A California transfer and a fourth generation Boilermaker have come together to run for president and vice president, respectively, in hopes of bringing other Purdue students together.
Presidential candidate Kyle Pendergast, a junior in the College of Engineering, and his vice presidential candidate Meg Highley, a junior in the College of Health and Human Sciences, are both Purdue Student Government senators hoping to move up and make a greater impact on the Purdue community.
Their slogan, “Join the Team,” takes on multiple meanings. The first being that they want everyone to know that in theory, they are a part of “Team Purdue.” Metaphorically, they want to promote individual goals and have the momentum of a collective to keep progressing.
“We all have different views and identities,” Pendergast said. “We have the ability as a student government to tap into those.”
Second, “team” stands for the four initiatives of their platform: tackling tuition, enriching the experiences, accelerating academics and moving Purdue together.
One of their initiatives for tackling tuition would outline four years of tuition for incoming students. It wouldn’t necessarily stop tuition from going up, but rather help students plan for their future with guaranteed rates for the coming four years.
“We want people to be able to plan financially for their future,” Pendergast said. “If you know what your finances are before you go into school, you can say, ‘Hey, I know how much to save.’”
Additionally, Pendergast helped introduce the OnePurdue Scholarship for “an influential Boilermaker who has made a significant, positive impact on campus.” The first OnePurdue scholar will be chosen in April. This is an initiative they want to continue and possibly expand later on.
Academics and tuition are only the base of their platform. The next step is to “enrich the experience” for Purdue students.
Highley, being a fourth generation Purdue student, finds a lot of value in Purdue traditions. The pair want to further this under their “enriching the experience” initiative by establishing an awards ceremony for individual students who excelled as leaders and by facilitating a ring ceremony for graduating seniors.
Finally, to “accelerate academics,” Pendergast and Highley want to foster “syllabus transparency.” They want to include full syllabi and course descriptions on myPurdue for students when selecting classes.
Currently, the only information a student can receive about a course is either word-of-mouth or from a brief sentence on myPurdue.
Their campaign is based around a community effort, exemplified by the “Pendergast/Highley 10K Challenge,” an effort to raise $10,000 for Purdue Dance Marathon during the two weeks of campaigning.
“It’s not about PUDM,” Pendergast said. “It’s about bringing students together ... to show that you can make a difference under one common goal.”
The candidates’ campaign is based on tradition and unity and their platform reflects that.
As Highley said, the tradition and mission are what’s most important about Purdue.
“I’m extremely passionate about Purdue,” Highley said. “I have a deep respect for its traditions and I’d like to continue fostering growth while keeping our roots in being a land grant institution.”