Wopata/McAteer slate makes bid in MSA presidential election

Operating under “More to Roar,” the Wopata/McAteer slate aims to build a safe and inclusive community for all MU students.
MSA vice presidential candidate Connor McAteer, left, and presidential candidate Julia Wopata answer a question during the first presidential debate on April 9, 2018.

Junior computer science major Julia Wopata and junior business major Connor McAteer are the latest to throw their hats in the race for Missouri Students Association president and vice president, respectively. Operating under the slogan “More to Roar,” Wopata and McAteer are focusing their campaign on student mental health, campus safety, student success and diversity.

Wopata and McAteer are one of the two slates running in the MSA presidential election.

Both Wopata and McAteer have been involved in various organizations on campus. Wopata serves on the executive board as the chief education officer for Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, has participated in Mizzou Alternative Breaks and campus ministries and is on the music team in Veritas. McAteer served as a senator for the Trulaske College of Business and MU tour guide in addition to being involved in Sigma Chi fraternity and Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity.

Wopata and McAteer’s work goes off campus as well. This past summer, Wopata held an internship at Google, and she served on the Greek trip to Harmons, Jamaica, this past winter break. McAteer has volunteered for the American Red Cross.

They are running under Wopata’s previous campaign slogan. According to the campaign’s official Twitter, the slogan comes from the slate’s mission to represent more student voices, making “more students roar together for a greater Mizzou.” Wopata believes that in order to accomplish this, the slate’s agenda must be flexible.

“It’s not our agenda; it’s the student body’s agenda,” Wopata said. “It’s a selfless position where you’re giving yourself up to serve your peers.”

The slate’s platform has four main ideas: strengthening resources to mental health programs, ensuring the safety of everyone on campus, creating initiatives for students with financial challenges and promoting inclusivity at MU.

If they were to win, Wopata and McAteer plan to work with the MU Truman School of Public Affairs Grant Writing Program to secure increased funding to mental health resources on campus. Wopata also plans to collaborate with the Mizzou Student Suicide Prevention Coalition and Greek organizations in hosting speaking events surrounding mental health awareness.

Wopata is also making the effort to appoint counselors from diverse backgrounds and communities in the MU Counseling Center. She believes representation in the Counseling Center is important for students who feel as though they don’t have adequate mental health resources.

According to the campaign’s official website, Wopata and McAteer believe mental and physical health are closely related. The slate hopes to establish a Campus Recreation Standing Committee for the improvement of Student Recreation Complex resources.

“We want to encourage conversations about mental health around campus,” Wopata said. “MU is already doing so much to bring visibility, and we want to continue bringing support to it.”

In an effort to secure a more comprehensive active shooter response plan, Wopata and McAteer plan to work with the MU Police Department to create a training guide that every MU professor will present during the first week of classes.

The slate is also pushing for MU to join other campuses across the nation in adopting a campus-wide SafeTrek mobile app system by introducing it to incoming freshmen during Summer Welcome. With the app, users hold their thumb down on their phone screen and enter a four-digit PIN when they have safely arrived at their destination. If a user removes their thumb from the screen without entering the PIN, police are alerted of their location.

To make college as affordable for students as possible, Wopata and McAteer promise to work with Associated Students of the University of Missouri and the fundraiser Rally Mizzou. In addition, they hope to work with Tiger Pantry to make nutritious food more accessible by making markets on campus Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program authorized retailers.

Echoing the “More for Roar” campaign slogan, Wopata and McAteer plan to foster a diverse campus where all students are represented. Inspired by current MSA President Nathan Willett and Vice President Payton Englert, the slate will appoint “committed, intentional” students to every unfilled standing committee seat that addresses issues of diversity and inclusion on campus.

“I want to take the lessons that I’ve been able to learn from the administrations of Willett and Englert and Sean and Tori,” Wopata said. “*We have a goal to fill all student positions in standing committees that work with faculty and staff. These committees come together to make sure the student voice is represented for things like parking and transportation.”

They also hope to meet regularly with representatives of every organization on campus and encourage each representative to attend the events of other organizations and have open conversations with other student leaders. Wopata believes these dialogues can help MSA better understand the student body’s needs.

“The actions and precedent we set has the potential to permeate out to all corners of campus,” Wopata said in an email. “We believe that through this leadership position we can help create a campus dynamic where students listen to each other and are eager to connect with other organizations all across campus.”

Edited by Skyler Rossi | srossi@themaneater.com

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