Meet your new student body president and vice president

Plans for the 65th session include internal reform

Avery Shanahan

More stories from Avery Shanahan

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October 13, 2021
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Jaden Mikoulinskii and Justin Schilling are the new student body president and vice president.

Jaden Mikoulinskii, a third-year sociology student, will lead as president of the 65th session of  UW-Eau Claire’s Student Senate. 

Mikoulinskii, a first-generation college student, said she became invested in campus climate over the summer and decided she wanted to be more involved with the government on campus. 

She said she originally had no idea what went into the senate but saw a post from one of the members of the current cabinet on their social media page about running for office.

After a brief conversation with Anna Ziebell and Joe Murphy, the current president and vice president of Student Senate, Mikoulinskii was put on the nomination ticket for the 64th session.

Mikoulinskii said she saw a lot of issues with the process of how senators and positions of directorship were appointed. 

In her first semester in the senate, Mikoulinskii was appointed Commission Director of the Academic Affairs committee. 

In this directorship, Mikoulinskii was in charge of managing a $10.8 million budget and oversaw the commission.

Mikoulinskii describes herself as someone who gets things done and takes certain matters very seriously. She said she found a running mate that has been able to balance her out. 

Justin Schilling, a third-year Broadfield Social Studies student, will be UW-Eau Claire’s Student Vice President. 

Mikoulinskii praised Schilling for his easy-going attitude, institutional knowledge and overall senate experience.

“Justin really balances me out,” Mikoulinskii said

Schilling said he joined Senate his first year at UW-Eau Claire by accident. 

After previously being the mascot at his high school, his family and advisors encouraged him to apply to become Blu the Blugold. 

“I meant to click performer, but apparently I applied for the (student mascot) coordinator,” Schilling said. 

He was the student mascot coordinator for two semesters and moved on to be the chief of staff for the 63rd session. 

Schilling is currently the Commission Director of Communications in the 64th session. 

Both Mikoulinskii and Schilling discussed taking care of internal affairs reform within the Senate for the next session. 

Their goal for their ticket nominations was to include more representation throughout the senate. 

“We were looking at first-year students, students of marginalized identities and athletes,” Mikoulinskii said. “Now a third of our tickets come from the first-year class and a third are students of color.”

Elizabeth TenBarge, a first-year comprehensive political science legal studies student, said she is excited to join the body in the 65th session. 

“They are consistently trying to allocate more money to help students, or do things to support different voices,” TenBarge said. “It is just really awesome and something I’m excited to be a part of next year.”

TenBarge was introduced to Student Senate when she took on the role of Student Senate representative for Bridgeman Hall on campus. 

To get more involved and discover more about the logistics of Senate, she joined the Academics Affairs commission as well as the Housing Accountability Committee.

These organizations and specific connections within the Academic Affairs commission led TenBarge to a spot on the Mikoulinksii-Schilling nomination ticket.

Mikoulinskii talked about the passing of the Sonnentag Complex referendum and a lack of the Rally for Excellence project, and said the senate now has more time to work on internal and campus issues. 

She said she is really pushing for requirements of meetings between senate members and departments that are applicable to written legislation. 

“Next year the first initiative I really want to push forward is adequate training of our senators,” Mikoulinskii said. “They need to know that they need to meet with these departments prior to putting forth this legislation.”

Schilling said he will be focusing on the construction and reform of new projects in the 65th session. 

Specifically, he said he will make sure the construction of the new Sonnentag Complex is done using sustainable practices and is equally accessible to all students.

TenBarge said she will focus on creating more stable communication between On-Campus Housing and the administration.

“Encouraging housing administration to communicate more clearly with housing residents as well as their employees, is something I’m personally going to be spear-heading through my role in Senate,” TenBarge said. 

Mikoulinskii said joining student government is not only a great way to network and gain professional communication skills but is also a great environment to create personal relationships. 

“If students want a say in what the future of student governance looks like, but also a seat at the table to make those decisions with the university,” Mikoulinskii said. “Student Senate is perfect for them, whether you’re pre-law or not.” 

Both Mikoulinskii and Schilling said they are very excited to get the ball rolling with the 65th session and encourage any students interested in improving the campus climate to consider applying.

Shanahan can be reached at [email protected]