The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

Billy Keeney

Pictured left to right, Lauren Goodwin, president, and Mia Derks, vice president.

Goodwin and Derks: Transparency in Action

SGA Justices Lauren Goodwin and Mia Derks announce their candidacy and pillars of campaign.

March 4, 2020

On Monday, Feb. 24, the only all-female ticket of the election announced its candidacy with the slogan “Transparency in Action.” Student Government Association Justices Lauren Goodwin and Mia Derks are running for president and vice president respectively. 

Goodwin was inspired to run after a meeting SGA had with President Ashish Vaidya. She said she felt like someone needed to ask the tough questions.

“It was kind of then that I realized that there’s no time to sugarcoat things and that we want to ask those questions,” Goodwin said. 

Derks said she and Goodwin’s different roles on campus allow them to see different student perspectives. Goodwin, junior criminal justice major with a pre-law minor, is a residential student from Western Kentucky who works on campus. Derks, sophomore double major in history and international studies, is a commuter student from Northern Kentucky who works off campus. 

“We have very different NKU lives … we see a lot of different problems, we see a lot of different ideas that come across,” Derks said. 

Addressing Diversity 

One of the pillars of the Goodwin and Derks campaign is to “expand the concept of diversity within student government and on campus,” according to their website. Goodwin said she plans to address this by recruiting people from organizations on campus. 

“One of the things we want to recognize is that obviously yes, there is a lack of visible diversity in organizations now and part of that is us going to these organizations and recruiting from them and saying ‘hey, we want your voice at this table because it’s not representative of the students without it,’” Goodwin said. 

Derks said she really wants to highlight and validate students’ unique experiences “no matter what that experience is.” 

“We also want to expand that concept [of diversity] to include everyone’s unique story, regardless of who they are because everyone’s faced hardships,” Derks said. 

Passing resolutions not ‘for the sake of numbers’ 

Another pillar of the Goodwin and Derks campaign is enacting past resolutions. While they do plan to pass new resolutions, they “will not pass a resolution for the sake of numbers,” according to their website. 

A big kind of noticeable controversy for anyone who pays attention to SGA is that last year, we passed 15 [or] 16 resolutions; we passed a lot,” Goodwin said. “Most of them were great, but I think there was some that I heard about from people who were on e-board that they were like, ‘I don’t really know if this was ready.’” 

Goodwin gave the specific example of Quynh Nguyen’s mental health awareness week resolution, which was passed during the 2018-2019 administration and has yet to be implemented. 

“It’s not just about passing more resolutions. It’s about taking what we’ve already accomplished, what the students have already said they wanted, and making it a reality,”  Derks said. 

A more commuter friendly campus

Goodwin and Derks also hope to make campus more commuter friendly. Derks, a commuter student herself, said she has already started having conversations with people about how to reach commuter students at the beginning of the school year. 

“Those conversations are already happening. We want to reach out to commuter students and be like, ‘hey, here are your resources,’ because when I was a freshman, I had no idea what was going on at all. I was so lost,” Derks said.

Derks said she hopes all freshman feel how she currently feels after finding a home in SGA and among NKU’s faculty and staff. 

Possible challenges 

Neither Goodwin nor Derks are a part of Greek life, which Goodwin said may impact their outreach as well as their voter results. 

“To not be a part of that community where everyone else is is definitely something that we’re going to have to pull votes from outside of that community and really rally the whole campus to hopefully get election numbers up this year,” Goodwin said. 

Goodwin recognizes there may be challenges with the topics her campaign hopes to address, such as mental health and diversity. 

“It’s definitely just recognizing and hoping to get everyone else to recognize that we know that we’re not going to solve the mental health stigma we’re not going to completely fix the diversity problem in SGA,” Goodwin said. “But we are hoping to start to bridge that gap and take steps so that, in the next few years, they can 100 percent be solved.”

Derks said she hopes she can leave campus better than she found it, and wants students to see a difference by August 2021. 

Goodwin said the biggest thing she wants to highlight is the women on campus and their roles as quiet leaders.

“I think just the biggest thing we want to highlight is women on this campus have been quietly leading and we want to be a part of them getting loud about their leadership because [women on campus] do play such a large role … I want it to be recognized,” Goodwin said. 

To learn more about the Goodwin and Derks campaign you can visit their website, Twitter and Facebook.

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