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ASUNM presidential candidate Jenna Hagengruber speaks to a student outside Zimmerman Plaza Tuesday afternoon. ASUNM is gearing up for elections that will take place April 8.
ASUNM presidential candidate Jenna Hagengruber speaks to a student outside Zimmerman Plaza Tuesday afternoon. ASUNM is gearing up for elections that will take place April 8.

ASUNM election season is on

Two candidates in the hunt for undergraduate presidential seat

Two candidates in the hunt for undergraduate presidential seat

ASUNM senator Mack Follingstad said he is running on inclusion. His slate, GO ASUNM, focuses on electing people who have not yet served in ASUNM, something he said is essential to the survival of what the undergraduate student governing body stands for.

Of the 11 senatorial candidates on GO ASUNM, five have any ASUNM experience, and most of that experience is with Emerging Lobo Leaders, the preparatory ASUNM program for future senators.

“Within ASUNM, there’s the idea that you have to have this institutional progression when that’s completely false,” Follingstad said. “When the talent is out there, it has to be brought in. We can’t just keep the same ideas flowing through a pipe, because that’s the road to disaster.”

In stark contrast to this philosophy, presidential candidate Jenna Hagengruber, the current ASUNM vice president, said that she and vice presidential candidate Alex Cervantes, a current ASUNM senator, built their slate with people whose past involvement in ASUNM has them fully aware of its important issues.

Of the 12 members in Hagengruber’s slate, Drive for ASUNM, six have worked with ASUNM in roles ranging from senator to attorney general.

“When we were picking our team, we really wanted to find people who had experience but weren’t naïve to think that ASUNM was this perfect thing,” she said. “There are so many things that can be improved upon, and we all are so passionate and informed that we want to be able to provide that environment for change.”

One of the University projects Follingstad said he would like to pump new life into is updating Johnson Center or building a new recreation facility entirely. He said he would focus on grants and lobbying to make sure the cost wasn’t entirely on students.

“The students deserve something new. They deserve a building where the pipes aren’t failing; they deserve a building where you don’t need a ball of string to get in,” he said. “That’s one of the projects that I’d like to bring back.”

Follingstad also said he would focus on a bevy of smaller improvements for UNM, in a time when the University is asking for capital outlay from the state to renovate its plazas and buildings.

He described his ideas as minor projects that could make a big difference in the daily routine of students, such as phone charging stations and changing tables for student parents in bathrooms.

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“These are all really easy, quick fixes and nobody is asking for them,” he said. “And then [we can] say ‘brought to you by ASUNM, your student government.’ Students matter, you matter.”

Hagengruber pointed to fixing the problems with the Lottery Scholarship as a priority. She said her team is already thinking about ways to amend it.

“We’re pushing for 100 percent funding (of tuition costs for Lottery Scholarship recipients). We already pay so many student fees, we should be able to be funded 100 percent for as long as possible,” she said.

If elected, Hagengruber said she would work on creating a meal plan scholarship for students who live on campus, as well as a merit- or need-based scholarship for buying textbooks.

However, the big project Hagengruber has in mind is a free nighttime taxi service for students, a project that’s in line with Drive for ASUNM’s campaign pillars — safety, service and support.

“We don’t want to make promises to the students that we can’t keep, but this is something that I think we can honestly accomplish. I’m really pushing to make sure that it can happen,” she said.

Hagengruber said that serving as vice president and working closely with ASUNM President Rachel Williams has given her insight into what the position entails, effectively giving her a year’s worth of training.

“It’s been really awesome to see how they run it so that when I step in, if I was to win, I don’t think I would have as long of a learning [period]. I would know a lot more about how the office works because I’ve been right next to Rachel all year,” she said.

Follingstad said that he prepared for the position in a different way. He said his college career has changed dramatically since he was a freshman, giving him a diverse student perspective.

After spending his first year as a commuter student whose daily routine consisted of going to class and then going home, he began to seek out communities on campus to become a part of.

According to GO ASUNM’s Facebook page, he has been involved in the UNM Cycling Club, Naval ROTC and is a member of Phi Delta Theta. He said his development as a college student gives him insight into what students want.

“I have a pretty well-rounded knowledge of what the students here, where we’ve all been. And that’s what you need. Someone whose boots have been on the ground and seen what the other students have seen,” he said.

Williams said that some of the harder-hitting issues facing the next president are decline in enrollment, campus infrastructure, and perhaps most importantly, how to get students engaged in discussions about amending the Lottery scholarship.

Hagengruber said that at the end of the day, she hopes that whoever is elected to serve in ASUNM, whether it be as senator or as president, remembers that they were elected to represent the students.

“The best way we can do that is to listen to what the students want,” she said. “Be open to opinions, be open to ideas, be open to change.”

Early ASUNM voting takes place Thursday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the SUB, next to the welcome desk. Election day is April 8 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the SUB and other locations.

David Lynch is a staff reporter at The Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @RealDavidLynch.

There are four organized slates for this year’s spring ASUNM elections.

Drive for ASUNM


Empower UNM



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