Landon Brickey and Emily Smith hope to Renew Mizzou in presidential bid

Running on a platform of transparency and positive change, the duo hopes to leave MU a better place than they found it.

By Alejandra Vargas

Juniors Landon Brickey and Emily Smith had one thing in common when they met for their first Zoom: wanting to change MU for the better. Running on the Missouri Students Association presidential ticket as Renew Mizzou, the duo hopes to streamline the relationship the student body has with administration and implement change campus-wide.

Landon Brickey, who is studying strategic communications and political science, hails from Dallas, Texas and says he fell in love with MU’s campus the moment he came to tour it. Brickey was inspired to run for MSA president because he “want[s] to leave Mizzou a better place than [he] found it,” and the inspiration continued to grow as he served time in MSA, both as a senator and as a member of the First Year Council his freshman year.

Emily Smith, also a strategic communications major and minoring in French, is a St. Louis native who wants to continue to serve campus through the vice presidency. She served as president of the Delta Gamma sorority in 2020 and has also been involved with Tour Team since her freshman year.

Renew Mizzou’s platform consists of four points and several other project ideas: COVID-19 response and transparency, mental health education and resources, sexual health education and support for students, faculty and staff of color.

Wanting to make their platform as inclusive and equitable as possible, the pair decided that consulting experts was essential for their platform.

“We really sat down and talked to each other and other students on campus and experts in the field,” Brickey said. They spoke to experts, students and faculty on campus before officially stating their campaign positions.

Brickey mentioned that their platform spoke to the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center and the director of Student Health & Well-Being to develop their platform point on sexual health education. They plan to build upon the university’s existing resources by discussing campus wide needs with students, faculty and staff.

Brickey and Smith have also proposed using existing infrastructure, such as the MU STRIPES program, to establish accessibility to vaccine and testing sites that are frequently off-campus.

Transparency etiquette is something both Smith and Brickey emphasize heavily, especially regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has caused more than 3,100 MU student cases.

“MU does a great job of establishing programs, but they fail at communicating it, and the student body doesn’t know that they’re available,” said Brickey.

The Renew Mizzou platform wants to streamline communication between administration and the student body.

As president and vice president, the two would be in direct communication with MU administration several times a week and would aim to ensure that student concerns are constantly being addressed by administration.

The duo hopes to cut the middleman out of the conversation and directly deliver information to MU students in an attempt to increase transparency.

When asked what set them apart from their opponent, Ready to Roar, Brickey and Smith believe that they acknowledge big-ticket issues that the opposing campaign does not.

“We met with so many groups and experts, and we have COVID as one of our main platforms, and they don’t, despite the fact that we’ve been living in a pandemic for a year,” Brickey said.

Ready to Roar has made a fall break, the return of COVID-19-safe intramural sports and the unification of all Greek life councils central points of their platform, contrasting sharply with the health- and education-heavy platform that Renew Mizzou emphasizes.

Smith agreed. “A lot of our platforms are a lot more relevant in comparison,” she said. “Students would benefit much more from RSVP, [the] counseling center and STRIPES than a fall break that isn’t feasible or intramural sports.”

While COVID-19 cases continue to drop both at MU and across Missouri, social distancing and other preventative measures are still in place across campus. As most undergraduate students do not qualify for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, preventative measures will continue.

When asked what they most wanted the student body to know, Smith and Brickey reaffirmed their commitment to undergraduates.

“We are students first and foremost, and everything we do is for students,” Smith said. “We want to be the voice for students because we get [it], and we care.” Brickey reaffirmed this by acknowledging that he has “always voted in student’s interests” as an MSA senator.

Brickey and Smith will face Will Shafer and Key Avingston-Banks at the MSA Presidential Debate on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. The debate will be livestreamed over Zoom at https://umsystem.zoom.us/j/96848068945. Voting opens on Monday, March 1 at vote.missouri.edu.

Edited by Joy Mazur | jmazur@themaneater.com

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