ASUN election

The ASUN executive team candidates from Amplify, Speaker Hunter Traynor (middle), Sen. Emily Johnson and Sen. Jeffrey Owusu-Ansah stand for a portrait on Feb. 12, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Amplify is the first and only party to begin campaigning for the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska election in March.

ASUN senator and speaker of the senate Hunter Traynor is the presidential candidate for Amplify, while Sen. Emily Johnson is the internal vice president candidate. Sen. Jeffrey Owusu-Ansah is the external vice president candidate.

Traynor, a junior political science major, said Amplify has four “big picture” ideas it will work on to build policies from. He said the ideas are campus climate, student wellness, financial stewardship and community building.

When referencing campus climate, Traynor mentioned the situation with Daniel Kleve, a UNL junior and self-proclaimed white nationalist.

“We stand resolutely in our commitment to denouncing these ideas and using our platform to expose said ideas for what they are, which is nonsense,” he said.

Traynor said although the first item on Amplify’s agenda is based on the philosophy of freedom of expression, not all expression is without consequences.

Johnson spoke on the topic of student wellness,emphasizing the importance of having mental health help available for students. She referenced the recent student fee allocation of $7,160,477to the University Health Center and said Amplify will work to see those student fees used efficiently.

Johnson said Amplify will seek to improve emergency procedures and students’ physical health.

“We want to work more too on student wellness physically — that’s something we’ve talked about a lot,” she said. “Not just in regards to mental health, but handling stress and helping students have healthy outlets to deal with [stress].”

For the third big picture idea, Owusu-Ansah said impending university budget cuts will affect how ASUN runs. He said Amplify will try to keep student fees low by looking at how every dollar is used.  

Owusu-Ansah said Amplify wants to increase transparency and continue ASUN’s open source educational resources, which include textbooks.

In regard to the last idea, Traynor said Nebraska is a special place that places emphasis on community. Traynor said the Amplify party includes people with different backgrounds and competing opinions and beliefs, but the team is unified in its commitment to make UNL a better campus for everyone.

Traynor said there is a strong divide between domestic and international students and he wants to bridge that gap. Traynor said he wants to promote an environment for both types of students to work together and learn from each other.

Traynor first became involved in ASUN in 2015, participating in the Freshman Campus Leadership Associates. During his sophomore year, he served as co-director of FCLA, an experience he said gave him a vision of how ASUN works.

Over the past year, Traynor said he has enjoyed his role as speaker of the senate.

“It’s given me, I think, a pretty firm understanding of the structure of ASUN and the importance of the legislative process,” he said.

Johnson, a sophomore political science and Spanish double major, was also a member of FCLA during her freshman year. She said she gained first-hand experience in senate, which prompted her to run to become a senator from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Sophomore business administration major Owusu-Ansah serves in ASUN as senator for the College of Business Administration and chair for the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. Owusu-Ansah said Johnson and Traynor approached him in November with the opportunity to run alongside them for executive positions.

Owusu-Ansah said although the three have diverse backgrounds of responsibilities in ASUN, they work well together.

“On the point of where our diverse backgrounds within ASUN help, is being able to see things from multiple perspectives,” he said. “There’s a lot of issues that I may look at a certain way, but [Traynor] and [Johnson] may look at a different way. I think being able to do that is going to be one of our strengths.”

Traynor said from the start, Johnson and Owusu-Ansah identified themselves as a solid group of individuals who would work well as a team.

Johnson said although Amplify is running unopposed, the team is dedicated to talking to students and taking their issues to heart.

Overall, Traynor said Amplify will work to interact with and listen to students as much as possible.  

“I think that ASUN has an incredible amount of potential as a vehicle for students to make an impact on their campus,” he said. “I think the largest goal I have, and this is as big picture as it gets. And what has really prompted me into pursuing this is like I said: making ASUN a more impactful resource for students on campus.”