By Elizabeth Clemente
With the Student Body elections approaching on March 7, Student Body President Cameron Cook, who is not running for re-election, is looking towards the future.
According to him, the decision not to run for a second term was fueled mainly by his desire to focus on academics next year.
“I’m gonna be, hopefully, a dual degree student in public policy next year,” said Cook, a junior majoring in political science with a minor in justice studies.
“I’m looking to be one of the first accelerated master’s students in the Carsey School next year,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t run for a second term primarily, because I’m gonna need more time to be a student.”
Cook, who is also brother of Phi Mu Delta and recently became a community educator for UNH’s Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP), said another reason he chose not to run again is because he doesn’t want to monopolize the position.
“I love this job, but I’m also not one to selfishly try to control a position just because I could,” he said. “I don’t mind giving someone else the opportunity to come in here and do something different.
”Cook and his vice president Ryan Grogan officially took office on May 1, 2015. Their campaign slogan was “It’s about you, not us.”
And, as his term has progressed over the past 10 months, Cook said his primary focus has become tackling issues related to “student engagement, finances and Title IX.”
Most recently, Cook and Grogan have been pushing for a change in the annual winter parking ban, which places restrictions on where people can park on campus overnight during the winter months. While the ban typically begins Dec. 1 and continues through the first day of April, this year’s start date was postponed until Jan. 4. At the end of last semester, he and Grogan put a motion forward asking university administrators to completely eliminate the ban for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Cook said he met with an administrator on Feb. 18 in an effort to “try to broker some type of implementation strategy to get that done.”
“Students should be optimistic that progress will be made with the winter parking ban, if not a complete elimination,” he said. “The goal is to have it eliminated for next year, and for this year, the goal is to trim it down as much as we can and make it more realistic for students.”
Along with working on the changing the ban, Cook said there are a few other key issues he and Grogan are hoping to make progress on before leaving office.
These issues include “evaluating the university conduct system” and “implementing the changes that have been recommended to the university regarding Title IX,” the latter of which he and Grogan are especially focused on and wrote a resolution about in December.
“[Grogan] and I ran on the platform that we wanna see [the] things that fall under Title IX and the way we treat those cases completely re-evaluated, and then as a result the overall culture of how we deal with things like sexual violence at UNH improved,” said Cook.
The third key issue Student Senate will be tackling is the smoking ban on campus.
In reflecting on his term as president, Cook cited the work of his vice president as vital to his past successes.
“[Grogan] has made my life a hell of a lot easier; he has worked tirelessly as well, and I think because of the title of vice president he doesn’t get enough credit for the work he does,” he said.
As for the next student body president, Cook said his biggest advice is to continue the student master plan and life address, become adept at time management and be open to hearing every new idea.
“Any idea that comes your way, don’t just dismiss it,” he said. “Even if it sounds uninteresting to you, even if it’s not your strength, the beauty of having a cabinet behind you is if it’s not your interest, there’s probably someone in your cabinet who’s interested in looking into it.”
Student body elections will take place from March 7 until March 9 through Wildcat Link. The new student body president and vice president will take office on May 1.