Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Student government presidential candidates announce plans for increased student engagement

Garima Thapa
Student body presidential and vice presidential candidates on March 25 for the second student government presidential debate. Kylee Hower is running for president with Matthew Phan, who could not attend due to a car accident, as vice president. Aiden Powell is also running for president with Diana Grajeda as vice president.

The tickets for student body president and vice president discussed increasing diversity within student government and improving outreach at the second presidential debate.

Each ticket reaffirmed its main platform points at the debate, which took place on March 25 and shared their goals on how to improve Student Government Association (SGA). 

Vice presidential candidate Matthew Phan, who is running alongside presidential candidate Kylee Hower, could not attend the debate due to a car accident.

Increasing diversity in student government

International students make up a large percentage of the population at Wichita State; about 3,100 students at WSU are on non-immigrant visas. Yet, there are not many represented in SGA due to a high turnover rate, according to Diana Grajeda.

Grajeda, who is running for vice president alongside presidential candidate Aiden Powell, said they would like to change this. Grajeda and Powell promised to strive for trust, vision and connection, if elected.

Grajeda said more information should be provided to international students about SGA so they can attract members who are passionate and most likely to serve their whole term. 

“Hopefully by having that target audience within the international population (we) will be able to get representation for them within SGA,” Grajeda said. 

According to Hower, diversifying SGA is one of her and Phan’s biggest goals. Their campaign platform has four prongs: sustainability, engagement, outreach and retention.

Hower said she and Phan would diversify SGA by increasing communication with identity-based student organizations on how to best serve the population. 

Powell said that he and Grajeda would love to help identity-based organizations “fulfill their full capacity and reach all the students that fit their demographic while also raising awareness.”

Hower also brought up the importance of LGBTQ representation in SGA.

“I also feel like there’s a low representation for members of the LGBTQ community — and if they are here, they’re not really being represented fully,” Hower said. 

Hower said when people’s representatives look like them and have had similar experiences, “it makes people more apt and more comfortable to come talk about those things.”

She and Phan have established an open-door policy. Hower said their open-door policy “can only go so far” if the students are not familiar with their representatives in student government. 

Conducting outreach

Hower and Phan also plan to increase the visibility of SGA’s leadership through outreach and attending more events. Hower said that, if elected, she would like to require cabinet members to attend at least eight on-campus events each semester.

Hower and Phan have met with Green Group, an environmental sustainability club at Wichita State, to discuss more creative plans for sustainability issues on campus. 

Powell shared that in his role as the director of student organizations at SGA, he has struggled with increasing attendance at events due to the lack of connection between SGA and the student body.

“That’s one thing we’re going to work toward — building the bridge between Student Government Association and the student body,” Powell said. 

He plans on having one-on-one meetings with different colleges and campus officials to best represent the students to the university as well as having one-on-ones with students.

“Every student is different on what they need from the student government and what they need from campus,” Powell said. 

Elections will be open from time to time from April 1-3 on ShockerSync.For more information about the candidates, go to The Sunflower’s profiles: Hower/Phan, Powell/Grajeda.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Loren Amelunke
Loren Amelunke, Reporter
Loren Amelunke is a first-year reporter for The Sunflower. She is a sophomore at Wichita State, currently pursuing a psychology major. She loves to write poetry and hopes to publish a poetry book in the near future.
Garima Thapa
Garima Thapa, Photographer
Garima Thapa is a second-year photographer for The Sunflower.

Comments (0)

All The Sunflower Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *