Student body President Mike Schreiner has a message for the 21,000 Kansas University students who didn't vote this month during student government elections.
Student government makes a difference.
"The main thing I want to get across is that Student Senate allocates $1.3 million of students' money every year," he said during an interview.
The junior business administration student from WaKeeney said that "students need to be sure that responsible people are allocating that money."
Schreiner and his vice presidential running mate, Aimee Hall, defeated four coalitions two weeks ago to gain the right to demonstrate how responsible they can be.
Hall, Manhattan sophomore, and Schreiner formed the YOU coalition, which garnered 1,525 of 5,485 votes. A campaign theme was "YOU can make a difference."
"TO BE honest with you, the coalition means nothing now. As far as I'm concerned coalitions are dead. Now we are Student Senate. We should lay aside differences," he said.
Schreiner, 20, has been involved in student government several years. He said he decided to run for student body president because of his interest in the political process and desire to enhance the reputation of student government.
"The focal point for a lot of issues is the student body president, and student government often gets a bad rap because it's considered to be lacking in integrity," he said.
However, the primary goal of Schreiner's administration will be to improve the campus atmosphere for culturally diverse groups who face discrimination.
"I DON'T think I can play the center piece in that process," he said, "but I want to work with student organizations that are pushing the university to make some changes."
Other items on his agenda include:
Campus recycling. He wants to improve existing programs and build an environmental ethic in students. "Students are forming consumer habits they will have throughout life," Schreiner said.
Book exchange. Schreiner thinks computers could be used to match students wanting to buy and sell textbooks. A list of books to be used in classes the next semester would be available. Students would set prices.
Schreiner also said Executive Vice Chancellor Judith Ramaley's departure from KU this summer may prompt officials to act on the condom vending machine issue, which has been proposed as a way to combat AIDS. "If it's going to happen, it's probably going to happen next year," he said. "Everybody knows Dr. Ramaley is very against condom machines on campus."
IN A referendum last spring, students voted 2,006 to 538 in favor of placing the machines in residence halls, student unions, libraries and rest rooms on campus, but the administration didn't go along with the vote results.
Schreiner also said he will push to create a restricted fee for the student newspaper. The fee, to be paid by students, would stabilize the University Daily Kansan's budget.
"Last year, the Kansan had its budget cut in half," he said. "A lot of it was student politics. People had difficulty with the idea government was controlling the media."
Schreiner said the only surprise since taking office has been the number of people expressing interest in administrative positions in student government.
The biggest obstacle to achieving his agenda is "getting bogged down in the day-to-day, mundane tasks," he said. His strategy is to delegate duties to senators.
SCHREINER said his new job will pay him $400 a month, a sub-minimum wage. And he figures the time-consuming duties will damage his grade-point average.
"But I decided it was worth it," Schreiner said. "I'm convinced a student body president can make a difference on a number of issues related to the university."