Nina Kudlak and Will Vuncannon are two third-year students brought together by their love of Student Government (SG) and their belief in creating change at NC State.

Kudlak, originally from Cary, North Carolina, is majoring in Political Science and minoring in Middle East Studies and Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. She has been a writer for Technician Newspaper, an NC State Sustainability steward, a member of NC State Women’s choir and is member of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. Her love for promoting sustainability led  her to pioneer The Campus Thrift Store initiative, which has grown into its own student organization. 

Vuncannon, originally from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, is double majoring in Political Science and Religious Studies. Throughout his time on campus, he has been a member of the Catholic Campus Ministry, FIRST, the University Library Committee and the University Dining Committee and a university ambassador. Off-campus, he works with a national environmental justice and climate change policy organization. 

From very early on in their time at NC State, Kudlak and Vuncannon have been active members of SG.

As a Technician writer, Kudlak covered Senate meetings every two weeks, from there, her love for government and policy grew. She eventually left Technician and became a College of Humanities and Social Sciences Senator. Then, she was appointed Student Affairs chair. 

During his first few weeks on campus, Vuncannon joined SG as a student Senator for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Eventually, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Executive Chief of Staff.

Originally introduced to each other by a mutual friend, their passions for environmental justice, sustainability and their “natural inclination towards advocating for others” solidified their desire to run together. As they put it, Kudlak “has the dream” and Vuncannon has the “huge breadth of experience in the executive department of SG” to make those dreams possible.

“The simple understanding that people have different experiences” and that “You can’t assume everyone has [had] the same experiences” are the two concepts that “shaped their platform and their approach in tackling issues.” 

While acknowledging differences, Kudlak and Vuncannon stated that they both come from a place of privilege as they are white, which has caused them to experience life through a different lens. Kudlak noted that in regard to diversity and inclusion, “I have seen that there is such a measurable value in different people and different experiences in different cultures… We have campaign team members that we feel represent the population of NC State in a way that we can’t always, so they’ve influenced our platform.” Vuncannon added, “we’ve reached out to several organizations and different religious organizations, and different organizations representing students with different needs, such as graduate students, as first-year students. So we can hear diverse opinions and experiences from within these communities.”

Bright and early Saturday morning, Nubian Message had the opportunity to speak with both of them to discuss their platform. 

Nubian Message: Your plan specifically mentions fostering a relationship with Feed the Pack Food Pantry, a resource many are unaware of and is routinely underutilized. How do you plan to increase the visibility of the many resources available to students?

Kudlak: “This is actually really near and dear to my heart, because I have had to utilize Feed The Pack a lot, actually, this school year, just because of circumstances. And I think that a lot of the issue is, students feel like their needs aren’t great enough to access these resources. I feel like that’s a really big barrier that keeps people from using things like Feed The Pack … But people might not want to take advantage of it because they feel like they’re taking it from someone who might need it more than them. So I believe that it’s a matter of normalizing asking for help. And making people feel more comfortable to ask for help when they need it.”

Vuncannon: “At the end of last session, our University Affairs Department started working on [the] Student Government Internal Food Drive, which would all be donated to Feed The Pack … I think that really inspired part of this platform, seeing the passion that these department members and exec had for doing this project and [we] want to continue fostering this relationship with Feed The Pack … We really want to prioritize listening to student feedback and working with these previously established relationships, building new relationships, on how we can best amplify these student resources and increase the awareness.”


NM: The creation of an LGBTQ+ Village and a Women of Color Village has been in the works for years. These two villages have been pushed as a joint movement. How do you plan to further propel the work done for these since the 97th session? Also, why was the Women of Color Village not mentioned on your platform?

Vuncannon: “These platform points while important to us didn’t just spur from our  ideas? Many members of the body have vastly different experiences from us, and don’t have the privileges we have. And that’s why it’s important to establish these shared spaces. And through listening from people on and off our campaign team who are part of the LGBTQ community, we’ve heard over and over again, the disappointment that this [LGBTQ+] village has either been pushed back against when it’s been proposed … And then for your second point about the Women of Color Village, I think this definitely goes to a point I think I mentioned in the debate last night that our platform does not end here. Our platform is holistic, it’s extensive. I think it’s made up of some pretty realistic plans and specific plans. But also it doesn’t end here … We’ll talk to the relevant campus. Have these conversations for you advocate for you. So I guess just letting students know, this platform is not the end all be all. It’s just the starting point. And that if elected our doors will always be open to your ideas from students on other other projects and initiatives that we can help work on.”

Kudlak: “I would like to add that a lot of the groups that I have met with, to discuss our platform haven’t been directly represented on our platform. And so the reason why I was meeting with them was so I could kind of get a baseline of where to start if we do enter the office for this upcoming session. And I think that the Women of Color Village would be something that would be extremely beneficial. And I also believe that if you apply pressure on the university, like everything can be done, anything can be done, depending on how much pressure you apply. And something that I would love to do is apply pressure so students can get what they want. And I think we’ll get there perfectly. The platform is not the end all be all. It’s just what we have compiled. But yeah, whatever whatever students want. Well, we’ll work for that for sure.”


NM: There has been an increased demand for mental health services nationwide, yet many have remained understaffed. Your platform stated that you’d want to ensure greater accessibility to counseling services for first-year students. How do you plan to create accessibility while still being realistic about the bandwidth capabilities of our counseling center?

Vuncannon: “We want to have realistic goals, no, promises we can’t keep. At the same time, we have both seen just from hearing our own friends and classmates talk, and just the unfortunate statistics, whether it be the tragic events that happened on our own campus last fall on and off campus last fall, but also just the statistics from the university, first-year students face unique challenges. And their experience is so important in determining the rest of their career here in NC State. And there’s so many statistics that show one, the transition to university life is a very stressful time for many, whether that be academic reasons, whether that be social reasons, whether that be a relocation reason …  I believe they need to be uniquely addressed and prioritized due to the number at which they are victims of lack of counseling, accessibility, lack of resource accessibility. And that’s why, unfortunately, we can’t promise an immediate increase in counseling availability, we don’t have that power in SG, that’s a fact. But we can do is from day one, go to these campus partners at the counseling center, meet with the first-year Senate delegation this fall, so that we can increase advocacy, advocacy for these specific groups that we know are the most common, and likely victims of these lack of access abilities.”

Kudlak: “I think we have a really in depth plan for how to address the first-year population. Understaffing is just a really broad issue that we’re dealing with right now … Something that I’m passionate about when it comes to the mental health and counseling services on the campus are kind of approaching mental health from a departmental lens rather than institutional completely. We can look at the first-years, the first-year students who want to go into engineering and then the first years that are in CHASS (the College of Humanities and Social Sciences) … I think that the way that we can really tackle this issue of mental health in the first-year population is by doing so in a way that is catered towards their specific area of study, because everybody’s different. Freshmen are different from the other classes, and freshmen studying Animal Science are different from freshmen studying English. We just have to really come at it in a way that’s personalized for each student as best as we can. And that’s the way that we can make progress and how this  campus [should] address mental health, even with the short staffed Counseling Center.”


NM: What sets your campaign apart from the other three tickets and why do you feel  students should support you? 

Kudlak: “What sets us apart from the other three tickets is that we have goals that the average student will care about and feel passionate about and feel cared for by. But we also have plans to achieve those goals. While Will and I, we have these really big dreams for the student body, and we know that we’re going to be there for them and support them, we also believe that we can make things happen. And create a culture of feasible goal setting that other candidates can’t bring to the table. I also think that our passion and our genuine enthusiasm for the student body is something that is unique to us … I want to be a fan for the student body. I know that he [Will] wants to be a fan of the student body, we want to be everybody’s friend. And that’s what makes us different. And I can promise that if we are in office, we’re going to be friends, we’re going to be supporters, we’re going to be fans, and we’re going to make things happen that people care about.”

Vuncannon: “I think we have a very holistic platform covering. In each of those sections, there’s a detailed array of different platform goals we have. There’s still many areas of campus that I think are often ignored and overlooked that we want to address. We are the only campaign to extensively address whether it be international student issues, first year specific issues, sustainability and environmental justice on and off campus, in our community … We don’t want to just make big promises, and big section headers and goals and say, Okay, this is what we’re going to do knowing we can’t do it, we want to make realistic goals. You want to make specific detailed plans, on whom we’re going to work with, how we’re going to get this done, how long it will take the things that our platform that we say we’re going to work with. So to get this done, a final report may not be done till next spring, and then recommendations being made to the university. These are realistic goals that sometimes take time and sometimes we know we can’t promise everything but I believe our platform is made up of ambitious yet attainable action items that we truly believe we can accomplish if we are elected.”

To learn more about the Kudlack/Vuncannon campaign and their platform, you can go to their website at

Your vote matters. We ask that you take the time to review all candidates and their platform’s efforts and choose wisely. Voting will begin Monday, March 6 at 12:01 am and continue through Tuesday, March at 11:59 pm. Results will be announced Wednesday, March, at 7:30 pm.