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Student Senate presidential candidates face off

March 28, 2014

The Student Senate election will be held April 1-3, and presidential candidates Anthony Sumnicht and Nicholas Vanden Heuvel are both ready to work for a better campus for students.

Nicholas Vanden Heuvel, left, and Anthony Sumnicht, right, are the two presidential candidates for next year’s Student Senate.
Nicholas Vanden Heuvel, left, and Anthony Sumnicht, right, are the two presidential candidates for next year’s Student Senate. The Senate election will begin April 1, at 8 a.m., and end April 3, at 4 p.m. (Desi Danforth/Student Voice)

Sumnicht is the current vice president of Senate, but is running for president for next year since Sam Tauchen, the current president, will be graduating.

Sumnicht is also the current chair of UW Student Reps, a position that requires him to stay in contact with all UW-System campuses, which allows him to see what other issues or problems other campuses around Wisconsin are facing and then he can work toward avoiding or eliminating those same issues at UW-River Falls.

While candidates cannot run on the same ticket, they can campaign together. Sumnicht is working with Shelby Hehr, who is running for vice president, and Joseph Schmit, who is running for secretary.

The three students have developed a three-part platform that, if elected, they would work toward accomplishing in the next academic year.The first part of Sumnicht, Hehr and Schmit’s platform involves getting students more excited about UWRF and the surrounding community.

“We feel like there is a lack of Falcon pride on our campus, and we want to start addressing that,” Sumnicht said.

He also said there is a lack of connection between students and the city of River Falls, and the developing town and gown association will act as a bridge between the two entities.

The second part of Sumnicht, Hehr and Schmit’s platform is focusing on students in a holistic way, including the health and wellness aspect of being a college student.

Specifically, they want to ensure that all students, not just athletes or human health and performance students, will be able to use the Falcon Center without any extra costs.

The final part of their platform is focused on collaboration. Sumnicht said that detailed plans of this part of their platform include redesigning UWRF’s website to separate operation and recruitment functions, working with the Office of Enrollment and Student Success to improve enrollment and retention and working with students to create a better organized student body.

Vanden Heuvel, the second presidential candidate, is currently the ethics chair of Senate, so he has a lot of knowledge of governing documents and he also helped restructure the judicial section of the bylaws. He is campaigning with Stephen Middlemiss, who is running for vice president, and he said that their platform is simple.

“It’s just the students. We want to make sure the students are accurately represented,” Vanden Heuvel said.

He felt that while working on approving segregated fees this year, students were not being accurately represented. “We need to make sure that that is happening because we are a Senate made for the students,” Vanden Heuvel said.

Also, Vanden Heuvel said he wants to improve Senate’s social media presence past OrgSync. He said that most students are on Facebook and Twitter, so Senate should be reaching out via those outlets more often.

Vanden Heuvel also said that since he used to commute to UWRF, he knows what commuter students want, unlike other members of Senate who have never had that experience.

He said he would seek to improve enrollment and retention by focusing on marketing and letting people know about the opportunities available at UWRF as well as the quality of education available. Since Vanden Heuvel is from the eastern part of Wisconsin, his family members were not even aware that UWRF existed.

“While we are a great school for agriculture, we’re not well known for a lot of other things outside of that,” Vanden Heuvel said.

Both Sumnicht and Vanden Heuvel are campaigning mostly on Facebook.

The election will take place on OrgSync beginning at 8 a.m. on April 1, and it will end at 4 p.m. on April 3.