MEET THE CANDIDATES: Dowd, Koger advocate approachable leadership, comprehensive mental health programs

(Photo take by Tegan Brandt | Courtesy of Cameron Koger)

An hour-long phone call is all it took for Michael Dowd, senior in animal science and global food systems leadership, and Cameron Koger, junior in marketing, to make the official decision to run for student body president and vice president.

“By the end of that conversation, I knew Cameron would be an excellent person to work alongside,” Dowd said.

Dowd said the initial spark to run for student body president went back to student leaders that came before him, such as Sadie Polson, 2019-2020 chief of staff, Jansen Penny, 2019-2020 student body president, and Lacy Pitts, 2018-2019 student body vice president.

“They really showed me what it’s like to be connected and to understand the student body, to hear and listen and seek out how students at K-State are actually feeling,” Dowd said.

The duo aims to collect 158 — the number of years since the founding of Kansas State — ideas from students to further improve experiences at the university.

Koger said deciding their roles required an interesting reflection period for the pair, but the roles they picked best suited their strengths.

“Michael is a lot better at delegating and being organized and being on top of things, and I’m more of the interpersonal,” Koger said. “I’ll talk to anyone.”

Koger said he loves idea-creation and to execute on the platforms the two created. The vice president position will allow him more ability to utilize those strengths.

“I always wanted the opportunity to represent students because I feel like I have a unique passion to want to do as much as I possibly can to help every student,” Koger said.

Since becoming involved in SGA, Koger has simultaneously served on four committees and now wants to go even further with helping make a difference.

“I feel like I’m making a difference on these [committees], but I want to take it even to the next step because I didn’t see a ton of people that were similar,” Koger said. “So, I thought I had an opportunity to be a unique candidate.”

Koger said he and Dowd aim to become the most approachable, genuine and authentic leaders that have ever been a part of the K-State campus.

“Michael and I have really taken the stance that we can be the ones people could come up to in Walmart and ask questions about what we’ve enacted,” Koger said. “Or the people you see on campus and talk to for 20 minutes just to get a pulse.”

Additionally, Dowd said he wants to be the type of person whose phone line is always open.

“I know that I’m going to actually sit down and listen to any response that we get,” Dowd said.

The duo developed many goals to create a better environment at K-State. Some ideas include comprehensive mental health programs, student leadership roundtables and creating digital K-State IDs.

“The whole idea is that our experiences and K-State stories are only two out of 20,000,” Dowd said. “We only have a certain limited amount of experience to know what K-State needs right now, and our goal is to gather that from students.”

Koger’s passion for K-State not only stems from his own perspectives but from his family history.

“My parents met here and a couple of siblings have spent some time here, so that means a lot to me,” Koger said. “It’s also literally 20 times bigger than the population of Overbrook. It’s insane to think that it can be that much larger, but at the same time I can walk through campus and recognize at least one person.”

Koger’s admiration for K-State extends beyond just the campus. His favorite tradition is to stay at any sporting event he attends until after the Alma Mater finishes playing, no matter the score.

Dowd’s passion comes from the idea of being a part of a family and community. No matter the situations he finds himself in, the friends he makes at K-State are always a phone call away.

Dowd said his favorite K-State tradition is people using the power cat hand-sign because everyone instantly makes the connection.

“Seeing people throw up a power cat in their happiest moments together with their friends, on- or off-campus, is something very unique and individual that we can all relate to,” Dowd said.

Dowd and Koger can be found publishing their campaign journey on their Instagram.