Beyer preps for top spot

While UND will have new student leadership next year, the student body president and vice president have plenty of experience at the university.

Senior Brandon Beyer and Sophomore Blake Andert ran unnopposed for the positions, and last week they were elected to the top positions in student government. 

Beyer spent this past school year as student body treasurer, while Andert is currently the chief of staff on the student government executive team. Beyer had previously been a student senator, while Andert was the chair of the Student Organization Funding Agency.

This year’s student government elections were relatively uncompetitive compared to most years, and 590 students, less than 4 percent of the student population, voted.

“It is concerning, it is a concerning precedent to set,” Beyer said. “I don’t want to see five or ten years down the road, the majority of the years people just aren’t participating.”

UND’s sparse turnout and lack of candidates contrasted with NDSU’s which had four teams vying for the presidency and over 20 percent of eligible voters participate. 

This year’s number were also a stark departure from recent elections, which amounted to 2194 in 2014 and 2,679 in 2015. 

Beyer said more could be done to increase access for students who want to run for student office, like lowering the amount of signatures required to get on the ballot and the maximum amount of money a student can raise for the campaign.

Currently, 250 signatures are required to get a ticket on the ballot for president and vice president, and students can raise a maximum of $3,000.

Beyer said that while the budget cuts are a large topic of conversation around the university, he is optimistic they will be part of putting the university on a foundation for next year.

“At the end of the day, I know he (Interim President Ed Schafer) will do well in determining in what stays and what goes,” Beyer said, “Not everyone’s going to be happy after this time. You can’t go through a 5 or 10 percent budget cut and not notice it. People will be affected, and it’s just something that you can’t really avoid, but you just try to mitigate the damage as much as possible.”

Beyer said he has already starting developing relationships with members of the state Legislature, which will be in session during next school year while he is student body president.

“So when it does come time for legislative session, we have people we can talk to and hopefully vie for some beneficial changes for UND,” Beyer said.

Beyer also said increasing the ties between UND and Grand Forks will be an important part of his time as student body president.

“You just want to get students involved in the community. I think that the link between Grand Forks and UND itself could be stronger,” Beyer said. “The more that we push for it, the better they’ll be. It’s a mutual benefit for both parties.”

The Student Senate will also have a different make up than this year, but Beyer said he knows many of them and that many, like Andert and himself, have been involved around campus.

“There are some returning people, there are people are coming from other portions of student government,” Beyer said. “We wanted a diversity of opinions.” 

In the Student Senate will be John T. Opland, Nicolas Hanson, Chris Petschen, Eric Souvannasacd, Eric Gefroh, Matthew Adamson, Daniel Frank, Laurie Fried, Michael Kelsch, Kaleb Dschaak, Conrad Kranz, Taylor Bovee, Jake Wahlin, Ashley VanderBush, Tucker Haffner, Nicholas Young, Layton Erickson, Hannah Carlson and John Bjorklund. Several other elections that result in a tie will be decided in the near future by Student Senate.

Tomohiro Tanaka, Ethan Glidden, Sam Lerma, Nicolas Hanson, Eric Souvannasacd, Muneeb Hyder, Shane Hill, Blair Nelson, Chris Petschen, and Jake Ocken will be the student representatives to University Senate.

For more information on the election results, visit

Sean Cleary is the editor-in-chief for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]