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Student government gets REAL

BY CARLY MATTHEW | MARCH 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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If one party gets its way, things could get REAL.

REAL Party — or Responsible Empowering Accessible Leadership — packed Airliner on Sunday to introduce its platform for the University of Iowa Student Government election.

“It’s a good problem to have that it’s so crowded,” UI sophomore Senate candidate Bruno Ponce said.

The party’s platform focuses on transparency, diversity, safety, and international student issues.

Following the party, they gathered on the Pentacrest to hear speeches from UI junior Elizabeth Mills, who is running for president, and running mate Morgan Brittain.

Voting will take place April 8 and 9.

“UISG unfortunately sometimes has shied away from tackling major issues on campus,” Brittain said.

He said one of the highlights of their platform is the issue of campus safety.

For example, they would like to offer the free Nite Ride service to all students. Currently, only women can access it.

Additionally, the party would hope to expand existing Cambus routes to include stops at fraternity and sorority houses on the East Side and cultural centers on the West Side, where parking space is often limited.  

The REAL Party also supports the construction of a sidewalk running from the Studio Arts bus stop to Walmart, 919 Highway 1 W.

Mills said another significant issue the group would like to improve upon is transparency.

In order to improve communication between students and leadership on campus, the REAL Party hopes to host forums in which students can bring their concerns to leaders from UISG and groups such as STAT and Hawkeye Caucus.

One of their goals is to include the UI interim president and then permanent president as part of the panel as well.

Mills said she would like to have these meetings as often as once per month, depending on demand.

UISG sophomore Rachel Zuckerman, a senator for the party, said she thinks this platform differs from some in the past because she believes it is very manageable.

“We’ve really done our research,” Zuckerman said.

She said she believes the candidates genuinely care about the positions for which they are running.

She said much of her inspiration to run for UISG president comes from her experiences working with diverse groups of people in a variety of settings.

“I originally got inspired by the work I did as a TA for alternative spring break,” Mills said. “It was empowering to see how students learn in a different environment.”

She said she most looks forward to advocating for students with a wide range of passions.

Mills would like to see mandatory diversity training implemented for UISG members.

Brittain majors in political science with a minor in art history.

After working on campus in a variety of roles, he said he’s acquired a zeal for both leadership and the university.

“I felt like this was the natural next step,” Brittain said.


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