Wichita natives Reid Linot and Blake Christopherson are running for student body president and vice president, respectively. The two juniors — Linot, an integrated marketing communication major, and Christopherson, a computer science major — make up the All Voices Heard ticket.
Their top priority if elected? “Student mental health,” Linot said.
“One in five students are currently affected by mental illness, so we want to break down the stigmas about that and make Wichita State a more comfortable place for people struggling with that, and help in any way we can,” he said.
Another major priority for the ticket is student success — raising Wichita State’s graduation rate, which is currently 42%.
Linot also said he wants to emphasize campus innovation and inclusion for students. He said he would like to work with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to help make WSU more open to everyone.
Neither Linot nor Christopherson have served in student government before, but when addressing their qualifications for the roles, both cited their experiences working for non-profits.
Christopherson has worked with Young Life, a Christian organization that works with high school youth. He said the experience was about “building relationships with high school students who come from many different walks of life,” and “leadership training that you get with experience and interacting with people.”
Linot currently works with Young Professionals of Wichita, an organization with a mission of making Wichita a destination for young intellectual capital.
“Every day, I’m trying to figure out how we can help connect and develop young people,” Linot said.
Christopherson said that although his ticket may not know all of the technical skills of how the Student Government Association works, they “value people above everything else,” and will learn the technical work as they go along.
When asked about the Shock the Future student fees referendum, Linot said that “the students spoke, and their voice was heard.”
The referendum narrowly failed. Linot said there’s a lesson to be learned about more student input generating more student support.
“Moving forward, I think that [WSU] should gear their plan more towards the students’ visions and requests and get more student input, so they can be confident in their plan moving forward that whatever they come up with will pass,” Linot said.
In terms of student involvement, Linot is a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity on campus, and Christopherson is involved in the engineering school.
When asked about their favorite parts of WSU, Christopherson praised the university’s internship and co-op programs with surrounding industries as providing significant applied learning opportunities for students.
Linot emphasized the unique people who make up the university community.
“Wichita State’s greatest strength is the people here.”