New MSA executive cabinet members confirmed

The seven new cabinet members are a mix of students new to MSA and returning student government veterans.

A new Missouri Students Association executive cabinet under juniors Payton Head and Brenda Smith-Lezama was confirmed Tuesday night by MSA’s Operations committee. The president-elect and vice president-elect will be inaugurated Saturday. Associated Students of the University of Missouri President Trey Sprick will also serve as a member of the executive cabinet.

Maiya Putman, Director of Student Activities

Junior Maiya Putman said she was interested in the Director of Student Activities position because she has a passion and admiration for how the department caters to students.

“There are so many talented, creative, and hard-working students that make up the Department of Student Activities,” Putman said. “We help create memories through our events on this campus, and as director, my goal is to expand our reach through co-programming with other orgs on campus and having larger scale events that are more inclusive.”

Head said Putman’s fresh plans for the department persuaded him to nominate her for the position.

“Putman was selected as the new director of the Department of Student Activities because of her drive to help revamp DSA by getting the staff and the students whom we serve even more excited about the events that are organized throughout the year,” Head said. “She does a great job of balancing being a friend and a director.”

Putman said she wants to “Ignite Mizzou” by ensuring that students have access to DSA.

“We want students’ input to make the events as great as they can be,” Putman said. “I also want students to have pride in the things that MSA does and the resources that we offer.”

Curtis Taylor Jr., Director of Student Communications

Previously, graduate student Curtis Taylor Jr. was the senior chair for black programming in DSA and assisted in making graphics for the Head/Smith-Lezama campaign. He previously served on the executive board for the Legion of Black Collegians.

Taylor said he is looking forward promoting the wants and needs of the student body.

“I’m looking to move forward and truly ignite that fire within people to let everyone know that we are here for the students,” Taylor said. “I’m excited for the world to see how great we really are.”

Taylor believes his strength is being a visionary, because he wants to inspire others to get involved.

“I enjoy making things come to life and the process of making things come to fruition,” Taylor said. “There needs to be a call of action because in order for change to really happen, we need to inspire people to keep MSA growing. My inspiration is the people who come after to make sure they have a great platform to be even greater than (MSA) is now.”

In his new position, Taylor hopes to increase communication between different student groups and make the student body more understanding of everyone’s unique backgrounds.

“We have to start understanding each other to truly progress and move forward. We are all Tigers, and all of our stripes mean the same exact thing,” Taylor said. “I’m excited to be the bridge that closes the gap between the different pockets of campus and shed light on the dark spaces.”

David Wallace, Deputy Director of Student Communications

Junior David Wallace was an MSA senator prior to being named deputy director, and he said he is looking forward to the work.

“Being in this position is an honor,” Wallace said. “I am humbled to be appointed to the deputy director of DSC.”

Head said Wallace’s knowledge about social media and reaching out to people is why he was chosen.

“Wallace was selected as the Deputy Director of the Department of Student Communications because he is extremely knowledgeable about how to further engage students via social media and many other different outlets,” Head said. “Most of the Ignite Mizzou platform is about truly engaging students in all things MSA, which is why we have chosen a director and a deputy for this department.”

Wallace said he was interested in the position because he wanted to provide a voice for students who may not have much involvement within MSA. Wallace said a very important part of providing this voice is through transparency.

“I want to be transparent and attract students who might not otherwise be involved with MSA into the MSA family,” Wallace said.

Samantha Franks, Director of Student Services

Junior Samantha Franks said she was very thrilled to be named to the position, as the department is close to her heart.

“DSS has given me the opportunity to build programming, run events and really gain experience in communication and leadership,” Franks said. “It’s where I’ve really found my place on campus.”

Head said Franks was chosen for her passion to truly make DSS serve the student body to the best of its ability.

“Franks shares our passion for proactive sexual assault prevention and working to provide a much more accessible campus for all (students),” Head said. “She has an incredibly kind spirit that makes her very approachable, a very important quality for this position.”

Franks said her goals as director are varied, but one she wants to focus on immediately is growing the department.

“We’ve expanded a lot in the last year, and I’d like to have even more students join so that we can continue to create more events,” Franks said. “I’m invested in helping the people in DSS gain leadership experience and in really making the department feel like a home for students.”

Franks also wants to focus on the sexual assault prevention movement, and continue to work on the “It’s On Us” campaign.

“This movement is aimed at preventing sexual assault on campus, and will be moving to DSS this year,” Franks said. “I’m intent on not only keeping it alive, but finding ways to expand.”

Chris Hanner, Secretary of Auxiliaries

Sophomore Chris Hanner was previously an MSA senator in budget committee. He served as vice chairman under former committee chairwoman Shelby Catalano before replacing her last spring.

Hanner said he will use his budget committee connections to work with and improve the different auxiliaries.

“Through budget committee, I’ve developed really strong relationships with the auxiliaries, and I can now strengthen those relationships,” he said. “I’ll make sure that they’re being heard within the rest of MSA and they’re serving the students in the best capacity that they can.”

One of Hanner’s goals in his new position is marketing the services the auxiliaries offer, as well as job and volunteer opportunities better than before. He plans to make presentations to various organizations specifically about the auxiliaries, instead of just showing them the general MSA presentation.

“That way, students know that there’s more to MSA than just senate or the executive cabinet,” Hanner said. “There’re so many other opportunities within our 11 auxiliaries.”

Hanner said he hopes that by making students more aware of the services the auxiliaries offer, involvement will increase.

“Sometimes, students don’t realize that STRIPES, Truman’s Closet or Tiger Pantry are a part of MSA, so I’m really looking forward to making that distinction and hopefully by doing that, it will increase involvement and engagement of the student body,” Hanner said.

Hanner also would like to make it easier to access off-campus auxiliaries. He is exploring the possibility of having Tiger Line, the free student shuttle service, stop at auxiliaries such as Tiger Pantry and Truman’s Closet.

The tight MSA budget will be a challenge for Hanner because the auxiliaries are a place that are looked at for cuts, he said. He wants to make sure that their needs are met and the auxiliaries are equipped with their necessities to serve students.

Hanner also would like to make minority and international students more connected to the auxiliaries.

“Sometimes these groups can feel like they don’t have a home on campus,” Hanner said. “I’m looking forward to making sure I can provide more students with a home.”

Cara Hartwig, Chief of Staff

Junior Cara Hartwig was previously the education co-chairwoman for Truman’s Closet in fall of 2013.

Hartwig’s new position, the executive cabinet’s chief of staff, is a role which encompasses the importance of administrative and campus-wide needs. In her new role, Hartwig said one of her main goals is to increase awareness of MSA on campus.

“I want to bridge the gap between the students who (aren’t) involved in student government (and MSA) and let them know why it’s important and why they should care,” she said.

Organizational skills are one of Hartwig’s strengths that will help her in keeping track of MSA’s different departments, she said.

Hartwig admits that her lack of MSA experience could be a challenge for her. Still, she said she has faith her outsider’s perspective will be more of an advantage instead of a drawback.

“I don’t see it as something that will hold me back,” Hartwig said. “I see this as an opportunity to come in with a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective. I have insight on why some students don’t know about it and how we can change that.”

Overall, Hartwig said she hopes to advance students’ involvement and school pride, like the Head/Smith-Lezama platform stated.

“I want students to realize how fortunate we are,” she said. “I really want to help ignite that passion students have to love where they go and make sure they are getting the most out of it.”

Trey Sprick, ASUM President

Senior Trey Sprick, an ex officio member of the MSA executive cabinet, returns this semester as the Associated Students of the University of Missouri president.

ASUM is a UM System-wide organization with multiple chapters that works to promote political awareness and participation among students.

The role also includes a position on cabinet as part of the legislative body.

Sprick said he hopes to focus on the legislative session for the Missouri General Assembly, since ASUM primarily lobbies in Jefferson City on issues that directly affect students, such as general funding for higher education, getting a vote for the student curator and improving landlord-tenant relations.

“I hope to work with Payton Head and cabinet to get students engaged in the state legislature,” Sprick said. “A lot of people think of politics as coming out of Washington, D.C. and what we want to get through to students is many of the policies that affect them come from Jefferson City and City Hall.”

Sprick said he hopes to work with cabinet and the Graduate Professional Council to advocate for local issues. He also hopes to strengthen ASUM’s relationship with the MSA Campus and Community Relations Committee.

A challenge to Sprick’s position is encouraging students to take their goals and put them into action, he said.

“Conveying the importance (of legislative advocacy) is the most important thing I do,” Sprick said. “I think students care but the challenge is finding a way to convey to students how to act on that passion and that desire to get things done.”

Sprick said he believes his communication abilities are vital to legislative advocacy and encouraging civic engagement.

“I have to be an effective communicator in order for legislators to understand what students need and to understand how we can best advocate for those,” Sprick said. “I need to understand what the limitations are and what legislators can realistically do for us.”

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