Ushering in the 20th session of Student Council, newly elected University of Wisconsin’s student government Chair David Gardner said he would implement student connections, issues and concerns into real change on campus.

Gardner said students should expect a big focus on issues of affordability from the Associated Students of Madison next semester. He said this involves the cost to attend UW and the cost of living in Madison, in addition to student loan debt.

Gardner, among other members of ASM, will fight hard to ensure Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed tuition freeze will go onto place, according to Gardner. He said this is something students on campus deserve.

Gardner said he would also fight for a “closer-to-living wage” for student hourly jobs.

“Increasing [student] debt is disappointing for me to see,” Gardner said.

In addition to issues of affordability, Gardner said he would also focus on the Campus Diversity Plan to increase diversity throughout the university. He said he hopes something can be worked out by fall and added he will work with other committees to ensure that student input is a part of the plan.

Gardner, previously the press office director of ASM, said he will utilize the dialogue he was privileged to have over the past year with different campus aspects on issues about which students are passionate.

When moving from leading the press office to becoming ASM’s next chair, Gardner said he would strive to make sure that he is just as transparent and accessible in his new position as he was with the press office. In doing so, he will reach out to student groups, administrators and legislators with regard to student priorities, he added.

With the university welcoming a new chancellor next semester, Gardner said he is excited to work with UW’s next chancellor, Rebecca Blank, to set student priorities and build a relationship that future sessions of ASM can benefit from.

In addition to drafting a letter outlining student and shared governance priorities to go to the chancellor’s office, Gardner said he plans to meet with Blank this summer.

Former ASM Chair Andrew Bulovsky said it is important for Gardner and Blank to be able to communicate and have an understanding of each other’s offices.

Given Blank’s economic background, Bulovsky said he hopes Gardner will talk about possible future changes to the out-of-state enrollment cap. He said this is important for the future of the university in terms of accessibility and prestige.

“I hope David takes that in stride,” Bulovsky said. “I have confidence that he will.”

After finals end, Gardner said he looks forward to meeting with UW’s administration, legislators and student leaders on campus. These meetings will ensure his presence on campus and help move forward with student issues, he added.

Bulovsky said his transition out of the position was “smooth and calm,” adding that, during his tenure as ASM chair, he was able to see the inner workings of Student Council and the impact that students can have on campus.

“It was a hell of a ride,” Bulovsky said. “It was a really incredible year.”