Thomas Bradley / Campus editor
One team running in the Undergraduate Student Government election has built a “Buckeye Blueprint” to keep student government relevant and ensure a sense of community. Presidential candidate Kyle Strickland, a third-year in political science, and running mate Nick Parker, a fourth-year in political science and sociology, said they want to bring USG back to the students.
“For Kyle and I, the overwhelming theme of our campaign is building the Buckeye community,” Parker said. “We have seven years of combined USG experience, so we’ve been in the organization for a while. We know what USG is capable of, we know the reputation it has with students and we want to make that better.”
Strickland and Parker’s campaign logo depicts their names on Lego blocks, which the team said played into its theme of building community on campus. Strickland said the most original part of their blueprint is the goal to establish a holistic student success center.
“Our goal is to basically streamline the processes,” Strickland said. “So we’ll have internships, job opportunities and scholarships, have that all in the Ohio Union and give that to people to be readily available, because now it’s kind of all over the place.”
Strickland said the concept wouldn’t eliminate any of the career and academic services on campus, but would instead pull from those resources and build upon them.
Another essential part of their campaign has been their safety platform.
“I’ve had students tell me that the off-campus area doesn’t feel safe,” Parker said. “That bothers me as an off-campus senator. I want to help them and see if I can increase lighting, pedestrian safety and awareness of sexual violence.”
Strickland and Parker have been working together in USG for three years, and Parker said it has made them a great team.
“I met Kyle the first week he ever stepped foot on the university,” Parker said. “He joined my committee in USG. He came up to me and said he wanted to help students. I was really drawn to him there. The following year we got paired up again. We’ve become pretty good personal friends, but I see in him a spirit to help the community and Buckeye Nation and really put his ideas into policies that USG can implement.”
Strickland said their time at USG has allowed them to see members’ egos come and go, but stressed that USG has been on the right track lately and wants to keep that going.
“We are in the right direction,” Strickland said. “But we want to take that leap forward, and we need you guys to hold us accountable.”
Strickland and Parker repeatedly stressed the importance of students being active in the system and holding USG accountable for the promises they make.
“Even if we win, we will not see a change in student government if students aren’t holding us accountable. We can’t let the election end after April 13.”
The team is making several calls to action for students. Along with keeping USG in check, they said they are pushing for 15,000 votes to get the biggest voter turnout in school history.
“The biggest thing to deal with is that we’ve got 17 percent or less of students voting in USG elections,” Strickland said. “The fact is when you have 50,000 students, 17 percent is unacceptable, and it’s hard to say why students don’t vote. Maybe they don’t care or don’t think it’s relevant, but we want to change that.”
The team said in order for students to take these actions, all parts of the equation need to work together to increase lines of communication.
“The goal we really want to reach is not just for student government to be aware, but to make sure that student government is relevant to students,” Strickland said. “We want to make sure this is about building community, not building resumes. Making sure people aren’t focused on climbing to the top and instead focus on how we can help students.”