MSA Presidential Elections: Davis/Dinwiddie slate

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article had misspelled vice presidential candidate Bri Dinwiddie’s name. We have made a correction to reflect the correct spelling of the candidate’s name. We sincerely apologize for the error.

Rachel Schwartz:

Good evening. My name is Rachel Schwartz and I am here with Solomon Davis and Bri Dinwiddie who are running for MSA president and vice president. So good to have you guys here.

So can you tell me about the platform you were running on for the 2019 MSA election?

Solomon Davis:

Yeah. So there’s a lot in the platform. But basically, we’ve named it all in because we’re trying to represent all students and there’s a lot of issues on there ranging from campus safety to health to affordability and things like that.

Bri Dinwiddie:

Yeah. And just to kind of go off what Solomon said, we have things about transparency, collaborative efforts with MSA and other smaller parts in bigger parts on campus.

RS:

So I know you mentioned that your slogan is all in and kind of going off of that. Often times, students don’t know what MSA is. So how do you plan to establish a two way communication with students and the government?  

SD:

When we go around and speak to student groups, one of the first questions we ask is, who knows what MSA is, and you know, the numbers are sort of what you would expect. Not many know. And the way that we want to establish a two way communication is one, we want to focus our efforts on being transparent. So a public email server, a calendar, as well as regular video updates that we can share with other students and then inward.  Yeah, and while we’re just like educating about our server, we’re also educating about MSA and what all they can do as well.

RS:

You mentioned in your campaign, fixing the transit system and contracting with companies. How do you propose going about this?

SD:

And so basically what we’re saying is, let’s innovate the transportation space. If the city of Columbia won’t necessarily make cool transit better than let’s reach out to companies to do that, and there are companies who specialize in this area and work with universities all the time. Yeah. And just educating them on the prices that they do pay for transportation, too, because, like we said, like, we want to be more transparent.

BD:

So one of the things that we sought to do when crafting this platform is reaching out to every single group administrator that is affected, and so we sat down, we had a conversation with them, and then I also reached out to the director of the Student Health, and basically what we want to do is move some of those laws around virtual visits, and then use the Student Health Center to say hey, students, this is the insurance. This is what you have, this is what it covers and things like that, because those stats are already available so just leveraging that data.

RS:

Let’s discuss your approach to a more sustainable Mizzou and your campaign. You talk about reducing plastic on campus and offering just water and what ways are you going to try and implement this?

SD:

I passed a resolution and MSA that was to tackle the plastic bag use that we see in CDs locations, and I sat down with the director and we had a conversation and, you know, she shared with me that they do care about sustainability. And there are also challenges that they face being that, you know, with the enrollment decline, they don’t have as many students who are working in their facilities. And so to answer your question about how do we plan to go about it, we present our solution already in front of CDS, and they’re looking at the numbers and they’ve looked at they’ve done the business plans in the past. And so if we were to be elected, we would just follow up with them and say, How can we actually move this from business plan on paper to execution? Yeah. Make it a more collaborative effort. Yeah, like that.

RS:

In recent years, there have been gun threats on campus. And as mentioned in your campaign, multiple school shootings, why do you believe implementing safety videos and apps will protect students?

SD:

Campus safety is a thing that comes up all the time, and whether that is the recent increasing school shootings across this country are just walking home at night. And we believe that there are tools that this campus is paid for and that they’re putting out there and that we need to revamp them. So we literally, just walking into this interview, the Chancellor sent us an email about safety. And that shows you that this is something that is on the minds of every student and we want to giving MUPD. And they’ve already had a conversation with chiefs want about our plans. And he was like, yeah, these are good things.

RS:

As it says on your website, on average graduates from the University of Missouri or $21,844 in debt, this is the fact that is not brought to attention. How are your strategies reducing student debt?

SD:

I’ll back up at the college affordability in it of itself. It’s something that the university has been working on. And the way that we want to do that is by eliminating some of the fees that you see in the classroom. So classroom technology standardization, so that you never have to go into a class and have a top hat and a clicker subscription and the syllabus bank that will allow students to audit class before they enroll. So they don’t end about that deadline. And they’re like, Oh, I need to I can’t be successful in this class and they’ve already lost that money.

BD:

yeah and just like throughout every platform that we have it’s about educating students and educating them about the resources that are University already has and things that we know that will better them to that way they’re not spending those outrageous prices.

RS:

Alright we’re going to shift gears a little bit to some more personal question so in your campaign video Solomon you mentioned you were the president of Hatch and a senator for MSA, how have these roles prepared you for the role of MSA president?

SD:

So I think a big freestyle backup had it was a great experience to be president of Hatch and you know I love all of the hatchlings, and you know when we were in Hatch, but it was also at a time of some division here on campus as well, the presidential elections coming up and so we really came together and you know, sent this message of unity and that this is our home and so we all have various differences but we are all Mizzou at the end of the day. And so that was sort of like one of my early experiences of leadership on this campus. And MSA, I have just had the great opportunity to interact with administrators, people from other universities and, you know, city officials and to be able to deal with the issues that students face. And you know I wake up and I go to bed thinking about, oh, like, how can we improve the life of students? And I think that that is something that is needed for this position, and MSA gave that to me very you had experiences of summer welcome later. How does that make you more in touch with the community?

BD:

Yeah, I also think well, just like Solomon said, just roll back a little bit before getting some are welcome. I didn’t know much about the university. I wasn’t involved much. So summer welcome, gave me the opportunity to learn as much as I could. And I think that’s good going into this role. So I know more and I’m more educated that way that I’m not just educating myself, but I’m educating others as well.

RS:

What inspired you both to run as Vice President and President of MSA. And why do you believe you two are good fit for these positions? 

SD:

I believe what inspired us is that these elections happen every single yearand every single year you hear the same you hear students saying we don’t know what MSA is your the same complaints in the same problems and more importantly what we want to do is set Mizzou up for success for the future and address some of the problems that we are seeing now and that we will see in the future. And then in terms of, you know, how we work well together just a little I’ll give you a little insight. So, you know, back in January bringing I had a conversation about us doing this and you know, trying to advocate for students and we talked on the phone and I immediately got off the phone with her and I said to my brother and my dad I was like she’s perfect she is the one we mesh so well because you know, at the end of the day like in that conversation, she shared some of the least shared some of the same goals and ideas for what this campus could be in what this position could be. Yeah.

BD:

And just going off what Solomon said, I think we’re both very passionate individuals and we’re both dedicated to the university. We see concerns. Do we have issues that we know that would resolve these concerns? And I think that we work well together, just like you said, like we are always listening to each other. And I feel like it takes good communication to be leaders on campus.

RS:

How do you feel you can represent underrepresented groups here at Mizzou?

BD:

Well, just by being underrepresented student myself, I’m heavily involved in the Multicultural Center, I volunteered at the RSVP center and just by having an identity that I have, I know that I have like the outer perspective. So no, we can’t speak for all students. But we can try to advocate for all students. Yeah, and I think that it really just comes down to sort of listening like you all you need to do is listen you can listen to what various groups want to various students and if you listen what the true and honest intent of trying to serve them and to improve their lives and I think that were two people who you know, we hear a complaint or we hear problem and we try to fix it. 

RS:

Who is your target audience? And how are you appealing to them?

BD:

I think all of campus is our target audience. We don’t have a necessarily a one group that we want to focus on. We have issues in our platform. And we have resolutions for different people on all of campus.

SD:

Yeah. And I think, you know, something we see typically and student body elections is that campaigns try to target certain groups, and they try to do that with their policy. And we really were like, this is not about one group versus the other. This is about all students. And so our platform is something you know, affordability affects all students being able to walk across campus and false it feel safe affects all students. And so how we’re going to go about that and how we’re going about that sort of, I think changing the game by trying to be as transparent as possible by putting our message out there and inviting students to respond.

BD:

Yeah, it’s about being all in for everyone on campus.

RS:

Yeah. All right. One last question. What are your goals for the 2019- 2020 school year

BD/SD:

Oh, my goodness goals, I think is to just continue my advocacy work, you know, if it doesn’t go the way that we plan, I still want to be able to put myself in spaces and still be a better advocate a better ally, and still put my energy into the issues that we saw on campus before. Yeah. And regardless of like the result, everything on a platform, you know, as I said, we’ve already put in front of administrators, and we’ve already put in front of groups. And so I’m committed to making sure I think we’re both committed to making sure that those things get done because they are important to students. And we cannot just keep going year after year without students problems being addressed. Yeah, we want to be dedicated and I think that it shows throughout our platform.

RS:

Well, thank you guys so much for coming. So again, this has been Solomon Davis and Bri Dinwiddie and they’re both running for president and vice president together. I’m Rachel Schwartz. And back to you guys.

 

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