Four candidates running for three cabinet positions in senate elections

Photo by Ryan Struyk
Photo by Ryan Struyk

UPDATE (Friday at 12:57 a.m.): This page previously included the candidacy of Andrew Harris, who withdrew from the race Thursday night. There are now three candidates for three cabinet positions.

Four candidates will be vying for three cabinet positions on student senate this week, marking the only race in the 2013 election in which voters will not be able to vote for all the candidates running for the position.

A third cabinet position was added to senate earlier this spring, creating the three positions: vice president of public relations, vice president of representation and vice president of operations.

Two of the four candidates have prior senate experience. Jerry Grieser and Ansley Kelly were selected as freshmen senators this year and are hoping to move up the ranks. The other candidates, Andrew Harris and Connor Schmidt, have not held a position on senate before, but hope to be elected at the cabinet level.

All the candidates except Grieser are running only for the cabinet position, meaning that if they are not elected to a cabinet post, they will not be on senate next year. But since Grieser is running for both cabinet and senator, if Grieser is not selected as a cabinet member, he will be eligible to serve as a senator.

Keep reading for a short biography on each of the four cabinet candidates.

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Jerry Grieser is a public health major from Clarksville, Mich. He served this year as a freshman senator, and is now running for both cabinet and senate. After Calvin, he wants to be involved in healthcare or hospital administration.

“I love the opportunities that Calvin provides for its students,” Grieser says. “I would really love to see Calvin keep making the students their focus and keep investing in things that enrich the students’ lives.”

Grieser has a students-first approach to student senate, and wants to greatly improve communication. “I want to make senate very transparent about what we are doing and communicate directly with students,” he says.

Many students who don’t actively follow student senate aren’t aware of their projects, and Grieser wants to change that. “I will launch an initiative within senate where senators will go to Johnny’s or the dorms or other high traffic areas and talk to students about what senate is doing, get student perspectives and opinions, and find out what changes students would really like to see around campus.”

Grieser also has ideas for new projects for next year. “I am planning on finding a designated area that can be open 24/7 for studying,” he says.

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Ansley Kelly, from Edinboro, Penn., is majoring in literature with an interest in organizational leadership. She was selected as a freshman senator this year, and hopes to return as a cabinet member.

Kelly’s vision for student senate is “to see it be an organization that students get excited about working with.” She hopes students would see senate as a place “where they can take ideas and those ideas will happen.”

“I think that the picnic tables that were recently installed are a perfect example of the kind of disconnect that students would like to see addressed,” Kelly says, hoping for better communication in the future. “I want to see a senate that is intentional about connecting with students.”

“We talk about being the bridge between the student body and administration,” Kelly says, “but I think we need to work on being a bridge to the student body.”

She has several ideas for how this would look. “I’d like to see senate do more polls and updates as part of connecting students,” she says, “more panels and more discussions.”

Kelly plans to campaign hard. “I’m hoping to connect with a lot of people over the next week,” she says. “I’d love to have people talk to me.”

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Connor Schmidt is a Japanese and strategic communications major from Dallas, Texas.

His platform includes making use of the many opportunities Calvin offers. “I don’t want to add anything immediately, but I want students to be able to use things that are already in place,” Schmidt says, emphasizing student governance committees as one opportunity he would like more students to seek out.

He also wants to make sure all student voices are heard. “I feel like Calvin has a really outspoken upper class of students,” Schmidt says, “But a lot of students don’t have the platform. I would love to hear the ‘average student’ be in a focus group.”

“I’m not going to make empty promises,” Schmidt says, acknowledging that many students want immediate change, but “that’s not how Calvin works.”  Instead, he says “I’m really focused on working with what we have.”

Which is not to say he doesn’t have a few ideas up his sleeve. “An interdepartmental softball league,” he muses.

Schmidt is campaigning on his accessibility. “I’m not a perfect person,” he says. “I’m not going to change who I am to fit senate. I’m going about this in a fun, authentic way. I just want to be open to anything.”

About the Authors

Ryan Struyk

Ryan Struyk was the Chimes editor in chief for fall 2013. He's a senior studying mathematics and political science. Being a journalist means being both student and teacher of the world, and that’s why his job is the best one out there.

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Kate Parsons

Kate Parsons is the Chimes Campus News Co-Editor for the 2014-2015 school year. She is a senior studying Writing and International Development.

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