MSA candidates look to increase awareness of student government
The various teams plan to use social media to communicate with students.
Nov. 02, 2010
This is the sixth part in a series looking at the Missouri Students Association presidential slates and their platform positions. This article focuses on the candidates' positions on increasing MSA's visibility on campus.
Josh Travis and Michelle Horan plan to bring MSA to students by campaigning for 10,000 student votes in this election.
According to their platform, making MSA known to students starts with getting 10,000 student votes in the upcoming election.
“10,000 student voters may or may not be possible, but Josh felt that it was important to set a high bar for ourselves,” Travis-Horan campaign Manager Abhi Sivasailam said in an e-mail. “If we can increase awareness and excite students enough to get a 10,000-strong turnout, then we will have helped to change the student culture in ways that will make MSA a more powerful tool for student advocacy.”
Outreach and empowerment are the main goals of the Travis-Horan platform, Sivasailam said.
According to the platform, Travis and Horan plan to reconnect the Mizzou family with its student government through various means of engagement.
“They (Travis and Horan) are committed to making student government work for students again as soon as they enter office,” Sivasailam said.
Travis and Horan plan to hold presidential town hall meetings and create a State of the College address on a regular schedule.
“Additionally, we want to work with MSA Senate to ensure that students know the senators that are tasked with representing them,” he said.
Eric Woods and Emily Moon intend to make themselves and MSA visible to students by actively seeking out students and using technology to keep closer contact with the students.
“I want MSA visibility and communication to be about the Association itself and most importantly about the students, and not Emily and myself,” Woods said in an e-mail.
Woods said their personalized campaign will actively engage students on their terms by visiting various student groups, residence halls, Greek houses, dining halls, food courts and more.
Giving everyone in MSA a speaking assignment to explain what MSA does and how students can get involved is something Woods would like to do if elected to office. He said he would do this to also gather feedback on what issues students feel are important on campus.
Although the MSA website has recently been redone, Woods said he feels more can be done to improve the technology aspect of communicating to students.
“We need to build a more organized presence on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and make sure our online communication with students is interesting to them,” Woods said in an e-mail.
Woods said he and Moon would like to add an MSA section to the goMizzou iPhone app so students have easy access to what MSA is up to and what events it has planned.
“The bottom line is that we are students too, and therefore we want to be leaders FOR students, and not leaders OF students,” Woods said in an e-mail. “MSA is not about its leaders, but the students which it represents.”
Ben Hansen and Kaitlin Oxenreider plan to reach their goal of every MU student knowing what MSA is through speaking with organizations and individual students.
“Students should know what MSA is because they are voting members of the Association and pay good money for the services and activities that MSA provides,” Hansen said.
Hansen said he and Oxenreider want students to be aware of their representation within MSA and what the organization has to offer them.
“MSA is the undergraduate student government that represents student issues and provides services and activities for students including STRIPES, KCOU, the Craft Studio, the MSA/GPC Box Office and events including comedians, concerts, speakers, film screenings and cultural events,” Hansen said.
Hansen and Oxenreider have been speaking with student organizations about what MSA is and how the slate plans to improve it, as well as utilizing Facebook and launching a campaign website to promote their slate and encourage students to look up information about MSA, Hansen said.
“I believe that the use of social media has allowed every candidate to educate many students who wouldn't normally have heard about or taken part in this year's MSA election,” Hansen said.
Hansen also said he plans to find out what individual MU students know about MSA.
“If elected, I would like to undergo an MSA survey to see how many students know about MSA and learn what students believe a student government should offer them,” Hansen said.