Candidates discuss their vision at the OUSC presidential debate

By Ali DeRees

Bria Ellis, Annie Meinberg and Andre Mitchell, all presidential candidates for the Oakland University Student Congress, debated on Wednesday, March 19 in the Oakland Center. Each candidate is seeking election for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Voting for the new Student Body President began on Monday, March 24 at midnight and will end tonight at 11:59 p.m.

Ellis is running with OUSC Legislator Andrew Laux, Meinberg is running with Legislator Liz Iwanski, and Mitchell is running with RHA member Kate Bergel.

Communication professor Christine Stover moderated the debate and asked the candidates a series of questions provided by an election committee.

If elected both Meinberg and Ellis said they want to focus on developing and passing new initiatives, while Mitchell said he wants to create what he calls “OU livelihood.”

The candidates began with expressing what they believe the duties of the student body president are.

“OUSC is the voice of the students,” Mitchell said.

“We are here for you,” Meinberg said. “I can see great change for OU as a whole.”

“You have to be able to set goals,” Ellis said.

Each candidate expressed great interest in making connections with the university’s administration.

Both Meinberg and Ellis currently serve as legislators on the OUSC and have worked with administrators through that and other roles.

Mitchell, who served as a legislator in the 2012-2013 academic year, said that it would be his job to “show administration what students need.”

The candidates were asked how they would lead and what they want to see from their executive board.

“We want our executive board to go above and beyond,” Meinberg said.

Ellis said she would focus on the individual needs of the executive board members and “what individuals want to accomplish.”

She also said that student congress could do more when it comes to administration and lawmakers, to get what they need for students.

“We can push the envelope a little bit more,” Ellis said.

Mitchell said he saw the need to create a well-working board, as well to think big.

“Hire people that you’ll work well with,” Mitchell said. “How big can we make this, how impactful can we make this?”

All candidates said that this position would receive their full attention and that they would not be working at any other place of employment while president.

The three also discussed which programs they would like to see continued and what programs they would implement if elected.

Ellis said she would like to continue the free scantron program, involvement in the Bear Bus program and the RideShare program.

Mitchell expressed a desire to have the OUSC and RHA maintain a strong relationship, saying that housing plays a large role in the campus community.

Meinberg said she wants to create an environmental awareness program and “get an environmental manager on staff.”

The candidates made closing remarks in which they briefly described their platform and what they want to see for Oakland University.

Ellis said if elected president, she would try to make it so “people feel included” and that “coming to OU is something they’re excited about.”

Meinberg said that she is very excited about the opportunity overall, saying that it is the students that make a better OU.

Mitchell summed up his plans, if elected, with this analogy:

“Watering the flowers of what we have today and planting the seeds for tomorrow.”

Students can vote at oakland.edu/voteou or at polling stations in Kresge Library, the Campus Recreation Center, the Oakland Center, and Vandenberg Hall from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Here is a more thorough look at each team and what they plan to bring to the table if they are voted as the next Student Congress President.

Bria Ellis, Annie Meinberg and Andre Mitchell, all presidential candidates for the Oakland University Student Congress, debated on Wednesday, March 19 in the Oakland Center. Each candidate is seeking election for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Ellis is running with fellow OUSC legislator Andrew Laux, Meinberg is running with fellow legislator Liz Iwanski, and Mitchell is running with long time friend and RHA member Kate Bergel.

Communication professor Christine Stover moderated the debate and asked the candidates a series of questions provided by an election committee.

If elected both Meinberg and Ellis say they want to focus on developing and passing new initiatives, while Mitchell says he wants to create what he calls “OU livelihood.”

The candidates began with expressing what they believe the duties of the student body president are.

“OUSC is the voice of the students,” Mitchell said.

“We are here for you,” Meinberg said. “I can see great change for OU as a whole.”

“You have to be able to set goals,” Ellis said.

Each candidate expressed great interest in and a need for making connections with the university’s administration.

Both Meinberg and Ellis currently serve as legislators on OUSC and have worked with administrators through student congress and other roles such as orientation leaders.

Mitchell, who served as a legislator in the 2012-2013 academic year, said that it would be his job to “show administration what students need.”

The three were asked how they would lead and what they want to see from their executive board.

“We want our executive board to go above and beyond,” Meinberg said.

Ellis said she would focus on the individual needs of the executive board members and “what individuals want to accomplish.”

She also said that student congress could do more when it comes to administration and lawmakers, to get what they need for students.

“We can push the envelope a little bit more,” Ellis said.

Mitchell said he saw the need to create a well-working board, as well as thinking big.

“Hire people that you’ll work well with,” Mitchell said. “How big can we make this, how impactful can we make this?”

All candidates said that this position would receive their full attention and that they would not be working at any other place of employment.

The three also discussed which programs at Oakland they would like to see continued and what programs they would implement if elected.

Ellis said she would like to continue the free scantron program, involvement in the Bear Bus program and the RideShare program.

Mitchell expressed a strong desire to have OUSC and RHA maintain a strong relationship, saying that housing plays a large role in the campus community.

Meinberg said she wants to create an environmental awareness program and “get an environmental manager on staff.”

The candidates made closing remarks in which they briefly described their platform and what they want to see for Oakland University.

Ellis said if elected president, she would try to make it so “people feel included” and that “coming to OU is something they’re excited about.”

Meinberg said that she is very excited about the opportunity overall, saying that it is the students that make a better OU.

Mitchell summed up his plans, if elected, with this analogy:

“Watering the flowers of what we have today and planting the seeds for tomorrow.”

Voting begins Monday, March 24 at midnight and ends Wednesday, March 26 at 11:59 p.m.

Students can vote at oakland.edu/voteou or at polling stations in Kresge Library, the Campus Recreation Center, the Oakland Center, and Vandenberg Hall from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Contact Staff Reporter Ali DeRees at [email protected]