Students will have four options for the 2018-19 ASB president on tomorrow’s ballot. Candidates Wister Hitt, Elam Miller, Emily Tipton and Dylan Wood announced their candidacy in February and debated publicly last Wednesday night at the Overby Center. As campaign season shuts down, the candidates have offered a final look at their platforms and promises. Ballots will be accessible through students’ MyOleMiss accounts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
My name is Wister Hitt, and I am running to be your next ASB president. My campaign is about more than a single candidate. It is about listening to the voice of the constituency and passionately representing that voice.
Currently, the Associated Student Body finds itself at a great disconnect from the student body it represents. In my opinion, the fault lies within the ASB, not with the student body. This administration, if elected, would wholeheartedly and adamantly seek out avenues to bridge the gap and help uplift, promote and acknowledge everyone on this campus by focusing on student communication, student services and student engagement.
If elected, I plan to achieve this through the installment of constitutionally mandated monthly town hall meetings, in which all six ASB executive officers will be present. This will create a designated time and place for students to have their voices heard and conveyed directly to the ranking members of their student government. Our administration will be able to effectively set an agenda representative of the ideas and concerns of the student body.
Additionally, I propose the establishment of an annual State of the University address, given at the first formal Senate meeting of the spring semester. The chancellor, a faculty representative and the ASB president will individually address the university, recognizing the university’s accomplishments from the prior year while also outlining an agenda for the upcoming year.
The ASB should prioritize providing meaningful services to students and faculty alike. There is a great demand for an on-campus location for everyone to receive technological services for their personal computers, mobile devices and tablets. As part of the ASB’s mission to provide student services, I want to work with the current administration to establish an on-campus Genius Bar to serve students’ technological needs.
Finally, in an effort to increase the ASB’s engagement with the student body, I want the ASB to create an annual event for the student body called “Ole Miss Tonight.” This one night event, hosted by a notable entertainment figure, will seek to promote Ole Miss and the ASB. Ole Miss Tonight will function as a unique and fun opportunity for the student body to come together while also providing the ASB with a platform to boost engagement.
As a lifelong Mississippian and Ole Miss Rebel, the University of Mississippi has always felt like home to me, and I want to ensure that this feeling is readily available to everyone. With your support, we can work together to create a student government that truly represents and serves all students.
I hope on March 6, you will vote for me, Wister Hitt, as your next ASB president.
This past week has been one of the best weeks of my life. I’ve been able to meet some incredible students and hear ideas that excited and motivated me to continue campaigning, despite the rainy weather.
From the time I first met with my core campaign team, this campaign has been about expecting more. Expecting more opportunities for students who have been turned away by ASB before, expecting more transparency from our student government, expecting more collaboration between ASB and student organizations.
This past year, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of serving as the Associated Student Body vice president. This year, I have been able to accomplish a lot, including establishing Campus Liaisons in Senate so student organizations who weren’t involved with ASB could have their voices heard by taking our student government directly to their organizations. I have made senators more accountable to their constituents by letting students know how they voted by livestreaming Senate meetings and providing channels for students to reach out and share their views with new positions brought to Senate, like Campus Liaisons and Public Relation chairs. Students can now have a better idea of how Senate operates and what legislation is being considered.
I know the ins and the outs of this student government and that sometimes candidates can get carried away and forget that certain things are out of ASB’s control or already exist in the Code and Constitution, but I know what’s possible and what CAN work. That’s why my platform is more than just buzzwords; my platform has substance – ideas that are viable, cohesive and simply possible. To increase transparency, I want to implement the Idea Tracker – where students can track the progress of ideas they submit through ASB. In order to increase opportunities, I want to implement the Open Opportunity Initiative, where no students can be denied from participating in their student government if they want to be a part of it. To increase accountability, I want a more detailed and codified Shared Governance Model to hold the university administration accountable. For more collaboration, I will hold a Collaborative Promise to the student body to maintain constant communication between ASB and every student organization. My Facebook page lays out in more detail the four major points of my campaign. Feel free to check it out.
I understand that, as ASB president, I can’t just expect more – I have to do more. However, I believe that before any successful action can take place, expectations must be set. Because if we expect more, we can create more. We can collaborate more. We can participate more. We can actually do more. If you see me around campus, make sure to stop me and tell me your ideas to improve and expect more from our ASB. My name is Elam Miller, and I want nothing more than to serve you and become your next ASB president.
At the ASB debate, we learned from several candidates that the Associated Student Body was in dire straits: It had been broken by the previous and current administrations. Worse, we heard this diagnosis from two sitting executive officers. I was (visibly, per the livestream footage) taken aback by this news, as my experience serving two complete terms on Cabinet has been one of an organization that has successfully carried out hundreds of initiatives. Our student government can and does function correctly – if its members choose to learn how to navigate its structures, collaborate with their peers and set achievable goals.
To do so requires only listening. Not shouting, speaking over others or interrupting – simply conducting oneself professionally and listening to those who came before you, those who work beside you and those whom you serve. Therefore, my slogan, “Everybody’s Voice,” does not represent myself speaking for everybody but my hope to hear the individual voice of everybody on our campus. Although some of those voices may seem too little or cute, they are worth hearing. A strong voice should not matter more at our university than a small one, and as ASB president, I will seek to hear Everybody’s Voice.
I do not intend to spend months of a single-year term attempting to restructure our entire student government. Instead, I intend to hone our existing system, which has served me well in my three years learning its intricacies, to be more accessible and relevant to all students. This includes multiple, actionable plans that can be implemented right away.
A new Health and Wellness branch would directly address our mental health crisis, collaborate with the Counseling and Magee Centers, host free weekly fitness groups and work with Dining Services to increase nutritious food access. Campaign reform would tighten budgets and increase funding transparency to make executive positions more accessible. Mass email systems would let students directly contact their senators prior to formal Senate meetings and communicate their thoughts on legislation. Streamlined voting processes would allow more students to cast their ballots. Designated seats for transfer, international and study abroad students would diversify the backgrounds of ASB members. A Converge program would give students an opportunity to diffuse political tension on our campus through honest conversation with one another.
My platform is not about speaking for everybody; it is about listening to everybody. My plans for ASB are specific, actionable and applicable. They will uplift Everybody’s Voice – and allow ASB to carry out initiatives that serve students where they are, how they are.
Hi, I’m Dylan Wood, a senior accounting major from Tupelo. I decided to run for ASB president because I think I can do the best job of fighting for the students to come up with real solutions to real problems we face each and every day.
Over my four years here, I’ve heard about three things every single year: parking, construction and the counseling center being understaffed.I cannot magically make more parking garages appear, but I can fight to get something more feasible. I believe it would be of great benefit to add more metered parking spots on campus. Several students do not wish to pay the full price for a parking decal because the O.U.T. bus is free. However, we have all had those days when we oversleep and have to either drive ourselves and risk the ticket, or just be late to class.
The construction aspect may prove trickier. I have already spoken with Chancellor Vitter and Dr. LaBanc about the outrageous number of green fences up at one time. The main reason is that some funds are only available at certain times. No student would argue that it is bad to make improvements to our campus, but sometimes it’s better to take things Southern style – slow. I will work with campus administrators and state legislators to make sure Ole Miss can find an appropriate construction schedule that both benefits future students and allows current students to enjoy the most beautiful campus in America.
The counseling center, it’s badly understaffed. … I have a close friend who made an appointment, needed to reschedule and was told he would have to wait until next semester. This is unacceptable. Every Rebel on this campus deserves access to counseling without having to wait an eternity. ASB and SAA have funds that could be reallocated to hire more counselors. I am by most means a fiscal conservative, but I would be willing to pay more in student fees if it meant my fellow Rebels would have better access to help.
The final thing I want to say is just a word of encouragement to all those Rebels facing a hard time. I know things here are not perfect; life does get stressful, at times overwhelming. You are not alone out there. There are 20,000 of us playing the same game. If you ever feel alone and need to talk, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW TO VOTE:
- Log on to myolemiss.edu account
- Select “Student” tab
- Select “Get Involved”
- Choose “Vote in Student Elections” option
- Cast your votes for executive officers and Senate members
Ballots will be accessible from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.