The Associated Students of the University of Nevada held their third round of debates on Tuesday, Feb. 26 in the Joe Crowley Student Union Theater. Two colleges were represented in the debate – College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources and the College of Community Health Sciences.
CABNR allotted two Senate positions for the following school year and currently has four candidates running for the position — Dawson Frost, Alexander Melchor, Cecilia Romero and current ASUN senator Cory Rogaczewski.
Candidates were asked how they plan to improve sustainability on campus. Romero said she hopes to create legislation to make the university a straw free campus and wants to promote better recycling habits. Candidates Frost and Mechlor agreed with Romero.
Rogaczewski said there are initiatives being done on campus to help promote sustainability such as the ASUN’s partnership with Regional Transportation Commission to promote a U-Pass program. The U-Pass program promotes the use of bus transportation, with cost potentially included in student fees.
Candidates were then asked how they will ensure underrepresented student populations to participate in university-run events.
Candidate Melchor said they will attempt at making NevadaFIT mandatory for all colleges on campus because it would be an opportunity to cater all clubs and organizations, especially those geared towards minorities. Frost said as a potential senator he needs to visit clubs and organizations geared towards minority students and hear their concerns to better address the communities not fully represented.
Romero said she felt as if she did not see her heritage represented at ASUN and the lack of representation encouraged her to run. She added if elected, she hopes to represent those in the Latinx community and encourage the Latinx community to run in upcoming elections.
Rogaczewski said through his experience he feels individuals who come from rural areas are underrepresented on campus and with the help of mentorship programs, students will have a smoother transition into college.
In rebuttal, Romero added ASUN has to do a better job at promoting resources related to affordability and accessibility, which includes scholarships and programs geared towards first-generation students.
Community Health Sciences
CHS allotted three seats for the following ASUN session and currently has three candidates running — John Donohue, Vanessa Komanduri and William Prempeh.
Candidates were asked about how they plan to better improve dining option on campus since the current dining hall contract is ending.
Donohue said when he lived in the dorms, the Downunder Cafe offered healthy options but he feel there needs to be a smaller selection of food to focus on quality over quantity. Prempeh agreed with Donohue and feels there needs to be prioity of quality over quantity. Komanduri agreed with both of her running mates.
When asked what they believe the biggest challenge facing CHS students Komanduri said there is a lack of communication between students and senators. Komanduri believes by establishing an advisory board there will be greater communication between students to the board and then to senators. Both Donohue and Prempeh agreed with what Komanduri said.
Candidates were then asked on health initiatives they plan to promote as senators. Prempeh said he would promote the use of the counseling center and bring awareness to mental health issues college students face. Donohue agreed with Prempeh and added that by promoting health and wellness workshops they can cater to mental and physical health issues.
Komanduri said she hopes to promote programs already on campus and classes offered at the E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center.
The fourth round the University of Nevada Senate debates took place in the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballrooms on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The College of Education, the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism and the College of business were represented.
College of Education
The College of Education allotted two Senate positions for the following session and currently has two candidates – Isaiah Davenport and current Senator Jennifer Rogers.
Davenport and Rogers were asked what the biggest challenge on campus is and how ASUN can address the issue. Davenport said there is a lack of racial representation on campus. He added the lack of representation has discouraged individuals wanting to attend the university but by holding more open forums, ASUN senators can prioritize equity over equality and provide equal opportunities for students of color.
Rogers said that lack of inclusion on campus has led to a normalization of prejudice and anti-semitism. By hosting more Town Halls, senators can better assess the issues brought by students. She added that if students answer the Speak Your Truth Campus Climate Survey senators can better address the issues brought by their constituents.
When asked how they plan to foster civic engagement in the College of Education, Davenport hopes to encourage his peers to look towards internship opportunities. By promoting internships, students in the college will finish the practicum portion of their degrees and will be engaged in bridging the gap between the university and the City of Reno.
Rogers promotes Give Pulse, the volunteering system used at the university, will bring awareness to the system and potentially encourage more students to volunteer.
Finally, candidates were asked on how they plan to increase outreach.
Davenport said by increasing the use of social media will encourage students to open and honest with comments and feedback. It would also encourage students to attend ASUN hosted events and Town Halls.
Rogers said she hopes to promote herself as a student goal orientated by listening in on student conversations she is always conducting outreach.
The Reynolds School of Journalism
The second round of debates consisted of The Reynolds School of Journalism allotted one Senate seat for the upcoming session and currently has two individuals running — Dominique Hall and Robert Quaintance.
Candidates were asked how ASUN can better reach out to students not involved in clubs and organizations.
Hall said with her experience in Journalism Student Council, she feels the best way to reach out to uninvolved students is to visit classes and encourage students to get involved. It would also serve a way for students to know who their senator(s) are.
Quaintance said the best way to have continuous outreach is to make promotional videos and display them on televisions around campus; as well as hold socials and events with free food. He added clubs and organizations need to target younger students.
In rebuttal, Hall said ASUN should focus on all students and by having an promotional email list clubs and organizations can send out mass emails to students. Quaintance responded saying that email is outdated and it would be beneficial showing 30-second clips instead.
Hall and Quaintance were then asked; what is the greatest challenge in free speech.
Quaintance said many students do not understand the consequences associated with social media and is a constant trend of individuals receiving backlash because of what they posted. Quaintance added ASUN can host workshops to host workshops to teach students of the consequences.
Hall said students don’t fully understand what freedom of speech means. Hall added that by promoting classes like Journalism 401: First Amendment and Society, students will have the option to learn their First Amendment rights and what it entails.
The College of Business
The College of Education allotted four seats for the following ASUN session and currently has four individuals running — Jakeyla Hall. Keegan Murphy, Cameron Veltre and Madalyn Watt. Hall was not present during the debate.
Candidates present were asked how they plan to maximize student opportunities once the gateway district expansion is finished. Murphy said the best way is to have a survey to ask students what they want to see after the expansion is complete.
Watt said the best way to benefit business students is to incorporate more local businesses after the expansion has taken place. It would increase job opportunities and reach ASUN’s goal for No Walls 2025.
Candidates were then asked what business initiatives they encourage the Wolf Shop to use in order to strengthen loyalty at the Wolf Shop.
Veltre and Watt said the Wolf Shop benefits more if there were more locations across campus and increase promotion of the locations. Watt added the shop should also include more products from local businesses and push for sustainability.
The final rounds of debate will feature presidential candidate Anthony Martinez and vice presidential candidate Nicole Falangas on Monday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballrooms.
Students who are not able to attend the debates can watch on Vimeo.
Andrew Mendez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush