Guest editorial from Mindrup, Zwick campaign

Matt Mindrup, sophomore in biology and philosophy, and Emily Zwick, junior in philosophy and agricultural economics, stand in front of Anderson Hall in the center of Kansas State' campus on Jan. 30, 2017. (File Photo by Austin Fuller | The Collegian)

Focused On You.

To us it is more than just a phrase. It is a promise that we have made to you, and a promise that we intend to keep. Throughout the past four months, we have reached out to every organization and spoken to over 1,100 students. From discussing how the Anthropology Club can help with campus food insecurity issues, to listening to the United Black Gospel Choir practice, we have learned so much about our campus and our peers.

Our original intent with reaching out to every organization on campus was to adequately hear and understand the concerns of our peers. We wanted to come to you and listen. Additionally, we chose to pick six platforms. In choosing these platforms we surveyed students to ensure that we were picking things important to the student body. We also chose them because we felt that they were concrete ideas that we could feasibly accomplish in our term. We felt that you deserved this metric to adequately judge our job performance.

However, there are still so many more issues that we wish to advocate for, and while we did not make them specific platforms, they are still very important to us. They have been a part of our conversations with administrators, students and our core staff since the beginning. At this time, we would like to expand on some of these.

We know that there is need for a multicultural student center. We are also aware that there have been certain roadblocks, like administrative changes, that seem to set these plans back. The multicultural center plays an integral role in K-State’s Diversity 2025 Plan. We know we still have much to learn, and we intend to do so by continuing to reach out and partner with multicultural organizations. We are committed to learning more. We will need help further educating ourselves and the rest of the student body on the importance of diversity, but we understand that this is an important issue to many students. It is also an important issue to us.

We are also committed to securing need-based scholarships. These scholarships would be privately-funded scholarships for students who have exhausted all other forms of financial aid. These scholarships do not take away from the pool of money for general university scholarships.

As you might know, K-State has had lower enrollment the past three years. These lower enrollment numbers did not result because we have a recruitment problem, or poor freshman to sophomore year retention rates. Instead, many students that left were juniors and seniors who ran out of money and had to drop out to work. The intent of these need-based scholarships is to assist students like them.

Finally, we would like to address the issue of empathy on our campus. From Jetmore, Kansas, to Asunción, Paraguay, K-State is home to thousands of students, with each holding his or her own individual experiences and values. We are different; yet, we all identify with this amazing thing known as the K-State family.

College is an amazing time because it allows individuals to branch out and meet people completely unlike oneself. Encountering those whom we disagree with or do not understand can be a very exciting experience, and it can also be uncomfortable at times. However, in order to ensure the integrity of our educational institution, it is imperative that we continue to push for respect and empathy toward those from which we differ. One of the most beautiful things about higher education is the ability to have the free and open exchange of ideas. We must work toward building a more empathetic campus so that we can ensure the spirit of respect and family never dies.

We are so proud of our university and the students here. It has been a true honor meeting and speaking with you. This experience has been life changing. Regardless of the outcome of this election, we will continue to ensure that our university is focused on serving you.

Matt Mindrup and Emily Zwick

Candidates for student body president and vice president