Tel Wittmer emphasizes the land grant mission in student body presidential campaign platforms

Tel Wittmer, junior in secondary education, is running for Student Body President with Lane Lundeen, junior in fisheries, wildlife and conservation science. The campaign is looking to emphasize K-State's land grant mission during the race. (Bailey Britton | Collegian Media Group)

“Success, Sustainability and Service” — these are the three platforms Tel Wittmer, junior in secondary education, chose to run on for student body president. Wittmer’s vice presidential running mate is Lane Lundeen, junior in fisheries, wildlife and conservation science.

Their success platform outlines goals for collaborating with administrators, lowering “wasteful spending” and revising the K-State 8 curriculum to include classes on subjects like personal finance or on relationships, that would benefit students beyond college.

“Yale and Harvard are both creating ‘adulting’ curriculums, as silly as that word sounds, it’s something we need to consider,” Wittmer said.

For sustainability, Wittmer wants to focus on creating waste reduction opportunities on campus. This includes implementing “sustainable practices” for reducing waste in dining halls.

“It’s a big passion of Lane’s,” he said.

Finally, for their service platform, he wants to engage the student body by including student’s voices in decision making and encouraging social media interactions.

Before Wittmer even considered running for president, he held other offices in SGA and participated in Student Alumni Board.

“I wasn’t elected a senator my freshman year for my sophomore year, but one of the elected senators stepped down so I was brought on,” Wittmer said. “I ran for reelection last year and then applied to be On-Campus Allocations chair.”

In addition, he was a student ambassador for the K-State Alumni Association, representing students at alumni and university events.

“That was totally worth it,” Wittmer said.

Wittmer’s experience also includes being a teaching assistant for anthropology professor Michael Wesch’s cultural anthropology class for the fall 2019 semester.

“It was kind like of my first experience of applying myself in the classroom and trying to teach students,” he said.

For Wittmer, this reinforced his desire to be a teacher. He is currently on schedule to student teach in the spring 2021 semester. However, if he becomes president, he has to be enrolled full-time at K-State.

“There’s no way I would be able to [student teach] then because that is a full-time job,” Wittmer said. “That’s something I thought about for a long time, but I’m willing to sacrifice and wait. I would have no problem taking classes to get a minor in history or anthropology.”

Just like he had to consider the changing his path to graduation, Wittmer also considered if he should run and who he would like to be his running mate.

Wittmer ultimately chose to run with Lundeen because they have many of the same goals and complementary personalities, Wittmer said.

“[I want] to further the mission of the university,” Wittmer said. “Lane has the same idea. We just mesh together and it’s really awesome to see each other grow.”

The duo’s goal is to further the original land-grant mission of K-State — education, opportunity and access, Wittmer said.

“That’s what Lane and I want to expand upon,” Wittmer said. “Our mission as a university is to not make money as an institution or just get by in education. It’s to create opportunity for people.”

Voting in the student body presidential primary is on Tuesday and Wednesday. From there, the two candidates with the highest percentage of student votes will go head to head in the general election.

My name is Bailey Britton and I am the former editor-in-chief of the Collegian. Previously, I have been the assistant news editor and the managing editor. I have also interned for the Manhattan Mercury and the Colby Free Press. I grew up in Colby, Kansas, and I am a junior in journalism and English. Through the Collegian, I aim to provide the K-State community with quality news coverage while we learn to serve our campus.