Elections for president and vice president of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico will be held over a period of three days next week — with only two names on the ballot.
President Pro Tempore Becka Myers and Sen. Emily Wilks are the only candidates running for ASUNM president and vice president, respectively.
Myers, a junior majoring in political science, grew up in Alaska and said she came to New Mexico for its beauty, but also for the tight-knit community that UNM offered amidst a big city.
“New Mexico has become my home,” Myers said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Myers has served ASUNM since her freshman year, first with Emerging Lobo Leaders, then as Boards and Committees Coordinator under Kyle Biederwolf, and finally as a senator, where she served as chair for the Outreach and Appointments, or O&A, Committee and then as president pro tempore.
Her initial desire to be involved on campus came from former ASUNM President Jenna Hagengruber, who inspired her to pursue leadership roles. This desire to lead has only been further cemented over time, motivating her to run for president, she said.
“I know I would (perform in the role of) the Office of the President with 110 percent and the passion and drive that I’ve done this position with,” Myers said.
Wilks, a junior majoring in communications, is also an out-of-state student. She grew up in upstate New York, with her first connection to the University being her father, who worked part-time at the UNM Hospital. While originally pessimistic about her time at UNM, she said she has grown to love the University and has since become very involved on campus.
Elected as a senator in Spring 2017, Wilks also served on O&A and is now vice chair of the committee. She also became a Student Orientation Leader, which she says mirrors her own experience in the ASUNM Senate.
“It was so incredible to tangibly see the difference I was making in people’s lives,” Wilks said.
Wilks added that she looks forward to leading the senate, one of the primary duties of the vice president.
“I believe in my ability to motivate incoming senators to really take their jobs seriously,” she said.
Myers and Wilks said their administration will look to focus on sexual assault, specifically what healthy sex and relationships look like. They plan to do this by working with various resource centers on campus that specialize in such issues.
Another focus of theirs is to make ASUNM, especially the Office of the President, a more welcoming environment for those not already involved with the organization.
“I have heard that a lot students don’t feel like they’re represented by ASUNM,” Myers said. “It’s a constant thing we hear year after year…I think (we) could make that culture shift — everyone’s a part of ASUNM.”
Both Myers and Wilks emphasized the need for ASUNM to be transparent with students. They plan to do this by first going to the Duck Pond every other Friday to hand out flyers that let students know about pertinent information concerning ASUNM, such as legislation that has gone through committee.
Myers and Wilks said there are many things that can be changed in ASUNM, and they must not be afraid to do so.
“If you’re doing something, and it’s not working, then maybe try something else,” Myers said. “We have to set that example.”
While they are the only ones running for their respective positions, both still encourage all undergraduate students to vote in the election.
“When you vote, you’re voting for something you believe in,” Myers said. “If you believe in our message, you should get out and vote.”
Presidential elections will take place from March 26 to 28.
Kyle Land is a news editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @kyleoftheland.