Marquette Student Government Legislative Vice President and presidential candidate Kyle Whelton, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, doesn’t feel insulted when he gets called a “nerd.” In fact, he wholeheartedly embraces it.
“I think I am pretty nerdy,” Whelton said. “In a good way, though. I get really passionate about things that are just quirky.”
Whelton is known around MUSG for being hardworking and detail-oriented. He is also known for being unparalleled in his proficiency in parliamentary procedure. His personality earned him respect among his peers in student government, and he now hopes to bring it to the MUSG presidency.
“It was something that the more I thought about, the more I felt drawn to,” Whelton said.
Whelton’s running mate is Natalie Pinkney, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, who Whelton knows through shared experiences in Greek life. Like Whelton, Pinkney pursued leadership roles on campus and has held positions such as Cobeen Hall Senator, a resident assistant in McCormick Hall and vice president for membership on Marquette’s Panhellenic Council, the governing body for Marquette sororities.
But her experience wasn’t the biggest reason for her selection, Whelton said.
“She’s someone who isn’t afraid to challenge me,” he said. “ I think that’s really important. I think that the last thing that any executive needs by their side is a ‘yes’ man.”
Like the ticket of Programs Vice President Tyler Tucky, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, and Rosie De Luca, a junior in the College of Business, Whelton and Pinkney are focusing their campaign around student outreach. Specifically, Whelton made efforts as LVP to encourage senators to attend events to directly communicate with students, rather than just hosting office hours and waiting for students to come to them.
Student involvement came to the forefront of MUSG’s agenda last week when President Sam Schultz, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, was criticized for not including a student on the hiring committees for the new programs vice president, communications vice president and financial vice president. It is constitutionally required for a student to be on the hiring committee, and as a result, approval of the CVP was delayed one week so it could be reviewed by Judicial Administrator Sarah Miller, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Miller since ruled the absence of student involvement on the CVP hiring committee a violation of the letter of the constitution, but not its spirit. She will release her ruling on the PVP and FVP positions Thursday night.
Additionally, Whelton and Pinkney are aiming to increase fiscal responsibility within MUSG and find somewhere to invest the reserve fund.
“Students are not happy about the fact that there’s $250,000 in the reserve fund,” Whelton said.
To combat this, Whelton suggested the fund be spent updating the workout equipment in some of the dorms and purchasing a new van for club sports.
They also hope to tackle university sustainability, diversity and Student Organization Funding reform. Whelton said SOF is in “dire need” of reform; however, if his ticket is elected, he will not be the one in charge of the committee as the duty is delegated to the EVP.
Pinkney, though she served on the Senate, never served on the SOF Committee or applied for funding outside of MUSG. Pinkney said she thinks her lack of knowledge may be an advantage, and her need to learn about the process might allow her to better work with students who are struggling with it.
As for shortcomings, Whelton said he is well aware his campaign has some, and knows students may be turned off by the presence of two MUSG insiders on his ticket.
However, MUSG Off-Campus Senator Lukas Baker, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences who works closely with Whelton, said his forthrightness with his potential shortcomings is representative of his leadership style.
“Somebody who thinks they can just come in to the position and know everything scares me,” Baker said. “It’s not a weakness to not know something and think you need to improve.”