Candidate Elishama Kanu

Candidate Elishama Kanu

In what ways do you think USG could use better PR? 

“I think our student body is exceptionally passionate about change and improvement and gifted with analytical and problem-solving skills. However, I do not think USG is always effectively promoted as a tool to help students enact proper change.

We could be better engaged with student opinion by increasing our availability to the students. An idea I have is to station comment boards at popular locations like the Tinkham Veale University Center (TVUC), Sears or Kelvin Smith Library (KSL), where students can write any opinion they have. There could be a “theme” for the week (meal plan, advising, class scheduling, etc.) to help guide discussions. This way we can stay relevant on current issues and opinions the student body has, so we know when to address something before it becomes a larger problem later on. This allows us to maintain a proactive stance on student issues.

I am very much in favor of a more interactive database. College students are very busy and often do not have the time to look for the proper website or attend General Assembly (GA) meetings. They often just need a place to quickly get a topic off their minds. In that vein, we could implement an interactive bulletin board, in addition to our weekly newsletter, to publicize accomplishments of the week or current projects our representatives are undertaking. I would love to see a “Follow Up” section, in which we post updates on an issue a student brought up on the comment board, so students know we are responsive and proactive. Additionally, the TV screen in the lobby of the TVUC would be a great resource to utilize.

I am extremely passionate about ensuring that we are effectively reaching all groups and communities, so they know they are represented as well. It would be a great idea to critically review the demographics of responders to our surveys and other feedback we collect. Do we seem to only be reaching the same audience? Are some groups less represented? Are we effectively reaching international students, transfer students, or commuter students? I want all communities to know that their voice is heard, and that they matter in the goings-on of student government.”

Are USG events well-attended, in your opinion?

“Our turn-out for events like the Sparty, aimed at first year students, Feedback Friday, and Midterm Study Break, is favorable. These events work well because they are stationed by student areas. Our Thwing Study Over and Springfest booths are a little harder, only because there are also other booths and events students are frequenting, but we still have many students stopping by. And, more importantly, we are increasing our visibility, and getting our name out there. The reason all of these work well is because they are in student-heavy areas. Feedback Fridays is right outside the Grab-It line, where there is significant traffic, and Midterm Study Break is in the KSL during prime study times. In each of these scenarios, we are going out to meet the students right where they are.

As for internal events, like GA meetings and committee meetings, we do have good attendance from our representatives, partly because of our attendance policy, but also because our representatives are passionate about the work they do. We enjoy coming together, sharing about our work, and brainstorming solutions. Less “mandatory” events typically fall under the duties of the Internal Development Chair, but there can always be collaboration with the Vice President of Public Relations (PR). PR can also be utilized to communicate internal issues and the updates of other committees to each other. This helps increase communication and transparency internally as well.

Attendance of non-representatives at GA is low, which is understandable. The meetings tend to run long, and not every student has time for extra meetings. It would be exciting, though, if we could garner enough interest in the student body on current USG projects or about specific issues, so students would want to sit in on meetings to follow up on these issues and see how they are being handled.”

What do you plan on doing to increase attendance at USG events and general assembly meetings?

“External events work well because we are going out to meet students where they are and taking advantage of student-heavy areas. We could go even further with this: hosting interactive workshops during Community Hour, going out to the dining halls, putting up stations in the Thwing atrium in-between class breaks, etc.

As for internal events like GA meetings, the more we effectively increase our visibility, we will be able to garner more interest. If students can visually see our presence and can have visual signs of our accomplishments, it will greatly improve our relationship with the student boy. They can start to see us as a resource to follow-up on key issues.

Additionally, we could definitely focus on reaching out to incoming students by making it known that even without running for an elected position, one can still stay involved. They can attend meetings, read newsletters, interact with the representatives, or be at-large members with their own initiatives. This way we can foster a new generation of involved students.”