When the time came to choose a vice presidential running mate, Student Government presidential candidate Thor Lund never doubted he would ask William Brown. The pair met in the third grade and have been best friends ever since.
Lund and Brown have never been involved in SG and are running against presidential candidates Madison Gardner and John Lawler, who have both been involved in SG for three years.
Mechanical engineering senior Lund and psychology junior Brown said they want to focus on students and give them what they want. If elected, they said they will work on providing 24-hour access to the Perry-Castañeda Library, offering healthier food sources after hours and increasing the presence of police call boxes on campus, among other goals.
Lund said he and Brown decided to run because they wanted to redefine the traditional meaning of SG and expand the organization’s reach. Both said they have never met the representatives from the Cockrell School of Engineering or College of Liberal Arts. Lawler held the latter position for the past three years.
“We noticed year after year it was the same candidate,” Lund said. “We heard them campaigning, but once they got elected we never heard from them again.”
Lund said his administration will hold a monthly YouTube address to inform students about SG issues, work to move SG activities out of the Student Activities Center and make sure students know their faces.
Lund said if elected he plans to utilize creative solutions to implement the changes he wants to see at UT. For instance, Lund said he would petition the University of Texas Libraries for increased hours of the PCL by only opening certain floors for study and having limited staff at hand during those hours. Lund said other system schools like UT-Arlington have a 24-hour library.
SG internal financial director Ilse Quijano said the organization currently operates on a budget of about $112,000 per year. Of that amount, about $24,000 is used to appropriate funds to registered student organizations and the rest is used for SG programming, events and internal operations.
When asked if he was familiar with a December recommendation from UT President William Powers Jr. to raise tuition, Lund said he had no comment.
Lund said if elected he would look to improve how things are done in SG and explore new territory in terms of SG’s capabilities.
Brown said he feels their goals are tangible and within the scope of what SG can do. He said a lot of candidates have broad topics as their campaign goals and it is questionable as to what that really means.
“Our goals are what the students want,” Brown said. “If they say ‘we don’t like what you’re doing,’ we’ll change it.”
Matthew King, the social media director for Lund and Brown, said he first joined the campaign because he knew Brown from class and wanted to support him. King said he was a bit hesitant in getting involved when he met Lund because he felt Lund did not have the right “swagger” to be SG president. King said as the campaign went on his hesitation vanished because he saw the personal growth Lund and Brown went through reaching out to students.
“They’re just like you in the terms of being on the same page about Student Government,” King said. “Unless you’re involved in another Student Government affiliated organization, you don’t know [what’s going on].”
King said something that sets Lund and Brown apart from the other campaigns is that they have specific goals instead of vague ones.
Eric Lund, Thor’s father, said he was not surprised when Thor told him he was running for SG president. Lund said Thor ran for student council in the fourth grade with the slogan “Take a liking to a Viking” and wrote it on a poster to present at school. Lund said although Thor does not have the experience Gardner and Lawler have, it would be useful to have a perspective from a person outside of SG.
“It’s just like on the national political scene,” Eric Lund said. “Maybe somebody who comes in from the outside looking in with some fresh ideas, who does not have the limitations regarding how things are done, someone like that might be an advantage.”
Printed on Wednesday February 22, 2012 as: Lund and Brown offer specific ideas