LSU Student Government executive candidates Catherine McKinney and Nash Joyner are “All In” to ensure the University's affordability, improve campus safety and increase student resources.
Presidential candidate McKinney, a political science and history junior and SG’s Academic Affairs committee chair, said her track record as an SG senator proves she can get work done. She has authored eight to 10 pieces of legislation during her three years of being in SG.
“I really, truly do respect every single person in SG, but I think that we need someone who’s going to be really productive, and I think that I’m definitely the best person to do that,” McKinney said.
Vice presidential candidate Joyner, political science junior and SG’s assistant director of Veterans Affairs, said his and McKinney’s leadership styles are complementary, and they plan to hold each other accountable so they can best serve students.
“We will always, 100 percent of the time, put student interests at heart,” McKinney said. “The goal is to leave a place better than [we] found it.”
McKinney said the campaign’s three initiative pillars include affordability, campus safety and increased student resources. She said they all include feasible initiatives that students want.
“We don’t want to sit there and pretend with students that we can do all these crazy things that we just know, because we’ve been in Student Government, aren’t possible,” McKinney said.
Affordability is a pillar both candidates are connected to. They graduated from public high schools in Louisiana, and they have seen first-hand the financial difficulties of their peers.
McKinney said they know how hard it is for some students to go to the University and stay there. That’s why she and Joyner spent part of the summer lobbying at the state capitol on behalf of TOPS funding.
Joyner said they expressed to legislators how important the University is to the state and how much revenue the University generates. TOPS was fully funded after students rallied for it, but with no guarantee that it will be funded in the future, they plan to continue lobbying. Continuity of TOPS and affordability in general is a central component of the campaign, for which they want to create long-term solutions.
McKinney and Joyner said they want to create a scholarship portal in which students will fill out a small application and then are connected to qualified and verified scholarships.
“It would almost be like a matching process, so [students] would fill out that application, and it would only send [them] to scholarships [they] have a 70 percent chance of getting,” McKinney said.
Joyner said it will link students to scholarships specific to their senior colleges through the myLSU financial services portal.
Campus safety is another pillar of their campaign, encompassing ADA compliance, improved lighting on campus, better resources for LSUPD and faster transit times for Tiger Trails buses.
Joyner said quicker transit speeds are important because, with plans to move parking further outside of campus, students would feel safer if they did not have to walk long distances at night or wait on slower transits.
McKinney said safety initiatives are necessary because some female students do not feel safe, and it can be tough for leaders who have not had certain experiences to fully meet their needs.
“It’s time for a female to run,” McKinney said. “We have a lot of issues on campus that are specific to female students.”
Joyner said he hopes to increase resources for students with an initiative to bring back the Olinde Career Center’s online resume builder. When OCC switched software, it lost its resume-building capabilities.
“Professional development and getting ready for the workplace is something very important,” Joyner said. “We’re all here to get a job or go to grad school, and that’s something we’re missing out on by not having that software in place.”
Joyner said students will be able to receive help formatting their resumes online, and then students can bring them to OCC to get help with adding content.
Although there are around 150 students running on or officially supporting the "All In" ticket, Joyner said if elected, he and McKinney are open to appointing students who did not initially support them.
“We don’t care what ticket you supported in the election,” Joyner said. “We want to fill our [executive positions] with the most qualified people.”
The candidates stressed the importance of enacting long-lasting change at the University.
“I have two younger sisters who are probably going to come here, and I want to make sure it’s the best place I can possibly leave for them,” McKinney said. “I don’t want there to be a doubt in my mind that I could’ve done anything more.”
Students can visit mckinneyjoyner2019.com to learn more about the campaign and candidates. They can also visit @MckinneyJoyner on Twitter, @mckinneyjoyner2019 on Instagram and All In Campaign on Facebook.
The SG debate will be at 7 p.m. on March 12 in the LSU Student Union Magnolia Room, and the five presidential candidates and their respective vice presidents will speak.