The Daily Iowan

UISG candidates begin campaigning

ANNA THEODOSIS

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University of Iowa Student Government candidates launched their campaigns Monday, unfolding plans to reward student engagement and improve access to certain academic tools.

Each party has laid out promises in a three-pillar platform.

I Party officials say "Inform, Improve, Impact" is their way to engage students academically, on campus, and off campus.

"Our real big focus is what can we identify to improve the everyday experience for students," said I Party presidential candidate Nic Pottebaum. "We really just want to ensure that we’re facilitating being a liaison between students and [UI officials]. I think we can do a better job of facilitating that."

I Party officials said they plan to put past course syllabi online for students to view while registering.

"College of Business [students] can look up the syllabi from the past classes, and it gives students more information than just one paragraph on ISIS," said I-Party vice-presidential candidate Jessie Tobin. "We want to bring that to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering."

UI Registrar Larry Lockwood said putting past syllabi online is useful, though it may be difficult getting professors on board.

"Sure it would be [beneficial]," he said. "I think opening the lines of communication is a good thing. [But] some of the faculty are concerned about losing their intellectual property."

The # (Hashtag) Party said its plans are more specific, with the linchpins of the campaign being student engagement, safety, and sustainability.

"The unique thing that we’re doing is this thing called student-engagement pillars," said # Party presidential candidate Sunny Kothari. "We want to make sure that we’re devoting more time in issues that directly go back to the students."

Kothari said the party is hoping to reward students who are highly involved in campus activities with "Engage Scholarships."

"There are a ton of scholarships based on GPA and need but not on engagement," he said. "We want to start a series of $1,000 scholarships that say, ‘Hey look, these students are putting [effort] into the university.’"

Mark Warner, the director of UI Student Financial Aid, said he thinks the scholarship is a positive thing.

"I think that it would be a very good idea," he said. "Student success is extremely important, and we think student engagement is very important. It would provide an opportunity for a different type of scholarship."

Kothari said the additional funds for the scholarship are still being decided.

I Party officials also want to create an I-clicker rental system.

"We think it’d be really feasible to buy a bunch of [clickers] and rent them out to students so they don’t have to pay $40 to $50," said Tobin.

Nick Rolston, # Party vice-presidential candidate, said he wants his party to run a more student-involved government with public forums and social media contacts.

"People have been giving us ideas on our Facebook wall about what can be improved, and that’s what we want," Kothari said. "We want to hear about the issues from the students."

Pottebaum said all of his party’s platform planks have been "greenlighted" by UI officials, because they began work last December. Kothari said the # Party is still in talks with UI officials for several of their plans.

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