With three years of student government experience under his belt, GPSA presidential candidate Aaron Kugler says, if elected, he hopes to focus on improving student involvement and updating the group's Constitution.
Kugler, a first-year law student and one of two candidates running for office this year, says the first presidential candidate forum this week made it clear to him that student participation is one of GPSA's biggest obstacles.
"We only had about five people attend, and all of them were law students, so that's really bad," he said. "We have to find a way to make ourselves more accessible and get more people interested in student government."
He added that having worked with the GPSA Finance Committee, he saw need for the government's Constitution, particularly its finance code, to be updated.
The opportunity to take on a unique role on campus prompted Kugler to run for the presidential vacancy.
"The GPSA president has the most access to the administration and, in turn, has access to the most power at UNM," he said.
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He added that he had considered running for the office when he was still an undergraduate student at the University because he was impressed by the work of then-president Brian Col¢n.
"I knew I was applying to UNM law and just saw the impact that Brian had and thought I could also do a really good job in the same position," he said.
Kugler is a native New Mexican, which he says adds to his dedication to higher education in the state.
"I care about graduate students, and I believe in strength in numbers and the power unified students can have in changing things for the better," he said.
His experience with student government during the past three years has been great preparation the GPSA presidential office, Kugler said. He was a member of the ASUNM Senate for two and a half years, was chairman of the Finance Committee and was named Senator of the Year.
"I think people were really happy with the work that I did, and I believe that I can continue that with GPSA," he said.
Despite a brush with poor turnout at a GPSA forum, Kugler says he would use a similar approach to address the group's student involvement problems.
"I think town hall meetings, maybe once a week at different places on campus, would really help make GPSA more accessible," he said. "Instead of sending out mass e-mails to departments, I would also go meet with different department leaders because I think students tend to listen more to news from them than they do to news from the outside."