Mindrup, Zwick: ‘Focused on You.’

Matt Mindrup, sophomore in biology and philosophy, and Emily Zwick, junior in agricultural economics, stand in front of Anderson Hall in the center of Kansas State Universities’ campus on Jan. 30, 2017.

They are focused on more than Call Hall’s chocolate ice cream, game days with their friends and a purple-dominated wardrobe. They are focused on students.

Matt Mindrup, sophomore in biology and candidate for student body president, and Emily Zwick, sophomore in agricultural economics and candidate for student body vice president, said a major focus of their campaign is students and their concerns, which is why they came up with the slogan “Focused on You.”

“We’ve really taken a ‘Focused on You’ approach by reaching out to every campus organization and we have tons of groups to visit still, but we really enjoy it,” Mindrup said. “We’ve received a ton of great feedback already and they’ve been really excited that we’re coming to them.”

“We really just want to be approachable to students,” Mindrup continued. “And if we’re elected, we’ll still be that way. We will continue to visit student groups.”

If elected, Mindrup said their game plan is to put every campus organization’s name in a hat and pick out two to five organizations to visit with each week.

“We will be there for them and listen to their concerns,” Mindrup said. “We really think that’s the most important part of this job. We do have platforms and they’re great, but the most important part will be to be there for students, to hear their concerns and to listen to them. And the best way to do that is to go to them and not make them come to us.”

To prove they are focused on students, the pair said they did not just decide on three platforms that they were most passionate about. Instead, when they started their campaign planning in September, they started with 15-20 ideas and finally narrowed them down to a list of six.

Mindrup and Zwick then took their six platform ideas to the organizations they met with and asked the members to fill out a survey and vote for the platforms they thought were most important to Kansas State students.

“This was a decision we made as a result of us not wanting to be focused on concerns of students from just one area of campus,” Zwick said. “We reached out to a wide variety of organizations and wanted to know how these would affect different groups on campus.”

An outsider’s perspective

While Mindrup served as a Student Governing Association intern and is currently a senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, Zwick does not have experience directly related to SGA.

“When I told (Emily) I’d like to run with her, she was very surprised,” Mindrup said. “I think that Emily is the perfect complement to me because we have a diverse look into involvement in the school and I think it’s really awesome that she brings an outsider’s perspective into SGA. I might see things a certain way and she’s able to say, ‘Well what if we think about it this way or that way.’ This really complements our pairing.”

Mindrup and Zwick said they met while working with potential students at New Student Services.

“I think this really gives us an advantage because we understand the recruitment process,” Mindrup said. “Recruitment is huge and affects everything from enrollment numbers to tuition and everything across the board. The amount of students we have affects the entire university and, if elected, we would have this opportunity to work for these new students right off the bat, which would be great because we love talking to students and working with people.”

Zwick said their work with New Student Services gives them an advantage because they hear what students want and the services they wish K-State offered.

“It gives us an idea of what would be good for K-State and a lot of times we’re like, ‘Oh, this would enhance the K-State experience if we could offer them that,'” Zwick said.

Pursuing six platforms

The original plan was to narrow their six potential platforms down, but after receiving the student surveys they decided to pursue all six.

“We actually decided we’re going to pursue all six because a lot of the comments were, ‘It’s really hard for me to choose,'” Mindrup said.

Library hours

After Hale Library cut their hours due to university-wide budget cuts, Mindrup said they felt more could be done to help students.

“We spent a lot of time meeting with Dean Goetsch (dean of K-State Libraries) about what we can do and we identified several different ways to increase their hours,” Mindrup said.

Whether it is through a grant of privilege fee allocation, Mindrup and Zwick said they are passionate about increasing the hours Hale Library is open to students.

Peer mentoring

“As freshmen, Matt and I both got set up with peer mentors through groups on campus,” Zwick said. “We both felt like we benefited greatly from these peer mentors and felt it was unfair only select groups get these opportunities to have a mentor. We really want all students, whether a freshman or transfer student, to be able to have a peer mentor.”

To make this possible, Zwick said they have already been talking to K-State First, an organization that offers programs for first-year students.

Academic advising

Mindrup and Zwick said they realize there may not be a “one size fits all” advising program that works in all of K-State’s colleges, but they would like to see a standard set in all of them.

“Every student should receive the same standard of advising,” Mindrup said. “We’ve identified some things that should be the same such as the university advising syllabus, professional programming for advisers and peer-advising.”

Public speaking

Public speaking is one of the three classes at K-State that every student has to take in order to graduate, Zwick said.

“A lot of times students have already taken this class in high school, so by the time they have to take it in college it’s very ‘same old, same old,'” Zwick said.

Mindrup and Zwick said they do not want to get rid of the requirement, but they would like to give students more class offerings to meet the public speaking requirement.

“For example, I’m a pre-law student, so I could take a speaking class on how to present in a courtroom,” Zwick said. “Matt is biology, so he could take a class on how to present research.”

Campus food pantry

Mindrup said they have taken the approach of working with various groups on campus who have already been working on bringing a food pantry to campus for over three years.

“We’ve been able to coordinate with the smaller food pantries with Office of Student Life, K-State Wesley and College of Education,” Mindrup said. “We’ve got this network and we’re in the process of applying for a grant to get 1,200 pounds of food a week delivered to campus from Harvester’s to store at Lafene.”

Mindrup said they do not want to take credit for what other organizations have done, but they have actively been working with those groups since October.

“We’re taking the approach of this is a problem now and we need to combat it now, so what are the solutions we can do while we don’t have funding or a permanent space on campus and we’ve found a way around that,” Mindrup said. “And if we were elected, we would push for that permanent space. That’s all up in the air, so we’re focused on the impact we actually can make.”

Active shooter training

When concealed carry is permitted on campus effective July 1, Mindrup and Zwick said they want students to feel safe and know what to do if an active shooter is on campus.

“I think it would be really beneficial to incorporate ALICE training into orientation and enrollment or an online tutorial that students are required to take,” Zwick said.

Four candidates filed for the 2017 student body president election. To read the story on Jack Ayres click here. The Collegian contacted the other two candidates, but did not hear back by 9 p.m. Monday. Stories on them may be published in the future.

Hi, I'm Kaitlyn Alanis, former news editor for the Collegian and a May 2017 graduate in agricultural communications and journalism. I have never tried a hamburger and I hate the taste of coffee, but I love writing stories and sharing what I learn with our readers. By writing for the Collegian, I can now not only sing along when the K-State Band plays "The Band is Hot," but I also know that most agriculture students did not grow up on a farm, how to use an AED to save someone's life and why there is a bust of MLK Jr. outside of Ahearn Field House. Thanks for reading!