Patrick Beisell and Johnnie Ozimkowski want to be student body president and vice president.
Patrick Beisell and Johnnie Ozimkowski want to be student body president and vice president. They want Oregon’s biggest university to feel like the smallest and most intimate of schools. They want community.
“I want to do it because I really want to advocate for students,” said Beisell. Part of their plan is making student government more accessible to students with tight schedules.
Both said they saw structural problems with the student committees. If they are elected, they said their first priority would be to fill the committees.
“There are a plethora of students who have a passion for something,” Beisell said.
He and his running mate have spent time connecting with many students. They said they plan to work hard over the summer, organizing the committees.
Though they acknowledged summer is a difficult term to begin, they said they would use the student listserv to communicate. By getting involved in orientation, they would target new students, and get them involved with government.
“We are going to fill these committees,” Ozimkowski said. “It’s gonna be a chore, but it’s a priority, and if it’s a priority, it’s going to happen.” He said that he knows many students on campus are too busy to get involved with politics.
Making the committees more efficient and ensuring that students are ready to participate would be their first goal. Beisell said that it was vital to make committee meetings easy and fun for students to attend.
Both said they want to encompass all types of students, but they do not want to change the all-ages appeal of PSU. Beisell said that the “traditional” college students have been neglected in the past in favor of commuter students.
“Freshmen feel disconnected,” Beisell said. “We’re ostracizing our own community.”
Beisell, a Portland native, said he was dismayed about the lack of in-state student recruitment. He said that when he was a senior at Grant High School, no one from PSU came to talk to potential freshmen. Letting students go to other states is a loss, Beisell said, and only weakens the community.
The two want Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU) to get involved with campus-wide activities, such as sporting events and midnight breakfast. Beisell is especially passionate about creating a “kick-it” space: an all-weather area where students can socialize.
“I don’t think we’ll make promises,” Beisell said. “We didn’t want to bring a huge list of things to accomplish.”
However, they do have a list. Things important to Beisell and Ozimkowski include health care and sustainability. They want more clean energy on campus. They want cheaper bus passes, prescription drug coverage and vision insurance.
Saving money for students is another to-do. They hope to re-install a tuition plateau for students taking a larger number of credits. Students would be able to take 16 credits for the same price of taking 12.
If he were elected vice president of ASPSU, Ozimkowski said he would bring “charisma and passion” to the job.
Ozimkowski is originally from Colorado. He spent most of his life in Ashland. Upon coming to PSU, he served in ASPSU as an executive staff member.
Beisell has a list of experience in many aspects of PSU life. He wrote for the Vanguard, and he serves as a DJ at KPSU. Like Ozimkowski, he worked at ASPSU when he first started at PSU.
“We are more experienced,” Beisell said. “We know what we’re doing.”
Beisell and Ozimkowski said they want victories, rather than promises. Past administrations had accomplished much, they said, but had not publicized their victories. If they win the election, they said visible results are as important as goals.
The two are not overly concerned about the recent canceled elections. Elections were moved from the ninth week of winter term to the third week of spring term because of high turnover and chaos in the elections board.
Beisell said that having them later in the spring might help get people more interested in the vote.
“You’ll have nicer weather, more people will turn out,” Beisell said.