Campaign Tradition for Tomorrow focuses on revamping MU’s traditions to be more inclusive

Trey Cook and Alaina Vacante are running for president and vice president under their campaign titled Tradition for Tomorrow.
Trey Cook and Alaina Vacante together make up the Tradition for Tomorrow campaign. | Photo by Staff Photographer Becca Newton.

Trey Cook and Alaina Vacante are running for Missouri Students Association’s president and vice president under their campaign banner Tradition for Tomorrow.

On Feb. 20, The Maneater hosted a debate for the slates running for MSA president and vice president, which Cook and Vacante participated in, along with the two other campaigns More for Mizzou and the now defunct Step Forward Mizzou.

“Our whole purpose is to highlight and understand the importance that Mizzou’s tradition has on its student body, but also recognizing that those traditions are not always the most inclusive or accessible,” Vacante said.

Their platform includes student well-being, academic success, campus engagement and adaptability. Along with this platform they also include the importance of inclusion, respect and sustainability.

“Everytime we act as an administration, those things have to be at the forefront of our mind,” Cook said. “That is how we are going to make decisions. That is what’s going to guide us through this leadership process.”

When asked what qualifies them for the positions as MSA president and vice president, Cook and Vacante talked about their various leadership positions on and off campus. They also addressed the fact that not having experience with student government is actually one of their strengths.

“We have been able to gain really valuable experience throughout our time at Mizzou,” Cook said. “You cannot be taught leadership. You cannot be taught how life on campus affects our students.”

One of the first issues discussed was diversity and inclusion, specifically referencing the Mizzou Athletics tweet at the beginning of the year and the 2015 student protests. Vacante said this topic is of the utmost importance.

“We want to have inclusion be a part of every decision that we make, every bill that we hope to pass, because it is not something that can ever be overlooked in any way,” she said.

This issue of transparency of MSA is a pressing concern of students. Cook said that efforts from the government to be more transparent are there but rely on the students to seek out officials to address their concerns.

“When we are in these positions of leadership, we will go to students, we will take time out of our day to go to work with students in different communities,” Cook said. “We will put ourselves in spaces that we aren’t always comfortable in because if you don’t get comfortable being uncomfortable you’re not getting any better.”

A top priority and platform position of Tradition for Tomorrow is student well-being. Many students have concerns with the current counseling system in place and the accessibility of being able to take care of their mental health.

Cook opened up about his own mental health journey and how MU’s resources helped him receive the care he needed but also recognized his privilege in his ability to have access to them. He plans to work with the Division of Health & Student Well-Being in order to solve this problem.

Along with student well-being is the issue of sexual assault on campus. Cook and Vacante plan to work closely with the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center on campus to ensure a safer community. Cook and Vacante will also work on ways to educate students on consent and sexual assault.

They also want to work to improve accessibility for students on campus. There are certain methods required by law to be in place, but they want to raise the standards for students with disabilities.

Lastly, the candidates talked about what they were passionate about and how they would use that to improve MU.

Vacante said she was passionate about women’s issues and social justice. She said everyone should be heard.

“There is no problem too small,” she said. “If it bothers you, it matters.”

Cook said not much in his life has been done without passion. However, service was at the top and has always been important to him.

“Service means everything. If you aren’t helping out your neighbor, what are you doing?” Cook said.

For more about Tradition for Tomorrow, visit its website here or its Twitter @tradfortomorrow and Instagram @traditionfortomorrow. Vote online beginning March 2 vote.missouri.edu. Voting ends on March 4 at 6 p.m.

Edited by Ben Scott | bscott@themaneater.com

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