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Student government could be a BEACH

BY ALYSSA GUZMAN | MARCH 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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Life could be a BEACH if one party prevails.

The BEACH Party — an acronym for bettering, educating, advocating, and changing our home — launched its University of Iowa Student Government campaign Sunday at Mondo’s to introduce a platform.

Its campaign is focusing on safety, sustainability, student life, and health. The BEACH Party hopes to continue the battle against sexual assault as well as other pertinent issues, such as student involvement and mental health.

An election to vote for either the BEACH Party — or its competitors, the REAL Party — will be take place April 8 and 9.

One of the initiatives the BEACH Party plans on moving forward with is the Hawkeyes Got Your Back Program.

“We really want to allow students to know what to do when involved with sexual misconduct,” said Sam Wampler, the BEACH candidate for the UISG president. “We never want students to feel like they don’t know what to do when sexual misconduct comes into their lives.”

The BEACH Party also hopes to continue the It’s On Us Campaign and further marketing efforts for the initiative.

Yeltsin Rodriguez, who is running for UISG senator and also wrote the safety platform for the campaign, said It’s On Us has been a huge contributor to his efforts, which include writing an anti-catcalling campaign and launching a social media/visual campaign based on verbal and sexual assault.

Wampler said he believes it’s important to continue marketing efforts against sexual misconduct so students know they play an active part in eliminating sexual assault on campus.

“We also know that another thing we want to do is ensure the leaders of all student organizations should be certified in sexual education,” Wampler said.

UI senior Mackenzie Leonard said it’s important to have a direct plan of action regarding sexual assault.

“It’s one thing to create a committee, and it’s another [for students to take action],” Leonard said.

Students taking action and student involvement are two things BEACH Party hopes to push forward.

“One thing the BEACH Party is really going to work for and push for is student involvement in this election process,” said Kolton Dahms, the UISG vice-presidential candidate. “We are going to try to implement a better relationship between student government and the students.”

Dahms said he thinks a lot of student at the UI don’t necessarily know what the student government does and what types of measures it passes. A way the BEACH Party plans on combatting the issue is to send summaries of the work its members have accomplished to UI students.

What to Fix at Iowa is an initiative the BEACH Party plans on moving forward to increase social-media use and encourage students to advocate for any change they want to see on campus.

“We want to find out the problems students have and work on them with administration,” Dahms said.

UI senior Rachel Lipson said students often get upset about university policy and feel as though they don’t have a voice, but once students begin to feel that they are becoming more involved, they’ll feel they have more of a say.

In addition to sexual misconduct and student involvement, Dahms said the health aspect of the platform is something the party is really excited about.

“It hasn’t really been addressed before, but it’s a very important issue,” he said. “We’re really promoting student health and wellness. Each month, we’re going to be focusing on a specific topic, specifically with mental health, and we’re going to talk about those issues.”

In an effort to promote these initiatives, the party hopes to launch a website and directory in which every outlet for health and wellness is available at the student’s disposal.

The party has also been looking into bringing in guest speakers about mental health, hold informational lectures, have awareness walks, and handing out flowers to raise awareness towards depression.

Though lots of issues on campus are being addressed, the party is also focusing on diversity at the UI.

“We’re looking to expand diversity and resources for diverse/international students,” said UI senior Oliver Hidalgo-Wohlleben, a candidate for senator.

Some of these efforts include having at least one multicultural speaker on campus at least once a semester, as well as expanding Orientation resources and having some sort of system implemented designed to pick up international students from the airport.

“This ticket is doing a really good job at reaching out to multicultural groups,” Leonard said.


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