Former student body president and vice president reflects on their achievements
A look at what Matthew Friedmann and Kylee Arndt were able to complete this school year
As the school year draws to a close, Matthew Friedmann and Kylee Arndt reflected on their roles as student body president and vice president for the 2020-2021 school year at the end of their terms on April 18. Despite the challenges the pandemic caused, Friedmann and Arndt were still able to accomplish achievements under the principles of student health, student advocacy, and student pride of their platform.
“When we established these three platform principles before the pandemic, we strongly believed in the positive impact they would have on the student experience,” Friedmann said. “When we took office as the pandemic began, it became clear that they would be more important than we could have imagined.”
Friedmann added that the work they have done under these three principles would not have been possible without the support of the leadership team and the Student Senate.
As part of the principle of student health, Friedmann and Arndt brought back the “De-Stress in the Dirt” program with the counseling center while approving $ 18,000 in funding that will provide training in mental health first aid. for the entire campus over the next five years. They have also worked with Student Health Services to provide free STI tests to students.
Friedmann and Arndt even participated in the fight against food insecurity on campus by partnering with the NDSU Alumni Center and matching donations to the Food Security Fund which raised nearly $ 10,000. “This money was leveraged by Meghan Yerhot and the Food Security Task Force who launched the very first NDSU Pantry and the ‘Swipe-Out-Hunger’ initiative.”
Looking at what has been accomplished in the Student Advocacy Principle, Friedmann and Arndt brought consistency to the process of increasing tuition fees. “Tuition fees will now be increased through a process of inflationary adjustments as opposed to random and unpredictable increases from year to year,” Friedmann explained. “This new approach will give students financial predictability when budgeting for college.”
In addition, three OER grants were awarded, which Friedmann said will save students nearly $ 250,000 over the next five years. Friedmann and Arndt were also able to advocate for students in the state legislature, where they contributed to five different bills. “This included our supply bill, arguing for expanded student voting rights and opposing the disastrous assault on academic freedom that is the Senate Bill 2030.”
Friedmann said they were also able to extend the pass / fail grading deadline and keep spring break in the academic calendar and in-person early spring ceremonies.
For the Director of Student Pride, the myNDSU events calendar has been expanded to raise awareness of events on campus. The entrance closet has also been reinforced to reduce barriers for students to graduate. Friedmann said they also promote student pride throughout the school year by encouraging students to protect the herd.
“This involved distributing the welcome packs across campus, creating an incentive program for students testing Covid and wearing masks, and designing and purchasing the ‘I love my grandparents’ masks. ”
Although they faced challenges of leading the student body during a pandemic and the uncertainty that accompanied it, Friedmann and Arndt were able to spend most of their tenure accomplishing what they wanted and even more than they expected. Friedmann said that after the racist incidents on campus, they worked to make the NDSU a welcoming and inclusive place for BIPOC students.
“To do our part in this campus-wide effort, we have expanded funding opportunities for our multicultural student groups, created a new leadership position for Diversity and Inclusion with a significant programming budget, funded new restorative justice practices with the dean of the student office and contributed a large amount of money to the multicultural office for scholarships. ”
Reflecting on what their favorite part was as president and vice president of the student body, Friedmann said the impact they left will be memorable.
“I think that as we look back on that time, we will remember the people and the positive impact we had on the student experience. Fulfill the main mission of student governments, which is to leave university better than when we arrived. ”