Hey everyone, my name is Braden Strackman, and I am a candidate for Student Government Speaker of the House for the 2021-2022 academic year. I am currently a Sophomore here at Wake Forest, studying as a Mathematical Economics major with minors in Statistics and Politics and International Affairs.
I have served on Student Government since I was elected in my Freshman year as a Senator from Johnson Hall. During this time, I have served as a member of the academic committee, and for this past year I served as a Co-Chair of the Academic Committee, and most notably for this election I acted as Speaker Pro Tempore which has given me an in-depth understanding of how Student Government ought to function and how the role of speaker should be properly executed.
I feel much of the work done this past year to decentralize power in Student Government is great, and it is the main thing that I want to build on as Speaker of the House. My platform is centered around empowering voices and ideas of not only Senators but students as well in order to move our campus forward together. Our strength as a community is in our diversity of experiences, background and ideas. We should embrace and honor these strengths and that is what I want to prioritize. Student Government is in a unique position to uplift and unite our community, as Speaker I will make sure that we continue to be transparent and find new ways to effectively communicate with students about decisions that are being made for their future. A main step in this process is facilitating connections and conversations between Student Government and administrators. I would do this by connecting Senators and Committees with administrators who fit their areas of interest and concern. This will enhance our communication, bring our campus together, and open opportunities for debate around decisions.
Free communication is more important than ever with new administration coming and a new normal for the fall. As Speaker, I will work to ensure students know what is expected of them and that their concerns are addressed and considered in the decision-making process.
Moreover, it is important to consider our experiences through the pandemic as we plan for the future. For example, moving forward I would like to work with faculty to encourage centralizing everything onto Canvas. The pandemic has shown us how helpful Canvas can be in organizing schoolwork and providing access to feedback on assignments. In addition, the pandemic showed us how important it is to prioritize mental health on campus. I will advocate for proper funding of the University Counseling Center and for initiatives that reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
While this year has been hard, I have seen where Student Government can be the organization that brings people together and be effective for our students. We have the chance to continue to be the change we seek. Thank you and hopefully I have your vote on April 13th.