Candidates debate before presidential election
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Elections seemed to be a topic of discussion amongst most media outlets this past year with the United States Presidential election, but this presidential election is not the only one to make note of. The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Student Senate held their annual presidential student debate on April 3, so students could get a better idea of who is running and who to vote for in the election.
Candidates for this year’s presidential election are freshman Lucas Frey and running mate Skylar Lopez-Kohler. Frey studying software engineering and Lopez-Kohler is studying mechanical engineering and biology. Frey and Lopez-Kohler’s competition are Quinten Lisowe and Austin Werner. Lisowe is a sophomore studying business administration and Werner is a junior, also studying business administration.
After the announcement of the candidates, each team was asked to make an opening statement. The opening statement allows the candidates to specify the goal of their campaign and why they should be elected. The team of Frey and Lopez-Kohler presented their opening statement first. The theme for their campaign is that “everything begins with an idea.” With the term “idea” standing for inclusive, diversity, education and attitude.
“We really want to make an atmosphere that is inclusive for all students. We want everyone to feel they can succeed here,” Frey said. “Second, diversity, being in southwest Wisconsin we want to promote the most diverse atmosphere. In terms of education, are we getting a quality education because that is what were here for, and lastly, attitude. There’s a quote by Confucius that says, ‘the man who says he can and the man who says he can’t are both usually right’ and that’s what we want to tell everyone here, you can do it. You can graduate and you can get through this.”
Once Frey concluded with his team’s opening statement, Lisowe and Werner were given the opportunity to make theirs. Lisowe and Werner presented themselves as entrepreneurs and wanted to come from a place of business. With both being business majors, they would like to give unrepresented students a voice on campus. The team said that they would like to see more of what the Post Secret event started in addition to having more key note speakers.
“We are both entrepreneurs, and in the mindset of an entrepreneur, you come up with a general business plan and you present it to your customers and you seem what they like and get feedback, Lisowe said. “You go back and forth and tweak it, see how people like it and you do this process until you find something that everyone can agree on. We’ve presented policies to people and seen how they reacted adapted.”
After the opening statements, the question and answer portion of the debate began. Both teams were presented with a question by the debate moderator. Once the question was presented, each team was given about two minutes to answer. The first question asked by the moderator was, “if elected how would you try to give a voice to underrepresented students on campus?” Vice president candidate Werner spoke on behalf of his team and stated that if elected, they would help establish the Post Secret boxes around campus, establish workshops and would bring in key note speakers to motivate students to be more involved.
With this in mind, Lopez-Kohler responded by speaking about inclusion and multicultural student affairs, which is the biggest advocate for their campaign. “There needs to be some sort of communal outreach,” Lopez-Kohler said.
Following the question and answer portion of the debate was the part where students were able to directly ask the candidates questions. These ranged from what can be done to make the safe zones more clear to how to help those on campus who have experienced sexual harassment, and how to prevent that from happening in the future. Each team answered in different ways, and Werner spoke about how workshops would be helpful, while Lopez-Kohler argued that more than just participating in a workshop would need to be done.
The debate ended with the moderator asking each team to make their closing remarks. Both teams closed with statements about how they would make a difference on the UW-Platteville campus if elected. The team of Lisowe and Werner responded with their closing statement first.
“The website is designed with metrics in mind. They are designed so at a glance people can tell if we have accomplished those goals or not. In order to be held to these promises we want to make a third part student senate to keep us accountable,” Lisowe said.
The team of Frey and Lopez-Kohler took a little different approach with their closing statement and spoke directly about how they would be able to positively affect the UW-Platteville campus because of the connections they have made during their time here.
“Skylar and I use our connections we’ve developed from across campus and we really create an atmosphere on how can we best involve students and how can we best have a diverse campus. Through outreach programs while they’re still in high school. In terms of education, are we doing department of evaluations correctly, and are those being implemented across the university, and finally, attitude. Waking up every day and making sure you are able to do what you need to do because we all should be able to graduate with that attitude and if you believe that, we will,” Frey said.