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uniteNU ticket promises accountability, action

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By Alyssa Lukpat, staff writer

Collin Walter, a third-year biochemistry major, and Nina Kalantar, a third-year international affairs and political science combined major, announced Monday they are running for Student Government Association student body president and executive vice president, respectively.

Their slate, uniteNU, is one of two campaigning to lead the student body next year. Students can vote on the myNortheastern portal from Thursday through March 22, and results will be announced March 26.

Walter is the Student Government Association, or SGA’s, current executive director of communications. As SGA’s parliamentarian last semester, Kalantar counseled the SGA executive vice president on procedures for leading the senate. Kalantar is currently on co-op in Washington, D.C., but Walter said her distance from campus is not an obstacle for their campaign.

“We view Nina’s absence as a testament to her increased dedication to serving the student body,” Walter said. “We’re not going to let 400 miles get in the way of that.”

Walter and Kalantar have organized their platform around three different categories, which they call “the three A’s”: accountable, actionable and accurately representative.

To create a more accountable student government, Walter said they want to use SGA communications to not only speak with students, but promise change on campus and follow through with it. Furthermore, Walter said he and Kalantar would prioritize referenda students vote on.

“If you have the entire student body vote on an action and they clearly state that they want that to occur, that should be a top priority for the Student Government Association if we are to call ourselves advocates for the students,” Walter said.

Kalantar said he and Walter hope to make the student government more actionable by informing students of their rights at Northeastern and educating them on how to bring their concerns to the administration.

“We have students who don’t know their rights and senators who don’t know what they can do to actually create change,” Kalantar said. “We need to increase awareness of how we can utilize our student body and student government to its fullest potential, so we can not only reaffirm, but actively support students in their advocacy efforts.”

If elected, Walter and Kalantar plan to modify SGA’s governing documents so the organization more accurately reflects the interests of the student body. Kalantar said their slate wants to improve SGA’s communication with student organizations and increase representation from these groups in the Senate, even if they are not recognized by the Center for Student Involvement.

“A lot of students are concerned with the fact that they don’t find SGA to be necessary and they don’t find SGA to be accurately representative of the student body, and that is a fault on our part,” Kalantar said. “So what we need to do is ensure we have all student voices represented.”

She said she also wants to allow all students to submit legislation for SGA to vote on.

“I want to find a way for us to enable students who aren’t in SGA to give them the opportunity and the right to submit legislation passed on our student government,” Kalantar said. “This would completely open up our student government and reduce the elitism associated with SGA.”

Walter said his top priority if elected president is to create a model of shared governance between SGA and the Faculty Senate. He wants the Faculty Senate to support legislation passed by SGA so the administration is more likely to consider it.

In last year’s SGA election, Walter was the campaign manager for the Suchira + Paulina: “Believe in More” campaign. His opponent for SGA president, Nathan Hostert, was one of the  campaign managers for the ReNUal campaign. Hostert filed a grievance against Walter last year, stating Walter violated the SGA Direct Elections Manual for saying the ReNUal campaign did not stand with sexual survivors.

“Last year was the most contentious election Northeastern has seen in a long time,” Walter said. “Nathan and I, we may have gotten on each other’s bad sides last year, but we are not anticipating anything like that happening this year. I’m ready to put last year behind us and look forward to a new administration for SGA — one free of drama.”

UniteNU’s campaign manager is Julia Nitschke, a second-year economics major. She said Walter and Kalantar are the best candidates for student body president and executive vice president because of their past experience in SGA.

“I have worked with Collin for the past year. I think he’s extremely capable and the best person to succeed as president,” Nitschke said. “Nina is absolutely amazing and such a strong woman. As parliamentarian, she is absolutely the best person to chair the Senate next year.”

Walter thinks he and Kalantar should be elected because of his time in SGA’s cabinet and Kalantar’s involvement in helping the executive vice president lead the Senate.

“I’ve already experienced two transitions of power in our student government. I’ve seen what works and what we need improvement on,” Walter said. “My experience situates me to take their successes and shortcomings to make the fourth administration that I’ve worked with a culmination of all the work we’ve done so far, and also an organization that can continue to serve the student body.”

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uniteNU ticket promises accountability, action