When campaigning for student government positions, advocating for students is often mentioned as a top priority, but rarely defined. Kitrina Miller and Michael Bearth advocate for students on a daily basis, and say they intend to keep doing so if they win next week’s election.
Miller and Bearth are the Together We Can presidential and vice presidential candidates, running against three opposing tickets.
Their platform focuses on increasing the availability of student services, expanding incentive programs and benefits, and ensuring clear, concise and transparent communication.
Miller, a junior majoring in social work, currently serves as the WSU student advocate. She said the non-partisan executive position has provided her with a valuable template for leadership.
Bearth, her running mate, is a junior majoring in mechanical engineering and physics. A former Marine Corps battalion maintenance management chief, Bearth serves as WSU’s student involvement ambassador, Student Government Association veteran’s senator, PAVE advisor (peer advisors for veterans education), and president of WSU’s National Society of Scholars.
Miller said her role as student advocate has given her valuable insight that her opponents might not have.
“I was able to, you know, get a different perspective of student issues and concerns that maybe the other senators or other cabinet members might not have,” Miller said.
She said that if she’s elected, supporting student services will be a priority.
Miller liked the proposal in the recently-voted-down student fee referendum to turn Clinton Hall into a student services building. She said that’s why she voted to support the fee increase.
Though she would still love to see Clinton Hall transformed, Miller said she respects that students exercised their rights by voting ‘no’.
“I think students were heard, and they voted ‘no’ — that’s what they wanted,” Miller said. “And therefore, it’s not going to happen. And I don’t necessarily disagree with that either.”
Bearth did not vote for the fee increase, but said he struggled with the decision.
“I ended up being on the fence for a while, and I ended up falling on the other side,” Bearth said. “Cost versus gain ended up being just a little skewed in the wrong direction.”
Bearth and Miller said they’ll support each other’s passions and plans as president and VP. Together We Can is all about collaboration, representation and resolute leadership, they said.
“The difference between a leader and a resolute leader is being resolute does not necessarily mean winning every time,” Bearth said. “But it does mean not giving up the fight.”
The ticket agreed that the student body president and vice president have a responsibility to listen to what the students want, and act on that — even when students want something they do not.
“If students tell us that this needs to happen, regardless of whether we get shot down again and again and again, we will continue to fight for what they have expressed,” Bearth said.
“That’s the whole point of this position,” Miller agreed. “So, I plan on listening to what students want and try my hardest to act on what they want.”