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By Pavel Stankov. April 8, 2013 - 11:46 am
Starting May 13, international studies major Miina Huotari, 24, will be a representative of the interests of HPU students.
Huotari swept the recent Student Body President elections with 437 votes, while her opponent Tony Perez received support from 240 students.
Next year will be crucial in the university’s history and Huotari says she is ready to tackle the responsibilities that come with her position.
Her ambitious platform emphasizes transparency, building a sense of community, and student independence. In order for the ideal of self-governance to come to fruition, however, Huotari highlights that students ought to become more active:
“It would be great if people decide they would like to be involved and make things happen, rather than just talk about what bothers them,” she says with a smile.
HPU’s Student Government Association, over which Huotari presides, will offer plenty of opportunities during the remainder of the Spring semester and throughout the Summer terms. For starters, SGA currently has six open senator positions, which Huotari tries to fill with appropriate people. The vacant seats are for representatives of Hawaii Loa Campus, Military programs, Nursing, Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as Natural Sciences, and Business majors.
Individuals who are interested in making a difference and becoming a part of the student government are encouraged to contact Huotari. Those who are eventually selected to fill these positions would still have to run in the Special Elections during the Fall 2013 semester.
Another student-run organization, the Campus Activity Board, is also looking to fill a few open spots: directors of Promotions, External Relations, Informational Technology, and Membership. The positions of Downtown Campus, HLC, and Sharky’s programmers are also presently vacant.
At the same time, Huotari is still working on her own executive branch: “I have some people that I know I can trust, but we also need others who can work hard and keep commitments.”
Huotari says she would start a dialogue with those who ran unsuccessfully in the elections in order to find motivated student leaders.
Creating a smooth transition of governance is typically not an easy process. Huotari is thus collaborating closely with current Student Body President Collin Paran and experienced senators like Downtown representative Sean DeWoody. Former Chairman of Student Organization Funding & Advisory Committee James Cavin, who was also on Huotari’s election team, is likewise deemed helpful with providing insight on student governing.
“I believe each leader is different”, comments President Paran, “Miina will certainly bring something new to the SGA”. Born and raised in Finland, the well-traveled Huotari is also a President of the HPU United Nations Club. A minor in Diplomacy and Military Studies, combined with her international perspective, will surely help Huotari bring a novel approach to the university’s student representation.
During the last couple of weeks President Paran has also been actively introducing the newly elected to key HPU administrators. Huotari is already seeking to establish a reputation of an active pursuer of transparency:
“I’m going to be reminding them they have to have students involved in every step of decision making processes, which hasn’t been their strongest side this year. I want to give them a heads-up what kind of person is going to be bugging them,” she adds.
Huotari’s rhetoric also stresses the importance of continuous and open-minded communication not only between SGA and the school’s administration, but also with other student run organizations. Transparency and involvement, as well as cooperation between departments, are, according to Huotari, the shortcut to building a real HPU community.
“For next year let’s work together to make a stronger student body,” she concludes.a
Photo: Maren Bjoergum