Gwynn Simeniuk and Levi Birky were elected on March 4, to the positions of ASMSU president and vice president respectively for the 2015-2016 school year. The pair won the presidential race against John Miller and Kyra Morrissey by a margin of less than a hundred votes. On April 16, the pair will officially assume the roles of president and vice president
Simenuik came to MSU from Saskatchewan, Canada to pursue a degree in agricultural education and animal science. Alongside serving in the ASMSU senate as the
Honors College representative, she has worked with Relay for Life, Montana FFA and Young Farmers and Ranchers.
Birky, a Montana native, moved to MSU from Kalispell as a secondary education social studies major. As a two term ASMSU senator, he also holds the vice presidency in the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society and is chair of the Education Health and Human Development Student Council.
The pair felt that their prior experience in ASMSU gave them a competitive edge in the elections, along with their other extracurricular positions. Both Simenuik and Birky expressed that their duties as ASMSU president and vice president are “their highest priorities,” and plan to lessen their responsibilities elsewhere on campus.
In April, the duo will be meeting with campus administration every two weeks to discuss campus issues and possible improvements. Birky feels as though many campus programs and student resources are in a good place but stated, “I don’t think we do a good job of branding. Marketing should be a priority.” Birky and Simenuik feel that their biggest obstacle for future programs is awareness.
Currently, the two are pushing to bring back the tradition of the MSU live bobcat mascot in an effort to boost school spirit. The idea has been discussed with University President Waded Cruzado, who expressed support for the idea. Simenuik stated that school spirit is a top priority for her, and that students need to “identify with the university and identify as a Bobcat.” Birky, while excited about the possibility of a live bobcat mascot, said, “If we want this to happen, we’ll have to cross our T’s and dot our I’s. There’s a lot of regulations around live animals as mascots, but it’s something we definitely want.”
The pair will have a budget of over two million dollars during their presidential term. Simenuik hopes to allocate some of this budget for campus parking. Her solution involves an app to track how full campus parking lots are at a given time so “students can focus more on class, rather than getting to class,” she said. “We have a lot of big ideas,” Simenuik said, “Having this amount of money is what will allow us to turn those ideas into a reality.”