Student enrollment was discussed at the debate among Student Association executive candidates Wednesday.
SA candidates were asked to give their ideas about how they would tackle NIU President Doug Baker’s plan to increase student enrollment.
“One improvement is to have a fun campus. We improve the existing programs, such as transportation, athletic events, and then bring in new programs,” said Joe Frascello, one of the SA presidential candidates. “I’m also working on a project with the administration to bring electric buses.”
Electric buses would be beneficial for the environment on campus, Frascello said.
Randiss Hopkins, the other SA presidential candidate, said it would be best to reach out to students on campus and get in touch with alumni to reach prospective students.
Hopkins said he wants a better NIU, and with the help of the school he also could bring electric buses to the university.
“I’ve worked very closely with President Baker and how we could reach to high schools in Chicago. Most of our students come from Chicago,” Hopkins said.
SA vice presidential candidates were asked how they’d help future and current students get involved with these programs and student organizations.
Vice presidential candidate Nathan Lupstein said he’d like to create an outreach program for community advisers to get students involved with programs. He would like to visit organizations and support them in attracting students and getting them involved.
“If we can find where they live, we could expose them to all the opportunities,” Lupstein said. “Not only will campus be more lively, but students will get a better college experience.”
Chad Harris, another vice presidential candidate, said SA senators should put effort into encouraging students to get involved on campus.
“We need to increase our flyering, our advertisements ... and our air time exposure with the Northern Star,” Harris said.
Raquel Chavez, vice presidential candidate, said she wants to get to know students and facilitate with departments and staff to reach out to students and expose them to these programs.
The possibility of a two-year residency requirement, which would require students to live in the residence halls for two years, was also mentioned in the debate. Student trustee candidates, who will serve on the Board of Trustees, were required to answer whether they supported the idea.
Jose Soto Jr., a candidate for student trustee, said he didn’t oppose the two-year residency requirement but wants a reformation to the requirement.
“If we could possibly change the requirement to one year, I think that would take advantage of the student’s involvement especially in their freshmen year,” Soto said.
Paul Julion, candidate for student trustee, said he opposes the two-year residency plan.
“We have a lot of debt, and most of our students here are need-based students. We need financial aid. We need scholarships and grants,” Julion said.
Roy Rosales, a candidate for student trustee, said he opposes the two-year residency requirement and wants to promote NIU as a school for all types of students, not just commuters.
“Debt is getting very serious, and a lot of students do see that. We should be more open to all sort of students who embrace the change that has been happening throughout all institutions and the country,” Rosales said.
The trustee candidates were also asked about whether they support the Master Plan Thesis proposed by Baker.
Julion said with the little information that was given about the plan, he agrees with it for now, but the plan itself could change in the future.
Rosales said he agreed on the Master Plan Thesis, but his opinions about it might change if and when it takes effect.
“It [the Master Plan Thesis] will give some unity to the community,” Rosales said.
At this time, the Master Plan Thesis is still in the works and it’s too early to agree with it, said Soto, but he supports the idea.
The candidates for treasurer in the debate were asked what would they change in the SA’s budgeting process, which would include how much money would be distributed to organizations.
Kevin Gordon, a candidate for treasurer, said he’d go out and observe each organization in action and determine whether they’re worthy of being given a lot or little funding. Gordon said he wants to reach out to students and prefers to give more funds to the Huskie buses.
Husam Salem, a candidate for treasurer, said he doesn’t want to see organizations ask why they received little funding after the SA’s budget is allocated.
“I kinda want transparency,” Salem said.
Salem said he wants organizations to fundraise, and said those more successful in fundraising should help other organizations that lack success.
Ryan Dunleavy, a candidate for treasurer, said he agreed with Salem with the idea of the budgeting process being more transparent.
“The ability to fundraise and why you get money and where you get it from is such an important idea,” Dunleavy said.