Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Below are the platforms submitted for the upcoming Student Council Vice Presidential elections. Tonight there will be a Vice-Presidential Candidate “Fireside Forum” in the Scheuer Room at 9 PM where you can ask the candidates questions about their platforms. Online voting will start on Thursday February 8th, and Sharples voting will take place Monday February 12th and Tuesday February 13th.
Sam Asarnow ’08
With a host of projects in the works (from the online syllabus archive to the new Spring break), Student Council is at a turning point. If elected Vice President, I will ensure that these projects (and others) are fully realized, and that they don’t end up merely the corpses of the empty promises that usually fill platforms like this one.
I have the experience to make changes happen. As a member of the Student Budget Committee, I worked with the Student Council machine to help revise the subcode funding system, and was a key player in the naming of the new “FUN FUNd.” In my long-running column in the Phoenix, I advocated for changes to Council and administrative policies and engaged in independent dialogue with members of the administration, faculty, and student body.
I also have the tools. I’ve been a part of close to a dozen different student groups, and I’ve worked closely with members of the faculty as a WA, TA, office assistant, and general goody-goody. Acting as a student liaison to the administration and Board of Managers is a primary responsibility of the Vice President, and I am prepared both to assume it effectively and to represent the student body in all its diversity.
Lastly, unlike President Joella Fink ’07, I have an account on TheFacebook.com. And I check it religiously. Is the Council suggestion box too impersonal? Write a note on my Wall?I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Charles Decker ’09
“A woman has two sons. When they grow up, one goes off to war and the other becomes Vice President. She never hears from either again.” My sixth grade social studies teacher told us that joke. She told us that the Vice Presidency was where a political party stuck troublemakers to shut them up (ah, those innocent pre-Cheney days). So, am I a troublemaker? Not quite. I certainly don?t intent to shut up anytime soon. I?m Charles Decker, class of ?09, and I want to be your Vice President.
So then, why am I running for Vice President, in the footsteps of great men like Schuyler Colfax, Elbridge Gerry and Dan Quayle? What do I have to offer? Well, I don?t offer any student council experience since high school. However, I think that in this case, that?s a good thing. Student Council needs a fresh face. I?ve scanned Student Council platforms from the past couple of years, and I?m seeing a lot of the same names term after term. That?s not a bad thing; experience is certainly valuable. However, I think that most of you agree that Student Council could use, if not a complete change in course, then at least a nudge in a different direction.
I don’t claim that I’ll come into Student Council, shake things up and completely change its direction. I don’t want to, and I doubt very much that I could. Student Council has done much good work since I’ve been here. The problem is, a lot of people don’t know about it. Thus, as Vice President, my main goal will be to truly bridge the gap between students and the Council. I want to constantly remind the student body that the Council is fighting for them.
Now, as much as the members may wish you to fear that they are some secretive group in a dark, smoke filled room somewhere, biding their time and consolidating their power, this is not the case. The Council makes its business public on their website, which is the most important step to transparency. Unfortunately, the website, as it currently exists, is kind of a joke. As Internet Director of the College Democrats and gatekeeper of the Garnet Donkey blog, which gets over a thousand hits daily, I know a thing or two about how to make people come to a website.
My passion is social activism. What happened to the days when Swarthmore was “The Kremlin on the Krum?” Now, I?m certainly no communist, but anything that pisses off Spiro Agnew is okay by me. According to Wikipedia, “student activism is far less a part of student culture than at other schools, or in the heyday of protest culture in the 1960s.” Are we going to take that crap from Wikipedia? Activism certainly exists on campus, with War News Radio and the Darfur Genocide Intervention projects. However, I feel that much potential for activism is wasted. We have the wonderful Lang Center. We have political organizations and religious organizations. As Vice President, I would use Student Council to help promote and consolidate opportunities for social action from all ends of the political
Student Council needs a fresh face to prevent it from becoming complacent. Elect me as Vice President, and I, Charles Decker, solemnly swear to make James S. Sherman look like Alben W. Barkley.
Rasa Petrauskaite ?08
I am running for the position of vice president, and I am asking you to consider three facets of my candidacy.
For the past year, I served on the Student Council as secretary and treasurer. During this period the Student Council took initiatives in addressing several major problems:
* Student stress due to heavy workloads resulting in:
– The new Spring break initiative
– Placing on the agenda the improvement of psych services
* Intrusions into dorms by outsiders addressed by:
– Planning with the administration the installation of universal dorm access
* Dangers posed by existing de facto incentives for students to drink and drive, partially addressed by:
– Plans for making food available at night on campus
If elected vice president, I will encourage other council members to continue working on these initiatives and will help them as needed. Next semester we can also start addressing the problem of inadequacy of care provided by Worth Health Center and by Public Safety in cases of severe injury. It may be possible for us to set up on-call shuttles to the hospital. I will also try to create a special committee that will investigate ways to improve Public Safety. The committee can start by interviewing the officers who were involved in dealing with injured students in the past.
In addition to my regular responsibilities as secretary and treasurer, I initiated several projects and tried to address some of the concerns listed above. Two semesters ago, I worked on allowing students to use points in Paces CafÃƒÂ© and QÃƒÂ¼b. Unfortunately, the majority of the council did not support the points? initiative (some members said that they perceived that Dining Services would have more jurisdiction than desirable over the cafes). Also last year, I created an on-line Q and A forum for students and the Student Council (on facebook). It has the potential to increase student input and council transparency. Further, I worked with Dining Services towards arranging for food and coffee vending machines that would be available day and night. The Director of Facilities has told me
that these machines will likely be installed in the next three to five months.
Finally, as vice president, I will continue to be dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of the Student Council. In addition to my other responsibilities last year, I volunteered to take on additional tasks to help other members. This semester I plan to investigate the pros and cons of the president/ vice president versus co-president leadership structures in order to ensure our maximal long-term effectiveness in accomplishing our missions.
Thanks for reading this, and I hope that you vote!
Jason Thrope ’09
My platform focuses on ways to make life at Swarthmore more convenient for students. As a Swarthmore student, I understand and accept the idea that life at Swat can be difficult academically, however I refuse to accept that the administration makes our every day life even harder. My platform attempts to address some of the realistic ways to make life easier. At the beginning of my term, I want to focus on a number of little things that could make a big difference in Swarthmore students? lives. These small changes can make our lives easier so we can concentrate of the educational experience, and will save us (and our parents) some money. And, as always, we can change the world in our spare time.
My long-term goals focus with meals and student life, two things that all Swatties share in common. After having spoken to numerous students, I?ve come to the conclusion that Swat?s add/drop process needs some streamlining. I propose that revisions to add/drop need not have advisor approval, unless a “hold” is placed on a student?s registration by an academic advisor.
I believe the meal plan can be greatly improved through small concessions from the administration. Having Tarble open 15 minutes earlier on Tuesdays and Thursdays would make it easier for students who have back-to-back classes to maximize their lunchtime. Also, the Kohlberg and the Science Center coffee bars should accept meal cards during lunchtime for two reasons. First, students on the 20 meal plan would be able to use these facilities, and second, because sandwiches and sushi at the Science Center cost $6 dollars, which I find unacceptable on top of the cost of the meal plan. If elected, I will also advocate for more bagged lunches, so that people whose professors keep them late do not miss out on a bagged lunch.
I also think that the administration should update the old dorms on campus with new amenities. For example, they should provide a big screen television for the west side of campus (Dana, Hallowell, Wharton). New Dorm, Mertz, and Willets all have big screen TVs, so in the interest of equality and fairness similar facilities should be provided for Dana, Hallowell, or Wharton.
If elected, I will also try to achieve a few substantial changes in regard to the meal plan. I find it extremely unfair that you lose any unused meals during the week. In order to make it fairer, I suggest that each unused meal be converted into at least one meal point. That way, students would get the full benefit of meals that they purchase
These are just a few of the many ideas I have been thinking about, and I assure you that if you elect me, I will never stop trying to make life at Swarthmore more convenient for you. The fact that these proposed ideas are relatively small makes them realistic possibilities, and not just silly campaign promises. Remember, if you take time to focus on the small things, the quality of the overall picture will improve.