Kristin Wallace for President
Dune Zhu for Vice President
Q. What is your major, year in school, what do you want to do when you graduate (or grow up, whatever comes first)?
I am a junior majoring in English, with a certificate in community development. After I graduate I want to work with disadvantaged youth, build their self-esteem and help them use writing as a tool to express their creativity. I believe the voice of youth needs to be heard, and I want to help them craft their individual talents.
I am a sophomore majoring in biology. I want to be a doctor who specializes in medical research that will benefit impoverished communities around the world.
Q. Why did you choose your running mate?
Being a student parent, I have dealt with many barriers associated with access to higher education while Dune has dealt with similar obstacles as a person of color. We both come from under-represented groups that have historically been denied access to education. This is why we are running.
Kristin never ceases to amaze me. She is a mother, a student leader and someone who genuinely cares about others. She has been a constant inspiration for me as a student activist. She is affected by the issues that we work on, and her perseverance is something that will undoubtedly carry over to her work when she is president.
Q. If elected, what are the major campaigns you would continue or begin to improve student life at Portland State?
We identified three themes for the coming year that address the needs of the student body: “Access” to education, “Diversity” in our classrooms, and “Community” on our campus. Each of these themes has three important priorities we will work on throughout the year.
Access to Education is about prioritizing the financial and informational needs of students. We are working to preserve the Childcare Block Grant (CBG), to secure a new tuition freeze and to make student-written class evaluations available for student review. The CBG and tuition freeze helps students pay for their tuition. Students shouldn’t be paying more for college when our services are being eliminated. Additionally, allowing student review of student-written class evaluations allows us to make more informed decisions about the quality of our educational environment.
Diversity is an enduring challenge at Portland State. There is inherent educational value in increasing diversity, so we have prioritized these items: gaining degree-granting certification for black studies and chicano/latino studies, completing the Queer Resource Center project, and hosting recruitment and retention forums for faculty and students of color.
And for Campus Community, our priorities include Campus Public Safety Office (CPSO) accountability, setting aside family study rooms (for student parents and their children) and building student support for athletics by sponsoring “Challenge Your Athlete” days.
The success of students in higher education requires us to address realistic needs and concerns and to simultaneously build a sense of pride and accomplishment in our community. By focusing on Access, Diversity and Community, we are doing exactly that.
Q. What prior experience do you have in student government or otherwise that you feel prepares you to lead the student body of Portland State?
I am a student-parent with an ear for student issues. I began as an intern with the Student Vote Campaign, helping students understand how statewide issues affect the quality of education in Oregon. I have worked for nearly two years with the Helen Gordon Childcare Center to protect quality programs and have defended the Childcare Block Grant so student-parents stay in school. I am working with the statewide queer organization through the Oregon Student Association, and have been instrumental in the push for dental care at PSU.
I currently serve as a board member of the Oregon Students of Color Coalition and coordinate the Higher Education Act Drug Provision campaign. I have lobbied elected representatives about student issues in both Salem and Washington D.C. I have interned in ASPSU for the past year, building on my experience as Secretary of the Multicultural Association of Southern Oregon (MCA). (With my help, MCA has grown from a one-town wonder into a group that has membership across Southern Oregon.) I will intern at Oregon Action this summer, working to improve access to medical care for people in impoverished communities.
Q. What do you see as the most important aspect of the position you are applying for?
The most important aspect of the office of president is to advocate for student issues on campus and in the larger community (including in Oregon and in the United States at large). My experience in ASPSU and passion for success makes me the best candidate for the office of president.
As vice president, I will work to build strong and effective partnerships between the branches of student government and our coalition partners. I am committed to bridging the gap between the student senate and the executive branch in order to strengthen our ability to respond to student needs.
Q. This year, several senators were dismissed because they did not fulfill their senatorial obligations. How will you work to ensure that senators are held accountable for their actions or lack thereof?
Accountability of senators (and all elected officials) comes down to these specific goals:
First: Students need to be interested in participating in student governance. If they aren’t motivated, they will not be good representatives, and they shouldn’t be in office.
Second: Setting clear expectations of involvement for each person. Senators’ responsibility to constituents is most effective when expectations are understandable, including attendance and participation requirements.
Third: The campus needs to know who our representatives are; Student representatives should be clearly identifiable and accessible through whatever means prove most effective.