With less than a week until UVUSA elections, Team Limitless is in crunch mode. Working non-stop to prepare UVU for the 2014-2015 school year, whether they win or lose.
“The school is in the middle of lobbying for state funds, you wouldn’t believe how crazy everything is right now,” Ryan Edward Kent, Team Limitless’ presidential candidate, said.
Team Limitless, in addition to running their campaign, is already steeped in UVU’s future, participating in community outreach and looking for money to ease the burden of the under-funded university.
If there were one word to describe Team Limitless, it would have to be “hungry.” And with a leader like Kent, they couldn’t help it. This presidential campaign has been years in the making for him and he has carefully crafted his team and their goals for the university.
Team Limitless has established four platforms they will run on: Envision, Inform, Collaborate and Expound.
For Limitless, preparing for the more distant future of UVU is as important as planning for the next school year.
“The basic essence of ‘envision’ is that a good leader has a good vision for the future,” Kent said. “It’s been projected that by 2020 there will be 42,000-46,000 students at UVU. That’s only six years away and we need to start preparing now.”
Envision takes on a far-reaching role for Limitless. They plan to help future UVUSA elects save time by establishing what they call a “skeleton plan.” This plan will include the “bare bones” of a yearly schedule.
“It’s not saying you need to do things just like we did, but it’s a way of making things easier on the next group,” Olivia Bowen, candidate for VP of Academics, said. “If they know that every November we do this activity and every February we do that activity, it’ll be easier to make plans.”
Limitless has a vision comprable to that held by President Holland himself. They have considered long-time growth, future building construction and potential room for large-scale improvements.
“Like the new Student Health and Wellness building,” Kent said, “it’s the jewel of UVU. It’s unique. It’s the only university building in the state paid for by the students. We want to take that example and apply it to issues like parking.”
One of their biggest visions for improving student life on campus has to do with the ultimate removal of a building.
“We envision UVU without a testing center,” Kent said. “There are less than 10 universities in the nation that have testing centers and we’re one of them. Getting rid of the testing center will save money for the university, which it’s in dire need of and, I believe, it’ll raise test scores. Studies have shown that people do better when they test in the same room where they learned the material.”
The second platform Limitless stands on is “Inform”—an improvement that the team deems as essential.
“It’s no secret that UVU has over 30,000 students, but our activities are no where near that,” Kent said.
Their main task to tackle in informing the student populations is implementing better calendars and increasing the use of social media.
“We plan on expanding our social media,” Bowen said. “We have a Facebook page, UVU Radio, and the phone app, but they are largely under utilized. They are currently an on-the-side thing, when they should be the main tool.”
Limitless thinks that easily accessible information is key to providing students with a sense of belonging on campus. This team is dedicated to helping students find their unique place on campus.
“Students who are involved do better,” Kent said. “They get better grades and are happier. We want all our students to have the opportunity of being involved on campus.”
For Team Limitless, inform goes beyond better calendars and extends to students recognizing UVU’s untapped resources.
“Students don’t know that over 50 percent of scholarships offered by the university go unextended,” Kent said.
Bowen, who works as a recruiter for the university knows about all the unused resources on campus.
“There are so many amazing opportunities on campus that students aren’t using simply because they don’t know about them or don’t understand them,” Bowen said.
For Limitless, this unfamiliarity with campus is a key issue.
“Students, especially freshmen, don’t know campus,” Spencer Brown, candidate for VP of Clubs, said. “How can you truly get invovled and find your place on campus when you have no real connection to it.”
For Limitless, educating students about the opportunities clubs have to offer is as vital to their success as informing them of more academic resources.
“Clubs are where you find and express your passion,” Rondon said.
But Limitless realizes that getting the student body involved will take imagination and commitment.
Their third platform, collaboration, Limitless believes is key to successfully representing the student voice on campus.
“Coordination is key to getting people involved,” Paola Rondon, candidate for VP of Student Life/Activities, said.
One concern on the minds of the team memebers is that students shouldn’t have to make a choice between things they want to be involved in. Rondon sees the double, triple and sometimes quadruple scheduling of activities on a single night at the same time limits a student’s ability to become truly involved. Where the team believes that opportunities should be “limitless,” this history of scheduling conflicts simply won’t do.
“I believe that we should involve every single student,” Rondon said, “and we can’t do that if they don’t know what’s going on and they aren’t free to try new things.”
Rondon thinks that when a problem is as easily solved as planning ahead and communicating, that there are no excuses.
“If we plan during the summer when things are slow,” Rondon said, “we won’t have to worry about scheduling over each other. If we just sit down and plan an established calendar the problem is solved.
Another problem Team Limitless sees is the lack of activities for the broad spectrum of students enrolled at UVU.
“Most of our activities are currently geared to 18, 19 and 20-year olds, “Tom Hawkins, candidate for executive VP, said. “Many of our students are 25, 26, 27 years old, some are married with kids and don’t want to go to a dance for a bunch of teenagers.”
Hawkins believes that the university owes it to its students to create activities that will appeal and accommodate everyone.
“If you have kids, it’s difficult to come to campus for an event, especially in the evenings,” Hawkins said. “We want to try and work with Wee Care to see if we can work out something so that students will have child care during major activities on campus.”
Limitless’ final platform, and arguably the one they are most passionate about, is expound. For Limitless, all their other goals funnel down into their desire to expound on the successes UVU and UVUSA has already had.
“Other universities see UVU as a sleeping giant,” Kent said. “It’s time that the students do as well.”
Limitless sees the potential strength that lies with the emerging culture of UVU.
“It’s exciting to be the generation who will define the culture of UVU,” Bowen said. “We get to define how the world will see us.”
Team Limitless will go head-to-head in a debate with Team Rise on Feb. 25 at noon on Center Stage.
Nicole Shepard is an Integrated Studies major at UVU. She is emphasizing in Writing Studies, Journalism and Peace and Justice Studies, and will graduate spring 2014. Nicole is hoping to work in cause journalism and advocate for restorative justice practices. She has lived in Europe three times she is also considering graduate school in the UK. Nicole is the news editor for the UVU Review.