Rathke’s Run for UNH Student Body President


Dina Rathke, 2023-2024 Student Body President candidate.

Sarah Donovan, Content Editor

With a year’s term already under her belt as the Vice President of the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Student Senate, Dina Rathke, a second-year communication major intends to use her experience to continue her leadership on the student senate as the 2023-2024 student body president. 

“I’m running for student body president because I found such a passion for this role this year being vice president,” Rathke said. “I absolutely love what I’m able to accomplish in this role and the change I can facilitate. I also loved changing the culture of the student senate and making it a much more positive place for senators to make it a place where they can learn and grow and flourish.” 

Rathke outlined three main goals she’d like to accomplish as president. First, she wants to bring the Prevention Plan to the best level it can be to serve as a strong resource for students in preventing sexual assault. In partnership with SHARPP and UNH Health & Wellness, the Prevention Plan aims to provide sexual assault prevention courses to educate students on steps they can take to prevent interpersonal violence. 

Second, Rathke intends to enhance accessible transportation on campus. Many students on campus have regularly voiced their displeasure with the bus system being unreliable, according to Rathke. She hopes to be able to create a bus stop at the UNH Woodsides apartment complex and make transportation more reliable.

Lastly, Rathke said that she wants more students to see the student senate as a resource. Partnering with student organizations on campus such as The New Hampshire (TNH) in creating The Presidential Podcast, Rathke wants to see student senate engage with students in new ways; the podcast is a new form of media that is easy for students to digest information, and use student senate as a resource. 

The core pillar of the student senate’s constitution is “being the official voice of the student body,” Rathke said. 

Rathke said this value resonates with her and speaks to her leadership abilities “because [she’s]not afraid to voice [her] opinion, even if it’s the most unpopular one in the room.” She further explained that she can state her opinion among upper-level administrators and provosts and she believes this adds to her leadership capabilities.

“I want to make sure that students are always being put first and that’s something I’ve honored my entire term,” Rathke emphasized. She said that she has called forward discussions to address inequities of sorority recruitment, even as a sorority woman herself, she affirmed that any issues that students may face, she is there to address, and her affiliation to an organization not influencing her actions she may take if elected student body president.

When asked about fostering a positive environment within student senate, Rathke said that she and Emily Dennison, current student body president, worked incredibly hard to elect and invite people into the space who really had a passion for student government, as well as having students of diverse backgrounds in senate contributing their voices to reflect the voice of UNH’s students.

“My biggest goal with the prioritization of student voices is I want to make sure that at every single one of those meetings, every single one of those little subcommittees, there’s at least one student there being able to listen and talk for students,” highlighted Rathke. She also emphasized that it’s important that students can identify with at least one person on the student senate who will voice their opinion and work for what they want to see.

Rathke said a fundamental pillar of her platform is facilitating campus collaboration. Seeing a greater turnout at the second U-Day in the spring is important to her to feature all of the organizations UNH has to offer students, and to make sure that students know that they can find an organization that they find the most enjoyable to be a part of.

Further, Rathke discussed that earlier this year the student senate held nine events through the many councils that the student senate encompasses. Each council tailors their events towards the area they’re most focused on, but campus collaboration was really fundamental in creating engaging events that appealed to the entire UNH community. Rathke recounted Party to the Polls, an event that involved many student orgs. such as Community & Civic Engagement and transportation to the polls located at Oyster River highschool on the 2022 midterm election day, supporting Trans UNH in hosting their Day of Remembrance vigil and Dogs and Donuts in collaboration with UNH PD to nurture a better relationship between the students and police. 

Rathke said that her favorite part of UNH is “the friendships I’ve made and the organizations that brought me those friendships.” “I’ve found that being at UNH has really brought out the best version of myself,” said Rathke. She hopes to use her platform and proposed policies as UNH’s student body president for the 2023-2024 school year.