Courtesy of Empowering Shockers, Together.
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to affect students, and even long after the peak occurs, Rija Khan and Mackenzie Haas say they are committed to working with the Wichita State administration to ensure students’ needs are met.
Khan and Haas, candidates for student body president and vice president, respectively, have prioritized mental health, inclusivity, and college affordability in their campaign.
“These issues have hit our students pretty hard with everything going on right now, and we are going to ensure that student wellbeing remains at the forefront of our goals,” Haas wrote in an email to The Sunflower.
Both students have been involved in student government in various roles. Haas currently serves as SGA’s public relations director. Khan is a liberal arts and sciences senator and first chair on the senate’s ways and means committee.
“Being in a country where I have a voice, I have made it my goal to use it to empower others,” Khan, who was born in Pakistan, wrote in an email to The Sunflower. “So, as I joined SGA, I saw an opportunity to advocate for other students at Wichita State. I have spent the last two sessions in SGA learning about the functions and environment of how things are ran.”
The pair of executive hopefuls said that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect students and the university recovers from it, they plan to develop a strong relationship with the administration.
“I think now more than ever, it is essential that the student leadership on campus work hand-in-hand with the administration,” Haas said. “Clear communication is going to be huge in the upcoming months. It is so important to have individuals that will advocate for the needs of students and also help them understand the decisions that are being made.
“It is an unprecedented time for everyone, but the only way to navigate that is through open channels of communication between the student body and Administration.”
Khan said she agreed, especially when it comes to students’ mental health. She also said she wants to make sure student voices are heard.
“On campus, there have been situations where student issues were ignored or dismissed,” she said. “This situation hits home for me as I was born in Pakistan where if I had stayed I would not have the same opportunities as my brothers.”
This year, both tickets for SGA president and vice president are made up entirely of women — the first time in recent memory.
“I think the fact that the candidates this year are all women is amazing,” Haas said. “It has been an honor to work with the women in this election, and to see this as the leadership of our campus is inspiring.”
Haas said she hopes this brings about better representation for students on campus.
“I hope women coming on to campus see this and become empowered to chase their dreams, whether that be through SGA or not,” she said.
In her interview with The Sunflower, Khan brought up women in politics who inspire her.
“I see politics as a place to make change just like some of the current politicians like [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and Ilhan Omar,” Khan said. “These women use their platform to advocate for others just the way they wished to be represented.”
SGA voting is open until Wednesday. To vote, check your myWSU email for the link.