Presidential debate covers campus issues from parking to alcohol

Photo courtesy of Hayley Jurek  Brock Lewis and Amanda Chapin are running for student body president and vice presi-dent, respectively.
Photo courtesy of Hayley Jurek
Brock Lewis and Amanda Chapin are running for student body president and vice presi-dent, respectively.

By Jack Spady, Contributor

The University of Nebraska atOmaha Student Government hosted a presidential debate in the Milo Bail Student Center on March 4 for upcoming elections.

Moderated by Nick Beaulieu, editor-in-chief of The Gateway, Brock Lewis and Amanda Chapin, candidates for president and vice president, respectively, answered both pre-selected questions and questions asked by those attending.

Lewis is currently a junior bioinformatics major who has become deeply involved at UNO. In addition to Student Government, Lewis is involved in the Greek community as a member of Pi Kappa Alpha. Lewis is also active member in many other organizations and clubs including the Maverick Club for Bioinformatics and Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society. He believes these organizations provided him with the experience needed to listen to the student body and help make UNO a better place.

Chapin is currently a junior majoring in healthcare administration and gerontology with a minor in sociology. Like Lewis, she is also greatly involved on campus. Chapin is a member of the Greek community and has previous experience in student government. The primary goal she plans to achieve as vice president is to increase student involvement on campus.

When asked what their ticket would bring to UNO, both Lewis and Chapin brought up their heavy involvement on campus. They claim this has brought them closer to the students at UNO and gives them a better view on the issues on campus. Chapin discussed her intent to attack the view that UNO is a commuter college, boost student involvement on campus and increase support for the university.

On the fiery topic of student parking, Lewis stated that a lot of the congestion is caused by unused parking garages on campus.

“We need to fill up the parking garages we have before we can start building new ones,” Lewis said.

He still views parking as a problem, and plans to discuss student concerns with administration in hopes of alleviating them.

After being asked about the alcohol policy at UNO, partly in relation to past tragedies, Lewis and Chapin argued their belief that UNO currently has an excellent alcohol policy that has worked great for years. But according to Lewis, there is always room for improvement“ to prevent a tragedy instead of reacting to one.”

They mentioned a new rule in which underage students that brought in a friend who might be experiencing alcohol poisoning would not be criminally charged.

When the topic of student entertainment was brought up, Lewis stated that Maverick Productions has done an excellent job recently at coming up with cost effective events that have been increasing student involvement on campus. Both he and Chapin also expressed their excitement for the future of Aksarben Village as a place for events where students can come together.

Other topics covered in student questions included school shuttles, Center Street campus and student costs.

But the topic of diversity and inclusion of minority organizations was brought up multiple times by different students. Lewis acknowledged the past failings of Student Government in regards to diversifying and engaging both smaller organizations and minority organizations.

As a solution to this problem, he discussed his intent to increase discourse with all organizations on campus. He also stated he intends to treat everyone with respect.

Overall, attendants of the debate had a positive viewpoint on what they saw.

“I think they have really good ideas,” Aaron Perdew, a junior civil engineering major, said. “I think more communication with students at UNO is always a good thing.”

J.J. Loneman, a junior computer science major, discussed the topic of diversity in the Student Government Senate when asked what stuck out to him the most.

“I think that it’s great that they both want to listen to the voices of these organizations,” Loneman.“But I just hope they follow through.”