Donaldson, Wodwaski battle for top student post


Two candidates are campaigning to succeed Ben Westphal as student body president at Detroit Mercy.

Westphal announced weeks ago that he would be stepping aside.

Kenneth Donaldson and Nathan Wodwaski are running for the top Student Government Association position.

The election is underway now, with voting continuing through Friday, March 29. All students are eligible to vote.

The Varsity News posed questions to both candidates.

Here’s what they had to say:


What is your name, and major?

Donaldson: “Kenneth Donaldson and I am a sophomore political science major here on campus.”

Wodwaski: “Nathan Wodwaski and I am currently in the five-year cyber-security to intelligence analysis program; however, I am simultaneously in the pre-law legal studies program here on campus as well.”


Why do you want to run for president?

Donaldson: “I really would like to make positive change on this campus. This school has such a high potential to be great and serve every part of the Detroit Mercy community. Positive change is not something too far out of reach. It is attainable and begins with the right person to lead.”

Wodwaski: “There are grave injustices taking place on campus that need to change. … I believe that as a Jesuit Mercy community we all should be treated as equals and everyone should be treated fairly. What is occurring on campus is neither of those things.”


Have you held a political position before?

Donaldson: “Beyond my studies and current position as a two-time student government senator, I am the current vice president for the politics and law students. This is a club on campus that focuses on student interest in the political and legal fields through discussion and programming.”

Wodwaski: “I have held numerous political and leadership positions. I am currently serving as a senator for CLAE as well as a member of the Detroit Mercy Homecoming Committee. During my high school career, I achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, as well as being the captain of the varsity track and field team, where I ended up graduating valedictorian of my class.”


What gave you the idea to run for president?

Donaldson: “Honestly, it was always an intention of mine after joining the student government (SGA) organization my freshman year. My original intention when I joined SGA was to make positive change on this campus, and to fix the dissatisfaction as a result of deficiencies seen by myself and my peers. This year, there has been a lot of changes happening in the organization and I really began to contemplate where in the organization I thought my expertise would be best utilized. I decided that it was time for me to go for it, and run for president.”

Wodwaski: “The thing that really gave me the idea to run for president was the fact that whenever someone would come up with a great idea to benefit the campus, no one knew how to implement it. I realized that someone needed to step up and be an advocate for these issues and ideas. Someone needed to be able to stand up against administration and push these changes that would severely improve student lives. I know that I would be able to fulfill this role exceptionally well; I feel that I can bring a fresh perspective to this campus and am able and ready to go toe-to-toe with the administration.”


What is your biggest plan when it comes to bringing change to the university?

Donaldson: “My biggest plan is to improve student life drastically. A lot of things need to be improved (like) times of service from our cafeteria. Metz does not accommodate our needs as students, especially on the weekends. This would require meetings and planning headed by myself as the student government president and the food committee to go and negotiate on behalf of the students. There is a lack of fun and exciting activities that cause social interaction on campus resulting in students often complaining about being bored. As a result, campus is a very quiet place with the exodus of students, both commuter and residential, as soon as the weekend hits. To fix this, student government should work with already existing social organizations and fill this gap by planning additional events that interest students. Clubs are going underfunded due to the lack of organization and efficiency in giving out grant money. This would be fixed by a suggestion I made to the student government to implement a budget sheet that orgs would fill out showing their upcoming expenses so that we can completely exhaust our yearly grant budget. Communication between students and administration also is not very good. This can be improved by announcements from administration coming to the student government and the organization utilizing social media to spread the word. By targeting these, you start to improve student life and begin to rebuild a certain pride in this school that has not been seen here for years.”

Wodwaski: “I don’t know if I would say that I have a biggest plan for change. I feel that a lot of what I hope to push for would be beneficial in its own way and is heavily planned out already. Some of the things that I already have planned are re-opening the Livernois gate, increasing Greek Life involvement on campus, implementing a to-go box system in TDR and extending dining service hours.


What excites you about becoming president?

Donaldson: “What excites me is the ability to be a strong facilitator for change. It is one thing to be able to see and frequently talk about things that bother us as students. It is another to have the platform to change them. I find this to be an honor, and would use this power to the best of my ability for all students on this campus.”

Wodwaski: “What excites me about becoming president is the ability to be able to have a real positive impact on not just the UDM community as a whole, but on an individual level as well. Instead of just hearing the voices of the student body, I would be able to act upon them more-so than what I am already doing now. I would be able to have a much greater impact on the UDM community and would be able to improve so many more students lives.”