With the election for Dane County Board of Supervisors approaching, both student candidates vying for the position released blueprints for their initiatives for the office and ways to better engage students in the body.
University of Wisconsin sophomore Leland Pan announced a plan for his candidacy Tuesday titled “Accessibility and Accountability,” which he said aims to empower the student voice. John Magnino also released a plan for how to spend his time in office, which targets campus engagement.
“Students need to realize that their voice is more powerful than they think,” Pan said.
Pan said he would focus on emphasizing constituent services, empowering students through feedback and lobbying, and fostering open communication with a more transparent government.
In the plan, Pan said he would focus on bringing regular people into the democratic process through tactics such as encouraging participation and holding information sessions for interested individuals.
He would also foster more transparent government by overhauling the county website and getting information to students by creating a monthly newsletter and increasing mailings to district residents, according to the plan.
“Empowerment through civic participation, increased activity at the ballot box and direct contact with our representatives is imperative,” Pan said in the plan.
Magnino, a UW junior who announced his candidacy for the District 5 seat last month, released his “Initiative for Campus Engagement” last Friday. Magnino said if elected, his initiative would focus on getting students more involved in city issues.
“There is a serious lack of basic knowledge of what the County Board does and aims to do, especially in terms of how it affects students,” he said.
He said there are two main pieces to the initiative. The first, he said, would establish a city-county committee for the campus, which would facilitate discussions with city and county stakeholders and students.
He said he is most enthusiastic about this piece, as he feels it will solve the problem students currently face with the lack of communication and serve as a clear venue to voice their input.
The second main piece is the establishment of a student-county liaison position, which he said would involve placing qualified students from the UW community into committees where they would voice concerns specific to that committee.
“It wouldn’t even be me representing them, but me facilitating their inclusion,” Magnino said.
Magnino said his main criticism of Pan’s proposal was that it does not fully address solutions for increasing city-county communication with campus stakeholders.
Magnino added he feels he would better represent students from all walks of life rather than those just from organizations and groups he is affiliated with.
In reaction to Magnino’s proposal, Pan said he feels it misses the organizing aspect important to empowering students.
Pan said despite this, he does think that both he and Magnino both seem to be passionate about student involvement, and that whichever way the election turns out students should be in a good position.
The election for the District 5 seat for the Dane County Board of Supervisors position will take place April 3 with the winner replacing current supervisor Analiese Eicher.