ASNMU presidential candidates answer campaign questions

Sam+Rush%2FNW

Sam Rush/NW

Justin Van't Hof

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. Presidential candidates Bethany Beavers and Zora Binert have answered questions below regarding their candidacy.

Beavers, junior biology and physiology major and Spanish minor, has been vice president during the 2020-2021 academic year, as well as the director of public relations during the Winter 2020 semester. She has also served as the vice president of the pre-medical club for the 2020-2021 academic year. If elected president, Beavers wants to bridge student organizations for the betterment of all parties and continue making civic engagement accessible for students and advocate for the health needs of all students.

Binert, sophomore nursing major and psychology minor, has been a part of ASNMU for four semesters, and it is her third as the director of external affairs. She also serves as the Woods representative and an ASNMU member in the Academic Senate. Binert is an RA in Cedar Hall and previously vice president of her house and hall government. If elected president, Binert would focus on diversity and inclusion, help students communicate their needs with administration and help them feel seen, safe and accepted. She also wants to focus on mental health and mental health resources. 

Beavers for president

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

BB: The issues I will focus on are advocating for student healthcare, by partnering with the grad students amidst their healthcare crisis and assessing the mental health resources on campus, and promoting equitable policy by expanding ASNMU’s network to more diverse groups, allowing for better representation. 

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

BB: I feel I am the best candidate for this position, as I’ve served as vice president for the last year, and have actively worked on increasing student connections, and listening to student need in the process. Because of this experience, I feel I am able to advocate for that need accordingly. 

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

 BB: My plan is to partner with several diversity organizations on campus, in order to diversify ASNMU representation so we can more accurately advocate for student needs, and create events and proposals that serve a wider student population.

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

BB:  Outside of ASNMU, I have served as vice president of the pre-medical club for the 2020-2021 school year, and as a pre-medical student myself, I have a good idea of what resources pre-professional students can utilize to better round off their university and pre-career experience, allowing me to serve these students well.

NW: What does student government mean to you? 

 BB: Student government, to me, is a way I can fight for the resources and representation students need when decisions that will affect them are made. ASNMU has provided me with a platform that I have used to make campus a more nondiscriminatory place, and I look forward to being able to continue these efforts in the future. 

NW: Who is one of your inspirations and why? 

BB: Emma Drever, the current president of ASNMU, is my biggest inspiration, and I hope to continue the advocacy on campus for which she’s worked so hard. She established a satellite office on campus to make civic engagement accessible to students, she wrote the proposal to get a wellness day for students, and she strives to see every point of view on issues to make representative, and equitable decisions. She has objectively made campus a better place for so many people, and I’d be honored to continue her legacy.

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

BB: I hope to improve mental health resources on campus, and increase the accessibility of these resources, as well as partner with the graduate students amidst their healthcare crisis. These are important improvements as every student deserves an accessible path to meeting health needs while pursuing their degrees. I also hope to create a more equitable campus through prioritizing collaboration with diversity groups, and representing these perspectives accordingly. 

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

BB: ASNMU representatives are given positions on faculty committees, in order to represent the student voice when widespread decisions are being made. If students have issues, they should be aware of ASNMU as a resource for expressing their opinions and needs. 

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

BB: I believe that the work I’ve done to prioritize connections with many different groups around campus sets my trajectory apart from the other candidates, and allows ASNMU to be more representative of a diverse student body. I value input, and thoroughly believe the president can only be the voice of the students if they are actively listening to them. 

NW: Where should students learn more about your campaign?

BB: 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?

BB: Students should vote for me to promote diversifying perspectives on ASNMU (representative of a diverse student body) and healthcare resources on campus. 

Binert for president

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

ZB: The first of two main issues that I would focus on if elected is mental health. Mental health is a huge player in everything else that happens around us and without good mental health care, we can’t be as productive as we have the potential to be. I want to help raise awareness within the NMU community about the resources that students need. I want to work with students to help figure out what would benefit them the most and how we can implement that throughout every possible avenue. What can we do better? Are there patterns and what are they? I want to help figure that out and create solutions. The next issue I would focus on is helping provide students a louder voice. I want to work more with student organizations and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to make sure that we are representing students with the most accuracy that we can. What do students want to see around campus? What do they need from us to make sure they are heard and seen? I want to meet with more students than what we have previously to represent everyone fairly and evenly. I want to make sure that ASNMU is able to advocate for everyone. 

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

ZB: I feel I am the best candidate for this position because I love connecting with students. I’m an RA so a lot of what I do on a daily basis is talk to people and build connections. I want to do this on a wider basis. I want to connect more students. It is something that I have a passion for. I am also not afraid to go against the grain and speak out when I feel something may not be fair to another person. Being in ASNMU means that we represent all students even if we do not necessarily see eye-to-eye and I am not afraid to do that. I want everyone to feel heard and I constantly run through every possible perspective that I can think of in my head about different scenarios. I feel I am able to do this position because of my passion for connecting people and because I am not afraid to speak out about injustices and fully advocate for students. 

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

ZB: Currently, I am already running through ways to boost involvement. ASNMU has struggled with membership in the past and it is not an uncommon thing in other student governments throughout the state. I want to strengthen the outreach that we currently have and spread that even farther. Go into house/hall government meetings, meet with more student organizations, get posters up, increase our social media activity and followings, and really advertise what exactly we do and the opportunities ASNMU can offer. 

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

ZB: I was appointed to ASNMU my freshman year and in my second semester here I was appointed as the director of external affairs. That position helped me make different connections with other universities, make connections with faculty and informed me about how the university kind of functions. I was also able to learn how to really find information about stuff that other universities have been successful with and what we have done in the past. Since I am a Resident Advisor on campus as well, I have connections outside of just academics. I get to see people outside of classes and student orgs even if they are not a close friend. It allows me to get a better understanding of what students want to see on campus because I am able to talk to so many students. 

NW: What does student government mean to you? 

ZB: Student government to me is not about just the organization itself. I believe that even if the org has a popular belief that we still need to talk about how other students see things. We are a direct line of communication for students and faculty and we help bridge the gap. Student government is about representing everyone and delivering that message in any way that we can. I don’t think that we should be held to a higher standard than any other student. I believe that it is more about what we can do for the student body than what the everyone in the organization wants. Student government is bigger than the members and we owe students transparency. 

NW: Who is one of your inspirations and why? 

ZB: I think one of my biggest inspirations is my great grandma. She was super quick witted and always spoke about what she believed in and was never afraid to say the unpopular thing to make sure she was standing up for herself and those around her. I strive to be like that. She taught me from a very young age that it is okay to speak up and that sometimes we have to speak up to open someone else’s eyes to something they might not be seeing. 

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

ZB: I think the biggest improvement that I could possibly make at NMU is making students feel more welcome, seen, heard, and safe. ASNMU runs a lot of projects like the career closet, the period project and the bike share program. All of these I think benefit students in multiple ways. We offer things to students that they may not be able to provide for themselves because of socioeconomic status. I want to work on doing more of these things within the NMU community to make students feel more included. 

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

ZB: I feel that students should be more aware of what goes on at an administration level. Without being directly involved in stuff, it can be kind of hard to know what conversations were held to make decisions which can give students the wrong idea about some things. I think giving students that transparency from what we see is important. 

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

ZB: I think I differ from the other candidates because I go out of my way to finish things. If I start something I don’t like to give that up. I’m super receptive to feedback and like to figure out how we can make things work so if we have to change something to make it more accessible then I am willing to do that. 

NW: Where should students learn more about your campaign? 

ZB: Students can learn more about my campaign on the Facebook page that Vice President Candidate Olivia Fuhrman and I created titled “Binert/Fuhrman for ASNMU President/VP,” @nmu_asnmu on Instagram, and by sending me an email [email protected]

NW: Why should students vote for you? 

ZB: Students should vote for me because I strive so greatly to represent the student body as accurately as we can. I want to connect students and hear students about the concerns they have about topics.