Guest editorial: Kays, Kennedy aim to hit the ground running during first 100 days in office

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Since winning the election for student body president last month by the widest margin in at least 14 years, Reagan Kays said he and vice president Cody Kennedy, junior in education and mathematics, have been hard at work outlining a plan of action for their term.

Their administration’s three major platforms, called “Your Education, Your Passion, Your Life,” are aimed at improving tutoring services and communication between campus organizations and establishing a medical amnesty law that would protect minors from legal consequences for seeking medical help for someone with an alcohol-related illness.

Medical amnesty laws
The most ambitious of these goals is enacting a medical amnesty law. Kays said that though he plans to work on a local level at first, he hopes to eventually expand it to the entire state of Kansas if he finds success in Manhattan. Kays and Kennedy will meet with key players, including the K-State police department and university administration, in the coming weeks to make progress.

“Right now, it’s all research,” Kays, senior in agribusiness, said. “We’re looking at all the medical amnesty laws in the 17 states that have already done this to see how they apply here at K-State. I’ve got a call soon with a guy that was one of the movers and shakers at Purdue when they got it done.”

Campus organization
Another early focus for Kays and Kennedy is implementing OrgSync, a campus organization platform purchased for the university with Student Governing Association funds last year.

“It’s going to be pretty similar to what we said when we were campaigning,” Kays said. “This is available for students to use, it’s paid for. I really equate it to KSOL for student involvement, because it allows you to do everything you need to do. You can share files and pages, send group texts and emails, plan events, upload a T-shirt design and get comments on it. There’s a lot of great stuff you can do and a lot of benefits to using it.”

The two will oversee widespread promotion of OrgSync by establishing a task force to reach out to campus groups and having information booths at orientation and enrollment sessions.

Increased mobility on campus
Kays and Kennedy will also inherit a number of ongoing projects from previous administrations. Kays said one of these is the continued discussion of mobility on campus.

The Division of Marketing and Communications released K-State Mobile, tagged as “the official mobile app for Kansas State University,” in July. The app is rated at three stars by reviewers on the Google Play store, but four of the five reviews of the latest version give it just one star.

“Almost completely worthless,” Jonathan Wallace, senior in finance, said in one review. “This app is essentially a bookmark app for (K-State). It takes me more time to use the app to get to these websites than to just open my browser.”

Austin Green, sophomore in computer science, has experience designing and publishing mobile apps and echoed Wallace’s statements. He said it uses webviews, which he described as “mini-browsers” that open an existing webpage inside the app.

“It’s practically just a bookmark folder,” Green said. “It provides no new tools or resources for students. It’s just not a viable app that should have been put into production.”

Green said he’d like to see more focus on features that students are more likely to access on their phones than a computer, like integrating Google Maps to help navigate between classes, a calendar of campus events and the ability to view class schedules.

Kays said he recognizes the concerns with the app and said the process of “completely revamping it” is underway in cooperation with Jeff Morris, vice president for communication and marketing at K-State. Kays said that, as he understands it, the goal is to implement tabs into iSIS and K-State Online in the current version before the overhauled version is complete.

Other major carryover projects include the K-State Student Union renovation and the campus smoking policy. Kays and Kennedy will be involved in the selection of an architect for the Union project and in determining what the final design will look like. After the Student Senate passed a resolution supporting the implementation of designated smoking sections last term, the two will also work to garner support from key decision-makers and to define where the smoking areas will be located.

“More than anything, our first 100 days and the entirety of our term, will be spent representing students and their interests,” Kays said. “That’s been the main focus all along and that’s how we plan to keep it.”

Appointing cabinet next
The next move for the new president and vice president is appointing a cabinet to help achieve their platform goals. They hope to decide who will fill those roles in the next few days. Kay’s predecessor, Eli Schooley, senior in political science, said that his cabinet had a major impact on his term, and would for Kays’ and Kennedy’s as well.

“When you’re surrounded by incredible people, your goals become a lot easier to realize than they otherwise would be,” he said. “I’m excited to see all that the Kays and Kennedy administration achieves in the coming year.”

Mike Stanton
Public Relations Director
Student Governing Association

Editor’s note: Mike Stanton accepted a job as the PR director of the Student Governing Association on March 14.

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