Abigail Ruhman is a freshman journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about student life, politics and social issues for The Maneater.
During the 2019 MSA presidential election, “All in Mizzou” Solomon Davis and Bri Dinwiddie’s slate in the election, lost by 120 votes. MU was 120 votes away from policies that would have made a positive impact on student life and health.
Davis and Dinwiddie had a platform that MU’s student population needed. While the will of the people is important, MU students may have lost a slate that had actual policy proposals on mental health and academic transparency that would have benefitted all students.
“Show Your Stripes,” despite being the winners, had a platform based more on discussion than on action. All in Mizzou, in contrast, had policies that promoted student action for the betterment of MU’s campus.
The good news is that even though All in Mizzou lost by a slim margin, their policies can still exist. Students, both in and out of MSA, can still fight for the policies that matter most.
Davis and Dinwiddie hoped to expand student sick day coverage by advocating to give students one mental health day for each class during the semester. In some cases, this can be considered a low amount, but this starts a conversation that helps take away the stigma surrounding mental health days.
While one out of three college students struggle with mental illness, according to CNBC, the stress of juggling the aspects of college life can leave students feeling mentally fried. In some cases, teachers can have a strict attendance policy that makes taking a day to focus on mental health difficult for students.
In addition, their platform on making college more affordable makes a lot of sense for the MU student population. Their first affordable education concept was to build a syllabus bank to help students choose classes that actually interest them and have a workload that they can handle. This would allow students to choose classes that they are less likely to perform poorly in and less likely to drop, ultimately preventing students from spending money on a course that doesn’t benefit them.
The second affordable education concept All in Mizzou promoted was the standardization of education technology. With products like iClicker and Top Hat coexisting on campus, students may end up spending more money on products that are similar in purpose. They also hoped to encourage free alternatives to these products, such as Canvas. The concept makes sense. Students shouldn’t have to pay more money for products that do similar things. By standardizing these technologies, MU students save money on the supplemental materials needed for their courses.
All in Mizzou also pointed out ways to make campus operations more environmentally conscious. Their focus was on Campus Dining Services. The concept was to limit the amount of plastic used at dining facilities and team up with Just Goods, Inc. to provide sustainable water bottles as a way to reduce plastic water bottles. In addition, the partnership with Just Goods, Inc. could offer student education on sustainable packaging and ethically production practices.
While Show Your Stripes focused on working with companies for transportation fixes that impact each student individually, All in Mizzou wanted to focus on fixing the public transportation in a way that could have helped all students. From working to better Tigerline to using electric golf carts as a rapid transportation system, All in Mizzou was focused on having concepts that could be acted on.
While Show Your Stripes won by 120 votes, MU may have made the wrong choice. All in Mizzou had actual plans that could have changed the campus for the better. While students can’t go back in time to change their vote or to actually vote, students can try their best to take these ideas and implement them on campus.
These ideas could revolutionize current and future student’s college experience, and it’s up to the student body to fight for the policies. Whether that is through MSA, Residence Halls Association or old-fashioned, one-on-one contact with campus leaders, students need to get involved in order to inspire real and effective change.
Davis and Dinwiddie may not represent students as the president and vice president, but their spirit of going all in should inspire every student to change MU for the better. This isn’t about a lost election, this is about making MU the best that it can be.