The words stability and change are rarely associated with each other. After the results of this year’s Whitewater Student Government (WSG) election, however, the terms go hand-in-hand.
The continuity and stability comes in the re-election of incumbent candidate Tom Kind. The current student body president defeated challenger Pasan Samaranayake in the presidential election by a vote of 341 to 240.
A change will come next year as junior Zoe Miller will serve as Kind’s vice president.
“There’s going to be a lot of appointing in the next few weeks and months,” Kind said.
Some of these appointments will be to various categories such as SUFAC, strategic enrollment planning, restructuring and other working groups.
“It’s really about recognizing where we need to be and preparing ourselves to be there,” Kind said. “We are going to be figuring out what those working groups will look like and who can best serve those groups. I want to be sure that those students appointed are prepared and in the best position possible.”
Kind said he is eager for the opportunity to work with Miller.
“She is going to bring relationships that I may not have, such as in greek life. She has been a part of greek life since she was brand new here at the university, and she has those business relationships and capabilities,” Kind said. “I have full confidence in her, and I am very excited.”
The pair is ready for next year and is already preparing for what is to come.
Pair of Referendums to bring proactive change
The election ballot also featured two referendums, which both passed with minor objections. The first referendum updated the WSG constitution for the first time in ten years. The referendum also included a clause requiring a full review of the constitution every two years in order to keep the document current.
“We want to make sure that we are reaching all of the identities on campus and that the language in our constitution is up to date and current,” Kind said.
The other referendum that passed gives the University of Wisconsin – Rock County campus representation on WSG. Starting this fall, there will be two seats on WSG called the Rock County District and will be reserved for students at UW-Rock County. These students are also eligible to run for at-large senator seats, which allows for up to seven reps total from the Rock County District.
These students will be part of the meetings in a video conference from a room at the UW-Rock County campus and will be joined by the president and vice president of the institution in this room. Students at the university are encouraged to attend these conference meetings. Kind and Miller will attend the Rock County meetings in a similar manner.
“We will be the president and vice president of both campuses,” Kind said of the relationship between the universities.
He also said that he is ready to be a presence for all students involved in the restructuring.
“We are one campus and one student body. Maybe that means I need to be on their campus once a week, whether that’s in person or virtually,” he said.
While the restructuring involves many questions, Kind said he has full faith that it will all work out and that both campuses will be accurately represented.
“I know that our relationship will go very well. We want the best possible outcome for this restructuring. We are going to learn how we can best work together to give their students the same opportunities that we have here,” said Kind. “There are obviously still things to sort out, but we know that it will be a good result and these changes will benefit both campuses.”
While next year’s President and Vice President have yet to be announced for the UW-Rock County campus, Kind is already working towards the next step. The current president of UW-Rock County will attend this week’s gala with Kind to meet Chancellor Kopper and other members of the university.
Although the election brought stability and change, President Kind and Vice President Miller seem prepared for what is to come next. With more changes sure to come in the next year, the pair will be the voices for both UW-Whitewater and UW-Rock County.