Pick Paul Schmitt for student trustee

By Paul Schmitt

Why should you pick Paul Schmitt for 2008-2009 student trustee? Why should you pick a trustee at all?

Every year around this time the campus is littered with fliers, posters, chalk and rhetoric – senate candidates vowing to fix Lincoln Hall, SORF Boarders hoping to finally “show you the money” and candidates for student trustee pandering to every special interest group on campus and staining the Quad for decades to come.

Yet I feel that I approach this election in a different, more appropriate manner. Instead of voting for a trustee that will tell the Irish Illini that they will expand Unofficial to every Friday of the second semester (and no one will get a drinking ticket) and then also promise the October Lovers that if they vote for him, autumn will be the only season allowed at the University, why not vote for a candidate that offers sincere, legitimate leadership for the student body?

I’m Paul Schmitt and this election isn’t about me – it’s about “we.” This election is about electing a student trustee that is willing to endlessly advocate for students, who will stand up for the student voice and will be accessible enough to honestly work with student groups to accomplish their goals. Don’t you think that a commitment to hard work and to open, honest representation is better than empty promises?

As your student trustee, I want to do the following things: fight for student rights, advocate tirelessly for the student voice, lobby the state of Illinois for adequate funding, expand alumni outreach programming to raise our alumni giving rate, have mandatory walk-in office hours, visit with the leaders of all groups on campus willing to have me, improve student services, lower excessive fees and generally improve the quality of student life on this campus. While these are broad goals, it will take a broad, progressive vision to fix the minute problems that face this university.

I am running for this office because I love and believe in this university and want to give my all to make her flourish. I am doing this because I feel it’s wrong that the scariest words on campus are, “I’m your academic adviser and I’m here to help.” I’m doing this because I think it’s wrong that we can issue endless parking tickets but can’t prevent a sharp increase in campus sexual assaults. I’m doing this because a university is made for education of students and because students should come first, not last.

The Board of Trustees has nine members appointed by the governor. These men and women will watch carefully over the University’s fiscal interests and her budget. So if the nine other members on the Board are interested in the bottom line and finances first, shouldn’t we want to send a member to the board who is concerned with students first?

I offer qualified, experienced leadership to my peers at this university. I’ve served in student government and a plethora of committees, restarted and run one of the University’s most effective RSOs, defended freedom of speech on campus, pushed proposed fees lower, defended Homecoming from a deranged faculty senate, raised funds for scholarships and charities, encouraged extracurricular scholarship and screamed my lungs out for winning Illini teams and the beautiful tones of the Marching Illini. And while those things are good, as I’ve stated before, this election isn’t about me – it’s about “we.”

This election is about making a choice – do I want to vote for another student who will promise me the moon, or do I want to vote for a candidate who will crusade for my interests, even if they are not his own? This election is about sticking up for students, resolving campus issues, creating a cohesive community and protecting the things that make Illinois so special.

If you believe in inspired, bright possibility, or if you’re just tired of the same old stuff, I encourage you to pick Paul Schmitt on Feb. 26 and 27.

Editor’s Note:

With campus elections occuring online Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, The Daily Illini presents guest columns from two candidates for the position of Champaign-Urbana campus student trustee.

The student trustee serves as a student voice along with elected students from the Springfield and Chicago campuses on the University’s Board of Trustees.

The three campuses alternate one binding vote between them. That choice is determined each year by the governor.

A third candidate, John Unrug, junior in Business, is facing eligibility questions that are in dispute as of press time and did not respond to an e-mail request to contribute a column to this forum.

Information about students running for seats in the Illinois Student Senate and Student Organization Resource Fee Board (SORF) can be found in Monday’s edition of The Daily Illini.

Online voting begins Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 12:01 a.m. and closes Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 11:59 p.m.