Written By: Kale DeVoe, Cody Neuenschwander, Brice Vance
The Indiana-Purdue Student Government Association held open forums to help this year’s student election be more centered on candidates’ platforms. Events like these have not been used in the past couple election years, according to the student government coordinator.
Victoria Spencer, the university staff member responsible for overseeing the function of the student government, said making students aware of the candidates plans if elected between April 18 and April 23 is an issue “we have struggled with.”
“We are trying to bring back more intentional election events,” Spencer said. “It is something that has somewhat gone by the wayside.”
Last year, the student government did not host any forums or debates between candidates because there was only one contested election. Three of the four candidates ran unopposed.
IPSGA hosted two debate themed open forum events with candidates on April 5 and April 6. Spencer said the forums increase student involvement in the elections. Spencer estimated 90 students attended the two events.
Spencer said these events “force the candidates to put themselves out there, and run on a platform…as opposed to, ‘Hey here’s some candy. Please vote for me.’”
Student body president candidate senior Aleksandr Bogun said he was not pleased with the student response to the election.
“After getting people to sign my petition [to run for student body president], I had only ten people ask me what I actually want to do,” Bogun said. “The amount of students that actually care is really small. That shocks me.”
Spencer said she hoped these events would curb disinterest and “make students actually care about this.”
“These students represent you,” Spencer said.
Wade Smith, who is currently in his second year as student body president, dropped out of the campaign. He explained the role of the student body president as being “an advocate for the students.”
“They are a face for anyone to go to if they have questions concerning IPFW or IPSGA,” Smith said.
During his presidency, Smith has led initiatives to bring water bottle filling stations and more recycling bins to campus.
This year, Bogun and sophomore Andrew Kreager are running to fill Smith’s position.
Bogun works for IPSGA as an office administrator, and said he interacts with students daily. He also won Homecoming King in 2015. Kreager is a member of the student senate.
Beyond this year’s organized election events, both candidates use flyers in their campaigns. Bogun and Kreager both said they want their flyers to spur conversation with students about their platforms.
“The main thing is for people to notice you. I am trying to get my name out there,” Bogun said.
Bogun said he wants to connect the university’s departments together to promote and encourage growth on campus. He also expressed concern about students losing places to hang out due to ongoing construction.
Kreager said if he becomes president, he wants to be a voice for students among the potential recommended changes in the LSA report.
“I want to focus on the survey,” Kreager said. “I feel there has been no student input. I feel like getting student support might sway some of the things happening on campus.”