Travis looks ahead to MSA elections

Campaigns officially begin in August.

Although campaigns for the Missouri Students Association presidential election do not begin until the first day of the fall semester, sophomore Josh Travis and an exploratory committee of his peers are getting a head start.

"It's not a campaign committee," Travis said. "We're looking into and thinking about the feasibility of what a possible presidential run would look like."

The committee cannot begin campaign work until August, because presidential candidates are not allowed to campaign prior to the first day of the semester of the election, according to the MSA bylaws.

Travis said the committee consists of four "main" members: Travis, Doug Cowing, Abhi Sivasailam and Kale Gosney, all of whom are sophomores.

"There's the core committee, then there's folks we talk to," Travis said.

Gosney said at this point in time, the committee has just tossed around a few ideas, such as who could be a potential running mate and what kind of events they could hold.

"We obviously won't be doing any campaigning until next fall," Gosney said. "So we're really in the brainstorming process."

Travis has previously served as an MSA senator and as Operations Committee chairman. Last October, he resigned, citing a calling to become more involved in volunteer work with Columbia-area youth.

Since his resignation, Travis has remained involved with MSA and has spearheaded the development of Tiger Watch, a student-run campus safety program, with hopes of making it an MSA auxiliary in the future.

"We felt we needed someone in there who would do a good job, and it sounded like he would be the right candidate for that," Cowing said of the MSA presidency.

Sivasailam, who has served as the MSA Ad Hoc Committee on Campus Dining chairman, said the idea of the exploratory committee began this semester while he was working on an MSA improvement report. He and Travis saw the potential MSA could have and discussed ideas for improvement.

"It became clear that these ideas could form a platform," Sivasailam said.

The committee is necessary because running for an office like MSA president is not something to be taken lightly, Travis said.

"If this is something we're going to do, we need to start thinking over it now," Cowing said.

Cowing said committee members thought they should have a little bit of a head start before campaigning begins in the fall.

"We only have three more months before this happens," he said. "We can't really wait any longer to think this through."

Between now and the potential start of Travis' campaign, the committee will be looking into the logistics of a campaign and surveying students for what issues they find important.

"We have a goal of constructing a platform based on the student voice," Sivasailam said. "We don't just want to create a platform. We want to poll students outright."

Sivasailam does not plan to use Travis' name as a candidate when speaking with students.

"We're not going to have any kind of formal campaigning," he said. "We're just saying, 'Hey, I'm a student, what would you like to see?' We want nothing short than to transform the way MSA does business and to make MSA a more efficient student body."

In addition, the committee will look at the financial aspects of a possible campaign and will work to put together a picture of what type of campaign it would want to run, Travis said.

The committee is still in its planning stages though, and there are no specific deadlines or goals set in stone yet.

"We move basically how we want to move," Travis said.

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