For the first time in four years, two student election groups will run for positions in the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska 2020-21 term. Envision, a party led by seasoned members of ASUN, remains confident in their ability to represent the student body despite the competition.
“[Another party running] definitely came as a surprise,” Roni Miller, a junior Spanish and political science double major and Envision’s presidential candidate, said. “However, I think we put together this campaign with the possibility of having a contested election.”
Drew Harrahill, a junior biochemistry major and Saisha Adhikari, a junior biology and psychology double major, are running for internal vice president and external vice president, respectively, and lead the Envision party along with Miller.
Thirty-three other students are running for various positions within ASUN with Envision. The campaign is based on five platform goals that Envision has for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln: improving mental health resources, creating dependable infrastructure, supporting inclusive excellence, highlighted transparency and sincere sustainability.
Envision would like to have more dispersed mental health services for students, such as in the residence halls, to improve mental health resources for students. Additionally, they’d like to focus on more preventative and outreach events such as the ongoing Green Bandana Project, and create a crisis team within Counseling and Psychological Services.
To help strengthen infrastructure, Envision looks to improve available transportation programs like 475-RIDE and explore other ride-sharing possibilities. They also want to increase student awareness of the bus system and how to use it, and they would like to hear many students’ opinions on the potential renovation for the Nebraska Union, a process that ASUN started last year.
If elected, they’d also reform the Husker Dialogues program, revisit health insurance requirements for international students, better support pregnant or parent students and explore options to make the Campus Recreation Center facilities and programs more inclusive to all gender identities.
“We have heard some complaints from constituents, especially from female and non-binary students, regarding a variety of campus recreation related areas of concern,” Miller said in a text. “From rules, such as point differences in intramural, to locker room and bathroom space.”
The group is also interested in building a closer relationship with the student advisory boards and developing a Student Code of Conduct navigation system to help increase transparency. If elected, they would also commit to keeping student fees below $1,000 per semester.
Another tenet of Envision is its commitment to sustainability and throwing zero waste events. They hope to lead by example and encourage other recognized student organizations to do the same. They also want to work with the university to reduce waste on campus, especially with the vendors in the Nebraska Union.
While the three Envision candidates are all established ASUN members and have at least a year of serving under their belts, Harrahill said that the rest of the party is a mix of both newcomers to student government and familiar faces.
All party members are passionate about improving life on campus according to Harrahill, and they also have members that represent different groups on campus, including multicultural organizations, international students and Greek life.
“We were very intentional about having some key returners come back to join our campaign,” Miller said. “However, we think that having some outsiders of ASUN who can better represent the student experience is also valuable.”
Despite the appearance of a competitor, Envision remains assured that they can bring the best campus environment to students and looks forward to interacting with the students.
“Drew, Saisha and I make a really great team,” Miller said. “And we have a stellar group of students running with the Envision campaign.”
All three candidates expressed that while they hope to win in March, having competition in the election will be exciting.
“In my opinion, [having competition] is healthy,” Adhikari said. “It shows that there’s different ideas across campus.”
Harrahill also said that their months of preparation and hard work on the campaign have prepared Envision for the election, and that they are confident in the people involved as well as their plan for campus.
“I think we have a good plan for the future, and an excellent plan for what we can do if we were in office,” Harrahill said.