’t?

D: We’re fresh faces. A lot of the candidates are involved with the senate already, or have been in the past. We come from different backgrounds, and I feel like because of that, we can cover a vast array of topics.

C: I would say that we are definitely approachable and down-to-earth, as well. We’re open to new ideas. But we do have a passion to see things get better, and try to make life as better for as many different people as we can.

4) What do you think the responsibilities of student body president and vice-president are?

D: For president, I think being the voice of the students is a huge thing. You need to be able to be approachable and listen to people, and then act on what they bring you. I’m not here for me — I’m here for the students.

C: I would say time commitment. It’s definitely a huge part of your personal time, too. It’s not about yourself — it’s about what is best for the campus and for the student body.

5) What does student engagement mean to you?

D: To me student engagement means making sure I am connecting with students. This includes talking to them, making sure they know who I am and that they can talk to me. Through me, they have a voice. Second, having students being involved in events and things happening around campus — we want to make it seem like it’d be a good idea for students to go to those events. We want to foster excitement.

6) What does sustainability mean to you?

D: I think sustainability is really an all-encompassing term. It can mean sustaining yourself with the foods you put in your body, but it can also mean making sure whatever we do while we’re in office is sustainable. We’re not trying to look at ideas that aren’t really achievable, but things that can exist for years. For example, the Streamline bus system is an idea that’s sustainable.

7) What do you think the relationship between student government and the university administration should be?

D: I think it needs to be an open and communicative one. There needs to be an open-door policy so that if there is something important, they can come to us, and we can bring it to them.

8) What is your opinion on the proposed student fee increase?

D: I would like to do my best to ensure it’s not increased too much. I know it’s probably something that is needed and would help around campus, but it’s something that needs to be looked at in depth and very seriously to make sure what we do increase goes to a good cause. I think most students at MSU would feel that way.

9) What actions will you take to address the parking shortage on campus?

D: The final plan for MSU campus calls for three parking garages on campus. We would love to see a parking garage on campus. The parking situation on campus is crazy, and we know there needs to be change, and a parking garage would be the best way to do that.

10) What actions will you take to address the growing pains of our growing institutions?

D: It’s tough to make an idea right now — that’s the kind of thing I’d like to talk to the senate about. We need to make sure everyone’s education comes first, which means being able to see your instructor, and hear them and interact with them in a good way. It is something that needs to be addressed.

C: It’s important to know that an increase in students is also an increase in money for the university that can be put toward funding for the university.

11) How do you feel about the voiced student opposition to the smoking ban?

D: I think having the ban on campus is nice. There are areas that smokers can go to smoke. It is better for the majority, and it’s much healthier for all students.

12) Is there anything else you’d like to say about this election or your campaign?

D: I’m nervous and very excited. If we get elected, we know that students will know we will do the best we can for them.