MSA presidential election campaign begins

Three slates filed to run in the MSA presidential election.
Laura Davis / Graphic Designer

The Missouri Students Association election campaign has officially begun.

Presidential slates submitted their candidacy proposals Monday. Those running include presidential and vice presidential candidates Nick Droege and Zach Beattie, Tom Wright and Bruce Mahr, and Spencer Maass and Shelby Catalano.

“Having three candidates brings variety to the election and provides options when students go to cast their votes,” Board of Election Commissioners Chairman Tyler Ricketts said.

After Monday, slates can campaign until the election, which begins at 6 p.m. Nov. 5 and lasts through 6 p.m. Nov. 7.

Each slate will decide how to campaign, but each slate will participate in three scheduled debates. The BEC and the Residence Halls Association will each host a debate, and The Maneater and Four Front will host a debate together.

Slates also must raise their own funds because the BEC does not provide slates with money to run.

Each slate has a different platform: Droege-Beattie are focusing on outreach programs, Wright-Mahr are focusing on students’ ideas and Maass-Catalano are focusing on school improvement programs.

Nick Droege/Zach Beattie

Nick Droege and Zach Beattie will be running on a platform of service, diversity, outreach and sustainability.

Droege, MSA director of the Department of Student Services and founder of Tiger Pantry, said he recognizes the socioeconomic challenges many MU students face.

Because of these challenges, he is looking to start various organizations that would assist students, including a business-attire lending program and a $500 emergency no-interest loan program.

“Honestly, one of the biggest layers of diversity that’s here at our university is socioeconomic class,” Droege said. “It’s not something you see on campus. It’s not something that’s visible, but it’s definitely one of the biggest things out there.”

The candidates also hope to focus on campus diversity. To better represent and understand the diverse student body, they would encourage MSA senators and executives to attend meetings of various student organizations.

“It’s one thing to know the names of the organizations or to know a little bit about what they do, but you can’t actually understand where the people in the community are coming from until you are there and you experience it,” Beattie said. “So we want to encourage people to attend, to participate.”

Droege and Beattie both said the programs they plan to enact are attainable. They said they have done research and met with administrators to ensure their initiatives can be completed.

Additionally, they said they want to construct a five-year plan to help future administrations easily continue their initiatives once they leave office.

“There’s only so much you can accomplish within your time in office,” Beattie said. “So if your programs fall to the wayside and people ignore them when you leave office, then that’s a lot of time and effort that goes to waste. So, we want to make sure the programs we establish can be continued very easily and our systems can be recreated, too.”

Tom Wright/Bruce Mahr

Tom Wright and Bruce Mahr’s slate focuses on a grass-roots effort led by students’ ideas.

“Our plan is to have a student-run campaign,” presidential candidate Tom Wright said. “We want to incorporate students’ ideas and ask students what they want to (have) done.”

The campaign focuses on the three goals of accountability, equality and environmental sustainability.

Wright said he and Mahr want to bring more accountability to the presidential and vice- presidential positions by communicating more with students.

“We want to (be able to) tell students, ‘Here’s where your vote went, and this is what was accomplished,’” Wright said.

Wright said he anticipates being the least-funded slate in the competition. Currently, the slate is being funded by friends and family and lacks a large organization’s support.

“We are going to have a grass-roots approach and rely more on volunteers and students’ support,” Wright said.

With two other slates running, Wright said he felt his student-driven platform will set him and Mahr apart from their competition.

“We will have specific goals set out, but it will be an ever-evolving platform as we talk to more students,” Wright said.

Spencer Maass/Shelby Catalano

Spencer Maass and Shelby Catalano will be running on a platform with several different initiatives.

These include supporting MU’s “go green” initiative, having an “improving Mizzou” operation and bettering interaction between freshmen and upperclassmen.

To support the “go green” initiative, Maass said they plan to give a voice to the group. The U.S. government mandated that campuses go coal-free in the future, and the group is looking to help the campus cut back on coal emissions, which can be harmful for the health of students.

“We want to bring their initiative through MSA,” Maass said. “They have no support from the governing bodies in the Mizzou government, and they need that to get their voice heard by the curators and the people that make the long-term decisions at Mizzou.”

Additionally, one of the key points of their plan to improve the campus is to address the wireless Internet on campus. Maas said they plan to work with the Department of Information Technology to help increase Internet speed, improve connectivity and avoid blackouts that students have complained to him about.

Beyond that, Maass said they hope to help improve the college experience for freshmen by encouraging interaction between freshmen and upperclassmen. They plan to have upperclassmen come to residence halls, speak at lecture halls and lead tours around Columbia to help freshmen adjust better.

“Many freshmen don’t have interactions with upperclassmen, and they would benefit a great deal from basic interactions with them,” Maass said.

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