ASNMU vice presidential candidates answer campaign questions

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Sam Rush/NW

Peter Smedley

Online voting for the ASNMU elections begins April 5 at 8 a.m. and will conclude on April 7 at 5 p.m. Students can vote online through a platform that will be sent out to everyone in an email on Monday, April 5. Vice presidential candidates Olivia Fuhrman and Thomas Kettler have answered questions below regarding their candidacy.

Olivia Fuhrman is a junior speech, language and hearing sciences major. As current chair of academic affairs in ASNMU and secretary of Women for Women, Fuhrman aims to fix issues that NMU has in order to develop a better university for everyone. 

Thomas Kettler is a junior history and political science major. As the ASNMU Quad II representative for two years, on-campus representative and chair of student affairs, Kettler hopes to continue initiatives that advocate for the student body and construct a more well represented student body.

Fuhrman for vice president

NW: What issues would you focus on if elected to the vice president position? 

OF: I would work with the assembly and the rest of the executive board to really focus on diversity on campus. Every student should feel safe on campus no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation or religion and I feel like NMU as a whole has been lacking in certain areas. I would also want to focus on making mental health resources more readily available to students. We have the Counseling Center on campus but that is only a short term counseling center and it tends to have a waitlist. I would work with all of ASNMU and faculty to find better resources for our students.

NW: Why do you feel you are the best candidate for this position? 

OF: I believe that I am well suited for vice president mostly because of my drive. When I set my mind to something I will do whatever is needed to reach that goal. That is important in ASNMU because if people are not pushing themselves then nothing gets done. I am currently the chair of academic affairs for ASNMU. For the most part, I know how ASNMU runs and I have contacts with faculty all over the university, which will be an asset when we are working on projects or policies. I am also an RA in Magers Hall, which highlights my ability to listen to others, reach out to different people and step out of my comfort zone. 

NW: What will you do to increase student involvement with ASNMU?  

OF: I think advertising is such an important way to get more students involved; putting up posters and getting our name out there on campus. The other idea my running mate, Zora Binert, and I have been thinking about is having a presentation that assembly members can give to their class, or introduction level classes to make sure that students know we are here and that we want more people to join.

NW: What prior experiences have you had at NMU that you will utilize in your position?  

OF: I think my experience as chair of academic affairs has really shaped me and prepared me to take on a bigger role as vice president. I have firsthand written policies and led projects in ASNMU. I know how ASNMU works, for the most part, and I will take the knowledge from that and I will apply it to being vice president. As chair I have also had to learn how to ask others for help, which is something no one likes to do, but it taught me how to put myself in an uncomfortable position and how to strive while there. Meeting with faculty and administration is not always comfortable and sometimes you have to take the unpopular opinion and you have to be confident in doing it.

NW: What does student government mean to you?

OF: Student government, to me, means having a voice with faculty and administration. We get to be the voice of the student, we hear what they say and what their complaints are, but unlike most students we get to work with faculty and try to find a solution that can make as many people as happy as possible. 

NW: Who is one of your inspirations and why? 

OF: One of my inspirations is my grandmother, she was an immigrant from Scotland and moved to a new country where she knew no one because she wanted to marry my grandfather. My grandma worked so hard her entire life to make sure that everyone around her had an amazing life and never asked for anything in return. She raised four children and nine grandchildren and is one of the strongest women I have ever met. I hope that one day I can have a quarter of the strength she had.

NW: What improvements do you hope to make at NMU? 

OF: I hope we can make NMU a better campus in general. Even if a project we do is small and may seem unimportant, such as the grad closet or the period project, it makes NMU a more inclusive campus to people who have lower socioeconomic statuses. I would love to be able to make huge improvements to campus, but I also know those things take time. If I can make one group of people feel more welcome at NMU I will feel as if I have done a successful job as vice president.

NW: What is one issue that you feel students should be more aware of? 

OF: I think students need to be more aware of the resources we have on campus through ASNMU and other on campus organizations. I think it is really easy to get angry over a situation, but students need to realize that they have people who are here to back them up and support them. There are so many clubs and organizations on campus that represent so many different types of people. Students may be able to find their comfort space in one of those clubs.

NW: How will you differ from the other candidates running?  

OF: I think one of the things that sets me apart from the other candidates is my drive. If I set my mind to something, no matter what obstacles get thrown at me I will do whatever is necessary to finish the job. Another thing that is unique about myself is my ability to actively listen, when people talk I make sure to take in every detail they say before responding to them.

NW: Where should students learn more about your campaign?  

OF: Students can learn more on our facebook page Binert/Fuhrman for ASNMU president/V.P., or going on any of the ASNMU social media pages to hear my responses to other questions.

NW: Why should students vote for you?

OF: Students should vote for me so that I can represent them. I want to truly hear what issues are impacting students and I want to work with them to make NMU better and to benefit them.

Kettler for vice president

NW: What issues would you focus on if elected to the vice president position? 

TK: The issues I will focus on involve creating equitable policy by connecting ASNMU with more student groups on campus. With these connections in place we will be able to make programs, such as the period project or graduation closet, that can meet student needs.

NW: Why do you feel you are the best candidate for this position? 

TK: I think I am the best candidate for this position because of my achievements within the student government, such as recreating the graduation closet, assisting in the period project and assisting in the voter registration drives with the voter friendly campus committee. I am incredibly social and a good listener, so I am ready to step up and help solve problems that face our campus. 

NW: What will you do to increase student involvement with ASNMU? 

TK: As vice president I will appoint new members to ASNMU that represent the NMU community as a whole. When we achieve this diverse representation in the assembly, I believe there will be more student involvement because membership will be widespread across the university. Representation will not be clustered into a small fraction of the student population.

NW: What prior experiences have you had at NMU that you will utilize in your position? 

TK: I have been a leader in Van Antwerp Hall, serving as house president for American Graffiti. In this position I brought people together in our house, and helped plan events that people wanted to attend. I have also been elected into ASNMU for the past two years, where I have worked on multiple projects and have had to collaborate with students and faculty. As vice president I will be able to continue this collaboration, and help other members in ASNMU form connections.

NW: What does student government mean to you? 

TK: I see the student government as a way of helping students. When students reached out to us, dissatisfied about the lack of spring break, we wrote up a document to give us wellness days. When we noticed buying graduation gowns was a barrier for some students to walk at graduation, the student government bought robes and rented them out for free, so that everyone could have the chance to celebrate their graduation.

NW: Who is one of your inspirations and why? 

TK: One of my inspirations is former American President Gerald Ford because he had the integrity to do what was right even when it was an unpopular decision, such as signing the Helsinki Accords, or pardoning Richard Nixon.

NW: What improvements do you hope to make at NMU? 

TK: I want to create a more equitable campus here at NMU. This can be achieved by working with student organizations to make events or projects that can benefit the students here at NMU. We already have some programs put in place, such as the career closet and the period project, so it would not be difficult to do more for the student body.

NW: What is one issue that you feel students should be more aware of? 

TK: We have the funding to create programs for student needs, we just need students to reach out to us and ask for it. ASNMU has passed very little budgets in the past year, and I think it would be best if we spent our budget helping students at NMU, rather than remaining untapped. 

NW: How will you differ from the other candidates running? 

TK: I am the most long standing member of the student government running this election cycle. I know how we have operated in the past, enabling me to strategize more effectively today. I am also incredibly social, a good listener and I am ready to dedicate myself to help solve the problems that face our student body today.

NW: Where should students learn more about your campaign?

TK: Students can learn more about my campaign by checking out the Facebook page Beavers and Kettler for President and Vice President, or the instagram handle beaverskettlerfornmu. If students are looking for more information, they can contact me at [email protected]

NW: Why should students vote for you?

TK: I believe students should vote for me because I have the qualifications, dedication and passion to fight for the student body.