Berry, Harmon presidential campaign aims to reduce government’s spending, respect student voices


Courtesy of Zane Berry

Presidential candidate Zane Berry and VP candidate Nicholas Harmon pose for a photo. Berry and Harmon launched their campaign in February.

Zane Berry and Nicholas Harmon are one of three teams running for student body president and vice president. Their platform consists of affordable housing, reduced spending and reaffirming the right to freedom of expression.

Last year, Berry, now hoping to be student government president, was a vice presidential candidate on a write-in campaign with William Shropshire. Berry said the experience prepared him for his current campaign.

“Since we had to do everything on such a smaller scale last time and such a short time span,” Berry said, “it’s given me more insight into … what makes a successful campaign.”

Berry has been an SGA engineering senator for two years. As engineering caucus leader, he also leads meetings with engineering students in the Senate and connects with their college’s dean.

After deciding to run, Berry said he quickly thought of Harmon as a running mate.

“I knew he was going to be a strong fit for me, and I knew he aligned with what I wanted to change on campus,” Berry said.

Harmon is an at-large senator and chair of SGA’s Ways and Means Committee, which helps recognize student organizations. Harmon said, as chair, he motioned to reduce the timeline to approve organizations.

“I’ve always tried to put the interests of student organizations first,” Harmon said.

Campaign points

If elected, Berry and Harmon said they plan to reduce SGA’s spending.

Last fall, SGA voted to fund $15,000 for a mural project on the Duerksen amphitheater. While Harmon said he supports the mural, he found it irresponsible that SGA provided additional funds.

“My problem was that (the mural project) told us that they already had all the funding that they needed, and we just gave them extra money,” Harmon said.

The pair thinks responsible spending would help maintain low student fees and respect students.

“We are supposed to represent the interests of the student body, so we need to treat the students and their money with respect,” Harmon said.

The duo also wants to ensure students can freely express themselves. They plan to speak with university staff about how students might feel nervous to share certain opinions.

“Making sure that everybody has a level playing field and everybody feels like Wichita State is a safe space to talk,” Berry said.

Harmon said he advocates for students’ interests, even if they don’t agree with them.

“We can have differences of opinions and still work together for the common good,” Harmon said

The pair said they hope to address housing issues. Berry said that students often pay large fees to cancel housing contracts, even if moving into a fraternity house or for a job.

“Oftentimes, campus doesn’t really respect those kinds of reasons to cancel a housing contract, so (students) end up having to put that in a big bill,” Berry said.

They hope to work with Student Affairs and Housing and Residence Life to facilitate a solution.

“Ultimately, it would come down to a lot of negotiating, creating a good dialogue between housing and students,” Harmon said.

If elected, the pair aim to pass SGA resolutions in line with their campaign goals. They also hope to emulate current SGA President John Kirk. Kirk runs on five platforms, one being transparency.

“The goal of transparency is one that I’ve always shared with President Kirk, and we’d love to continue in our administration,” Harmon said. 

Through their time in SGA, Berry said he and Harmon bring more experience to the table, compared to other candidates.

“I’ve learned a lot about the way that we can make SGA — and especially the Executive Branch — much better than it is,” Berry said.

A resident assistant and involved in Beta Theta Pi, Berry said he’s also learned the importance of approachability.

“(If elected) I’m not just the president in SGA,” Berry said. “I’m also approachable; I’m here; and I’m ready to help with whatever you need.” 

SGA presidential and vice presidential debates will occur at 6 p.m. on March 23 and 28. Voting will open on April 3.

Two other teams are running: Iris Okere and Sophie Martins and Noah Carter and Jonathan Stanger.