Senate elections underway

Student Senate recently announced the candidates for the upcoming student body election. Notably, three candidates look to campaign for Student Body President for the 2021-2022 academic year.


Shree Pandey, Jolie Foor and Sam Miller are campaigning on a variety of platforms until Student Senate election ballots open on April 28 from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.. Votes will be counted and results are also expected to be announced April 28.


Computer Science and math double major, with a minor in business administration Pandey is a current At-Large Senator and Nepal native seeking to improve diversity and inclusion, retention focus, transparent communication and moving forward from the pandemic.


“I think I see that campus community as a whole, as one community and as one thing. Just having that idea just helps me when I’m making a decision, when senators are passing legislation,” Pandey said.


Pandey has been involved in Fraternity and Sorority Life, the campus administration office and the president of Valparaiso International Student Association (VISA). While on Student Senate, he has worked to approve new student organizations and held a seat on the diversity and inclusion committee. 


By increasing Valpo’s student retention, Pandey hopes to create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. He seeks to advocate for students from not only the United States, but the over 25 different countries students represent.


“We are at a phase where we respect the differences, we bond with the difference, we listen to other ideologies and grow out of it,” Pandey said.


The pandemic put a strain on not only communication methods, but financially affected the university. Funds were reallocated, putting faculty and staff at risk of furlough. Part of Pandey’s platform is moving past the repercussions of COVID-19 and getting Valpo to reallocate its funds.


“That’s what I’m trying to look at as well, what are the things that are lacking because of the pandemic and try to work together with administration and faculty to implement new changes and appoint new staff to be able to further help and assist students to perform at their best,” Pandey said.


Similarly, current Vice President Jolie Foor is campaigning for accessibility on campus, diversity and inclusion and communication transparency.


Foor is a marketing major with a minor in economics. Her accessibility includes implementing the American Disabilities Act (ADA) for all campus buildings, allowing students to attend classes regardless of their abilities.


“Along with accessibility, I also want to encourage the university and university organizations to add subtitles to all their videos and also image descriptions to all their posts. I think that’s really important to inclusion of all types of students on campus,” Foor said.


Foor will continue with the live streaming of town halls and looks to invest in more proper streaming equipment. This, along with keeping more personal outreaches, are the communication methods she will focus on to improve university transparency.


“This past year, Student Senate has worked closely with different organizations and the Office of Multicultural Programs (OMP). Specifically, we’ve been working with the Black Student Organization (BSO) and that’s a relationship that I definitely want to continue next year,” Foor said.


Beginning as a Freshman Senator, Foor has held numerous positions in Student Senate and has served on a variety of committees, including the student media committee and finance committee.


“That’s the point of Student Senate, to come together with all our ideas and iron it out into one simple solution that impacts everyone,” Foor said.


Political science major and history minor Miller looks to add a new perspective with his presidential campaign. Miller hasn’t held a position on Student Senate thus far, but views this as an advantage and looks to provide the organization with new ideas.


“I want to be an every man or woman candidate. I’m just a regular guy that wants to do something good for his community and think that has been something that’s missing in all walks of life,” Miller said.


Miller’s platform is based on missed opportunities from Student Senate. He will focus on financial allocation for student organizations as well.


“One thing that I know that I don’t believe has been utilized as much by previous Presidents, is the influence that the Student Senate President can have on administration. I feel like as President, I would want to be more focused on pushing administration to put money in different places I feel have been neglected,” Miller said.


Connections to students and the campus community is where Miller viewers the most room for change. He would like members of Student Senate to understand the wants and needs of the students they represent.


“If the students want something done, the Student Senate should do that thing. The current Student Senate, I feel, is not as out in the community as it could be. Having more outreach and having more people in the Student Senate talk to their constituents and learn what they want can really change things,” Miller said.


The Student Body President will assume their role in the 2021-2022 academic year alongside Ben Jacobs, who’s running unopposed as Vice President.


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