Student senate candidates hold forum

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The University of Northern Colorado held a Student Senate open forum on Monday for the student body president candidates and the student trustee candidates.

The three candidates are running for student body president are Joseph Michael Milinazzo, Lobna Allsraj and Tim Hernandez.

According to Milinazzo, a business marketing and economics major, he was in student government in all four years of high school and served as student body president and secretary.

“I really enjoyed making changes and setting things up with my school, as well as the community not just the school,” Milinazzo said. “So, I’m looking to do the same thing here, but in a more broad perspective, bigger picture.”

Milinazzo said he currently tries to attend every activity that campus has going on, such as sports, clubs, or anything in the UC, in order to be involved in campus. If elected, Milinazzo wants to continue this, but also wants to help each club or group with their needs and concerns.

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According to Milinazzo, one issue almost every student could agree on is creating a more Division One field for the college. Milinazzo said parking and housing overflow issues, and low student involvement could all tie in as a Division One field.

Division One universities are typically the largest universities that participate in the highest level of athletics. Division One universities have a larger budget, better facilities and receive a lot of attention.

Allsraj, a political science major, has been involved in Student Senate since her freshman year at UNC. If elected, Allsraj would be the first international student body president on campus.

According to Allsraj, she values diversity on campus, and wants to be a voice for those who aren’t represented on campus.

Allsraj is working on a mindfulness committee and is looking to open a mindfulness center on campus. Allsraj is also working on legislature regarding religious holiday exemptions because they aren’t equitable for everyone.

When asked what the biggest issue students face is, Allsraj said the university lacks diversity.

According to Allsraj, some students will say the biggest issues they face is underrepresentation and equitable learning styles, but a graduate student will say the lack of funding for conferences is a big issue.

Allsraj said one big issue students face is overcrowding with housing and parking, as well as funding cuts and student positions being taken away to save money.

Hernandez said he plans to be involved on campus through consistent outreach to students.

“I am interested in becoming student body president because I think that the student body here at UNC is, I think it’s incomparable,” Hernandez said. “I don’t think that there’s any other student body, at least from my perspective, that has kind of developed into something that’s so unique.”

According to Hernandez, he doesn’t have a platform because he has been building his platform around students for the last four and a half weeks. Hernandez said he has been taking everything students would like to see in the university and building the platform around them.

Hernandez said he plans to reach down and offer students spaces, rather than making students feel like it’s their obligation to reach up by making Student Senate more approachable.

“One, a big thing that I would really like to do is work on teaching students how to use their voice and two, that they have them,” Hernandez said.

Three candidates are also running for student trustee. Annie Engler is a criminal justice major, Henry Mistrot is a business management and economics major, and Malaika Michel-Fuller is an English education major.

According to Mistrot, he plans to relate information between Student Senate, the student body, and the Board of Trustees through social media platforms.

“I would really like to make sure as freshmen, when they come in, they’re all following these accounts, friending these accounts, so they can really see all the information, whether it’s Twitter or Instagram, or even Facebook,” Mistrot said. “I think we need to use those a little bit more effectively because I don’t know, those are just the things people have been telling me that they, they didn’t know we had an Instagram, or they didn’t know we had something like that.”

Mistrot said the biggest issue students are facing right now is student involvement and student pride. Mistrot said if they are able to increase student involvement, he thinks it will bump up UNC’s attendance, build the college’s image as a whole, and possibly increase donations and scholarships.

Michel-Fuller’s platform is centered around outreach. For the last four weeks, Michel-Fuller has reached out to clubs and organizations, classes, and department and staff meetings for collaboration conversations with students.

According to Michel-Fuller, she wants to establish a place at tables, such as the Board of Trustees, in order to effectively convey the student viewpoint and be a vessel to capture the student voice.

According to Michel-Fuller, the biggest issue student’s face is the support system and collaboration because there isn’t a common ground or a sense of community. Michel-Fuller said Student Senate is used for support and an access to resources.

Engler ran for Student Trustee because it’s important for every student to get their voices heard whether they’re involved on campus or not.

According to Engler, they could send a survey to students to see what they like about campus and send it to the Board of Trustees, as well as going out to club and organizations meetings.

“I think what qualifies someone to represent the diversity on campus is just someone who’s willing to listen and understand,” Engler said.

According to Engler, the biggest issue students face is figuring out what to do with their degree after school.

Election polls will close at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 5 and the official results will be announced by 5 p.m. Friday, April 13 if no grievances are filed.

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