Iowa State Student Government election polls open Monday. Eleven of the seats on the ballot are represented by the United Residents Off-Campus (UROC). Sonja Paulson, a junior in marketing, is one of 11 candidates running to serve as a senator for the college.
What makes you as an individual qualified for this position in Student Government?
During my time at Iowa State I have served as my sorority's diversity and inclusion chair and on the High School Outreach Committee for Iowa State’s Dance Marathon. In these roles I worked with others, supporting their ideas and bringing them to life. I worked to uplift perspectives different than my own and I would work to do the same in this role. I also have spent time volunteering in the Iowa caucus and the general election. I value the weight of a vote and this would be reflected by reaching out to my constituents to make sure I am fully advocating for them.
What are your goals and what do you want to accomplish in your potential position in Student Government?
My primary goal is to prioritize diversity and inclusion. Everyone should feel welcome and fully accepted at Iowa State, and that is not the case. We have seen time and time again where our leaders fail us and uphold racist, sexist and ablest systems. I plan on trying to combat these issues through education and holding students and staff accountable.
What needs to change in Student Government? What are some issues you think need to be addressed?
I think that Student Government needs to become more accessible and transparent about its effect on students at Iowa State. The tone that Student Government sets is what impacts the university's priorities and this past year we have taken steps back from being welcoming to all.
How do you hope to represent your constituents?
I hope that I positively represent my constituents and advocate for the change they want to see in Student Government.
Why do you think it is crucial the UROC has an equal role in Student Government?
Students need to be represented, even if they are off campus. The decisions that Student Government makes still impacts their lives, even if in minor ways. From student activities fees to deciding what kinds of speakers are funded, students off campus deserve to have equal representation.