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Jayhawkers Presidential Candidate: MacKenzie Oatman

The Student Senate race is close to over! Make sure you are keeping up with the candidates and their platforms so you can be an informed voter during elections next week! Today, meet MacKenzie Oatman, the presidential candidate from the Jayhawkers coalition.


1. What are most significant values and messages of your campaign?

The most significant message of Jayhawkers is that everyone has a voice and say in their Student Government. We’ve made it a point to reach and and talk to students in every community and niche at KU. Our values and mission statement really encapsulate the idea that we want to work with students and better this university together.

2.     What are the specific focuses and major changes you hope to make if you win?

We broke our platform into three categories, so students could get a better feel for what we want to accomplish. The three categories are Conserve KU, Strengthen KU and Beyond KU. We have a list of platform initiatives on our Facebook, but a couple of my favorites include: Increasing outdoor recycling, expanding intersession classes and revamping PRE 101 classes. But in a more general sense, I think that KU could do a better job at connecting students to resources. There are so many ways to get involved and there are a ton of resources that students pay for that they don’t even know exist.

3.     If elected, what is the first thing you will address?

I hope to start on all of our initiatives quickly if we were elected. I think I would really try to work on our Late Night in the Union platform as well as our winter classes initiative. I think those are two platforms that I would really like to see implemented this fall and winter so that will take a lot of work right off the bat.

4.     When you’re not being President, what are you doing for fun?

Probably watching binge watching TV on Netflix (especially with Pokemon making its debut). It’s nice to just relax sometimes and take a break since the campaign takes up the majority of my time.

5.     Growing up, did you ever think you would run for something like this?

Probably not. I’ve always been a “people person” and enjoyed working with others, but I was kind of a shy kid growing up (there are a lot of people who might disagree) and was afraid to put myself out there.

6.     What makes Jayhawkers unique?

I’ve been involved with a lot of organizations at KU, but without a doubt the Jayhawkers crew are the most passionate, hardworking people I’ve met at this university. Also, we are the only coalition that let’s our members vote on what initiatives we announce. At every meeting we present ideas and let our coalition vet them. All you have to do is come to one of our meetings to be a member.

7.     Why should people vote for you?

That is a great question. I think the fact that I have three years of Senate experience under my belt and a diversity of involvement on this campus makes me the most qualified candidate. It’s important that our student leaders have been involved in more than just senate. This campus is so diverse, and to truly understand students and what they need, you have to understand their perspective. I love this campus. I’ve worked for three years to continue to improve it. Helping students succeed and giving a voice to students is my biggest passion.

8.     What does it mean to you to be the President of the student body?

Being president of the student body means a lot to me. I know there are so many ways to improve KU and I am so passionate about making these things happen. Being Student Body President and being able to help improve the lives of KU students would be a dream come true.

9.     What does your family think about your running for student senate?

They’re very excited about it! A little sad that they won’t see much of me until the campaign is over, but they’re very excited. My grandparents actually offered to come pass out fliers and my younger sisters have been very active on social media. It’s been really nice to have their support.

10. How do you balance a social life, school work and winning this campaign?

It’s definitely not easy keeping the balance. But, what I love about being involved student, is it forces you to manage your time effectively. But to be very honest, my main focus right now has been this campaign. I want every student to feel like they have equity in our campaign, so I’ve been working non-stop to meet with as many students as I can. Everything else has been on the back burner.


11. What does it take to be a successful President? What characteristics of a person are required to truly make a difference?

A successful president first of all needs to listen to their peers and constituents. Becoming president isn’t just about what I want to see improved about the University, it’s about what the entire student body wants. A president also needs to be driven to get the job done and motivated to make a change.

12. What inspired you or motivated you to get involved with student senate?

I remember seeing Student Senate tabling at the New Student Orientation fair, and after hearing about what all they did, I knew I wanted to be a part of this organization and help students. I decided to run in the freshman elections, I ended up winning a seat and ever since then I’ve tried to get as involved in Senate as possible.

13. How has being part of Jayhawkers changed you?

I think it’s made me a better leader and it has truly driven me to want to make positive changes on campus. I knew there were so many things we could do as students to make campus better, but it’s been wonderful to see how much of an impact students can make.

Senior studying journalism, strategic communicaions emphaisis, at the University of Kansas. dog lover • cat cuddler • runner • writer • explorer Twitter & Instagram: MacLeanderFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/mackenzie.leander 
Laura Lyndall Fagen is a junior at the University of Kansas majoring in Strategic Communications and Theater. She is a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters and loves all things volunteering.
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