ASA freshman senators share goals, expectations

Now that the fall Augustana Student Association (ASA) elections are over, the newly elected freshman senators are getting ready to step into their roles. Freshman senators Jonah Kost, Megan Richardson, Scott Shlanta and Benita Manzengo  were chosen to represent the freshman class. The new  senators all share their expectations and goals for ASA in the 2020-2021 school year.

Jonah Kost

Hometown: Aberdeen, SD

Majors: Journalism and Government

What made you want to run for ASA?

I wanted to run for ASA for a few reasons. I love government and participating in student government. I started because my high school banned Birkenstocks, and I thought it was a silly rule. I went to a school board meeting and was able to get Birkenstocks back at my high school. Ever since then, I have enjoyed making change in my community and feel like I am a good fit for what it takes. 

There are always changes to be made, and I want to use my voice and platform to make those changes. 

I wanted to run here at Augustana to get out of my comfort zone, too. I was the only person from my graduating class to come here, so I didn’t know a lot of people in my Augie class before move-in day. 

I can be a bit of a shy person until you get to know me, but I always love meeting new people and making connections. I thought that becoming an ASA senator would give me a platform to serve my community better and also make more connections with my class and upperclassmen.

What are your goals for ASA this year?

This year for ASA, I want to find creative ways for freshmen to meet each other and have fun, all while following the guidelines to keep us safe. Because of masks and social distancing, it can be hard to organize events safely. In my first few weeks here, I have found it difficult to meet new people who aren’t in my FYS, other classes or floor. 

I think that it would be awesome to come up with safe and fun ways to meet new people while also stopping the spread of COVID-19.

What are you looking forward to the most about ASA?

I am looking forward most to making more connections with my class and being a voice for them in the senate. It is an incredible honor to be elected by my class when some of them haven’t even met me yet. 

I am excited to meet everyone in my class and learn more about what I can do to best serve and represent them.

Megan Richardson

Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD

Major: Biology

What made you want to run for ASA?

I decided to run for ASA because I want to continue to improve our amazing campus here at Augustana and become involved in making a change.

What are your goals for ASA this year?

My goal for ASA this year is to help navigate new norms with the unique times that we are in. In order to do this, I hope to provide socially distant and safe activities over the weekends and create more ways for freshmen to meet each other.

What are you looking forward to the most about ASA?

I am most looking forward to helping out and participating in something that is bigger than me. This organization gives students a place to go with new ideas or concerns, along with the confidence in knowing we will do our best to help.

Benita Manzengo

Hometown: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Majors: Government and Psychology

What made you want to run for ASA?

Myself. I literally made myself run. I wanted to force myself out of the comfort zone I had put myself in since I came to the U.S. I needed to take a step toward the person I want to become.

What are your goals for ASA this year?

Among other things, one of my plans is community building. I want to create a community that brings first-year local students and international students together. There is a lot we can learn from each other, and I am really excited about that. 

What are you looking forward to the most about ASA?

I am looking forward to meeting every member of the ASA team this year and learning from them. I want to know what made them take the opportunity to run and how it impacted their lives. 

I am mostly looking forward to seeing how this journey will shape us, not only as a community but also as individuals.

Scott Shlanta

Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD

Majors: Biology and Data Science

What made you want to run for ASA?

The idea of student government has always been appealing to me, but it was the encouragement of my friends and classmates that really put my heart into the campaign.

What are your goals for ASA this year?

My most immediate goal is to make sure that everyone living in Augustana’s quarantine facilities feels comfortable. I have heard stories about other universities that have neglected their students in quarantine, so I want to ensure that the people quarantining at Augustana have the basic necessities they need to be successful (e.g. food, toilet paper, wifi, etc.). 

In the long term, I am interested in finding sustainability solutions on campus. Considering the support for sustainable living that we have seen from clubs like Augie Green and the university itself, I am extremely optimistic about our ability to make positive change at high levels. 

What are you looking forward to the most about ASA?

Secretly, I am hoping to get a bill passed by challenging another senator to a rap battle, but on a serious note, ASA has been the source of many concrete improvements at Augustana. I am simply humbled to be entrusted with the power to make my school better.

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