Guest opinion: Vote Empower Iowa 



UISG City Liaison Ben Nelson and Senator Nate Robinson look on as a video introducing the Empower Iowa ticket for UISG elections is played at the BoJames bar in Iowa City on Sunday, March 18, 2018. The Empower Iowa ticket features Nelson as presidential candidate and Robinson as vice-president. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

 Empower Iowa emphasizes advocating with students, and believes it can take on the challenge of leading the student body.

To the students:

The University of Iowa Student Government exists to advocate on behalf of students — advocate to faculty, administration, the Iowa City community, and every level of government. For the past three years, we believe it has done a good job. But imagine if, instead of advocating for students, UISG began advocating with students? This is the central question that Empower Iowa seeks to answer.

When we first set out, we needed to ensure that our team was representative of our ideals: compassion for the student experience, a diversity of thought and background, and a proven track record of advocacy. From leading rallies that support our community’s most vulnerable to advising University officials on what next steps are best, Empower Iowa is a collection of leaders who have come together to advocate with you.

You and every one of your 24,475 undergraduate peers have a unique story, a unique circumstance. As such, empowerment will manifest itself in 24,475 unique ways. A tall task, certainly, but with more that 30 years of collective experience in UISG and involvements in over 60 student organizations, our team is equipped to tackle the challenge. By listening to your stories, your struggles, and your successes, we have developed a platform that will solidify the foundation of the student experience. A healthy mind is required to succeed, and we emphasize a universal absence policy and an expansion to University Counseling Services; a safe home is required to feel comfortable and we’ll advocate for landlord accountability; and affordability is necessary as it is fundamentally linked to being a student, this is why we will push to keep tuition predictable for students on a budget, advocate for housing policies that lower the cost of rent, and implement innovative methods of controlling the price of textbooks.

This election is not about Empower Iowa or any other ticket running. This election is about you and the vision you have for your university. As you consider every candidate and every ticket over these next several days, consider who has consistently lifted up students and who will continue to empower students to be their own best advocates.

The answer is clear; the answer is Empower Iowa.

— Benjamin Nelson, Nate Robinson, and the Empower Iowa team

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