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The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Lopers need to stop standing on the sidelines, run for office


George Holman and Renae Zimmer sat away from the front row at Tuesday’s Student Government Election Open Forum.

The administrative duo almost outnumbered the students who attended to ask questions of their soon-to-be student government leaders, Temo Molina and Ethan Ciancio.

The three students in attendance fit in the front row. Supreme Court Chief Justice Tanner Butler and The Antelope’s Alex Hammeke sandwiched Noah Howard, the roommate of Chief of Staff-elect Noah Shackelford in a forum that barely lasted 10 minutes.

The Antelope is concerned about the lack of democratic involvement from its students on issues close to campus, such as last week’s student government elections.

Involvement in state and national politics has grown around campus. From when Lopers marched around campus for their reproductive rights, to Governor Pete Ricketts’ event that filled the Ponderosa Room in August hosted by the conservative student organization, Turning Point USA. While it is encouraging to see student interest increasing in politics and political movements, students can also have a direct effect on issues at their own institution of learning.

In November, a petition circulated asking that the university improve its lighting after an assault occurred on campus. Nearly 450 Lopers signed the petition, but were unaware that Student Government was working with the Chancellor’s Office and UNK Police to improve lighting and upgrade security on campus throughout the fall semester. 

Today’s Lopers are the leaders of tomorrow, but they can’t grow in their leadership skills by standing idly on the sidelines. Student Senate meetings take place every other Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Antelope Room of the union. This is the best way for students to be in the know directly about issues. If students have concerns about anything on campus, use your voice. Student senate takes public comment at the beginning of every meeting, but Lopers don’t take advantage of it.

If Lopers really want to jump in, there are still open positions winin student government. When the new senate convenes, every college will have open seats. The College of Arts and Sciences will have four open seats, College of Education will have two seats, and one seat will be open for the College of Business and Technology. There were no candidates for the University College and for Graduate/Non-Degree seeking students on last weeks ballot. Lopers who were on the fence for running should apply so the senate is at a full capacity. 

One of the ways that student senate can improve its standing is through awareness. Some Lopers do not recognize their senators just by reading the list of them on the UNK website. New senators need to have their headshots taken and uploaded to the Student Government website. On senators’ social media bios, they should also mention their senate positions, right next to their graduation date and their Greek letters.

Senators also should work towards hosting events where students can meet their senators, such as a morning “pastries with politicians” within their respective college. It would provide a great opportunity for students to meet their elected officials, all the while providing students a chance to partake in breakfast that they might have skipped out on rushing to classes.

Part of the Molina/Ciancio platform is increasing opportunities for student feedback. Making sure Lopers know who their senators are helps everyone out in the long run.

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