Student Council Platforms

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.

Student Council elections will run from this Sunday 12/3 until Thursday 12/6. Online voting will be Sunday-Tuesday, and Sharples voting will
be Wednesday and Thursday.

If you want to ask the candidates questions about their platforms, there will be a meet ‘n greet study break with all of the candidates from 9:00-9:45pm today (Wednesday) in Kohlberg Coffee Bar, followed by a forum for the Vice Presidential candidates from 9:45-10:30.

Appointments Chair Candidates
Nate Erskine ’10:

My name is Nathaniel (“Nate”) Erskine ’10 and I am asking to be your Appointments Chair.

If you are considering applying or re-applying for a committee, you will probably have several concerns.

The first is in submitting your application. You want to make sure that it is not another lost e-mail in someone’s inbox. I have had experience in several jobs dealing with a large flow of paperwork and e-mails and that require the ability to coordinate schedules for many different people. I will insure that your application is not lost, that your application is given a fair review and that you will be promptly notified of the status of your application.

If your application is selected, your concern will now be in the interview process. I want to make this as easy and the least daunting as possible. As Appointments Chair, I would be responsible for setting up a meeting between you, me, at least two other member of the appointments committee and a possibly with a member of the committee you are trying to get on. I will maintain open communication with you and other members of the appointment committee to schedule an interview promptly, working with your schedule. I believe that an interview is not an interrogation, and I would make sure that the meeting would be relaxed, but focused.

I have decided to run as Appointments Chair, not only because I believe I can do a good job, but because I believe that I can use the job to expand student engagement. Let’s face it: most Swatties are not involved with student government. I have noticed that a handful of the same students hold a number of positions on committees. As Appointments Chair, I want to bring in more students instead of having the same half-dozen or so people on several committees. I think we can all agree that the more people we can get involved the better it will be.

I recognize that Swatties feel they are extremely busy and don’t have the time to become more in tune with what student council is doing. As a member of the council, I would promote more effective and easier means of outreach. I want to add an internet poll to the Dashboard website that would allow you to keep tabs on what the Student Council was doing and provide the council with feedback. Instead of wasting paper in giving every student newsletter (most of which end up getting recycled), I think the Student Council should instead post fliers on Sharples’ tables, bathrooms, and dorms that people would be more likely to read. If I am elected, I hope to implement simple ideas like these to keep you more in touch with what is going on.

I know I am asking for the vote of students who don’t know me. Hopefully my platform has provided you with a good sense of who I am and what I intend to do. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail me ( or approach me on campus. I would love to chat.

Adam Yie ’09:

I like warm showers, kittens, Jane Austen’s novels, spicy food, living in MLL, roomy cars, bad puns, puppies, coffee, Linux, and the color blue. I prefer crunchy peanut butter to creamy, Katherine over Audrey (Hepburn), and pencil to pen.

None of that is relevant, but this is: I want to give something back to Swarthmore.

Why me? Although I lack experience on Student Council, I’m conscientious, I honor my responsibilities, I accept criticism, I take satisfaction from a job well done, and I listen well. I make this one promise: if elected, I’ll serve the community to the best of my ability.

Campus Life Representative:
Andrea Cornejo ’10:

Hello All,

The first couple of weeks on campus, I looked around and couldn’t see how there could be anything to complain about here at Swarthmore, everything seemed to run so smoothly. It was through a gradual process that hidden discrepancies and oddities about social, financial structures per se, came to light.

I think Student Council this semester has done an effective job bringing certain aspects of campus life setbacks to administration’s attention, and bringing forth commitment to change these issues. Undoubtedly I pledge to continue in their proactive footsteps to making Swarthmore campus life better for the student body in general. I would also make a further commitment to explore social, cultural, and even financial issues more in depth. For instance, during Class Awareness Month, (month long activities to raise awareness on class issues) several overlooked or unaddressed issues have materialized, such as stringy resources for incoming lower class students, that I have been planning on bringing to the attention of administration.

As Campus Life Representative, I will communicate student concerns and inquiries to administration and make sure they are acknowledged. I have been working closely with several Alumni groups, a great resource for information and support for any activity. I am familiar with a majority of student group leaders, and those who I am not familiar with I would be delighted to get to know. My greatest strength is I am no conformist, and am constantly compelled to pursue a solution or an answer to enigmas I encounter. All of these qualities and many more will help me be a successful Campus Life Representative.

I am going to go out on a limb and make a bold assumption that as Swarthmore students, we want not to be negated and fed generic answers. Instead we want substantial explanations for why processes, structures and policies are as they are. Because if we know this, if we were to know the precise details of why our meals don’t roll over, of why there are students on campus who cannot afford their books, etc., we will be able to understand the best way to promote, and request change. By talking to student groups and individuals, I will see what issues need to be brought to attention, use my council position to present it to appropriate Deans and/or administration, and work with both students and administration to find the best way to approach student body issues.

I believe my equality driven character along with my perseverant and outspoken personality will be a great combination for Campus Life Representative. I look forward to hearing from you, thank you for your time, and have a great tomorrow! =)

Joan Kim ’10:

Hello, my name is Joan Kim and I am running for Campus Life Representative.

College life is not only about academics. Don’t get me wrong, as a Student Academic Mentor, I definitely endorse studying for exams and preparing for classes. I also understand that you experience college life only once in your life and I’m here to make sure that it’s the most rewarding and unforgettable four years in your life for learning and self-development.

As a contributor for the Living and Arts section of The Phoenix, I’ve learned about three important aspects of student life- student activities, what students are most interested in, and listening to students and the administration for their opinions. These tools are important to use as a Campus Life Representative. I’m always around to listen to any opinions or concerns about campus life. You could approach me in person or perhaps I’ll overhear you in Sharples. Either way, I’ll make sure your opinion is heard since I plan to be active in discussing current policies in debate and in brainstorming ways to improve Campus Life.

I’ll make sure to facilitate communication between the students and the administration and encourage all students to speak up about their opinions on Campus Life. As Campus Life Representative, I will not only fulfill duties such as ensuring all Student Council sponsored events are publicized, but I will be accessible and actively represent the student body’s diverse views on plans and policies for the college.

Jennifer Yi ’09:

Hi, my name is Jennifer Yi, and I want to be your campus life representative. We need to make some changes to improve the overall quality of life at Swat, and I am the person to do it!

If elected I would work for:
1. Better food: Have you ever thought that Sharples food just isn’t as satisfying as the tour guides made it sound? I will work for better food quality and longer hours so that you are not left starving at midnight when you have to write that paper.

2. Better events: Ever thought that going to that party or event wasn’t worth the opportunity cost of three hours of not being able to study? I will work for a greater variety of events that are more spread out so that you are not so stressed.

3. Better facilities: Have you ever not been content with the dismal lighting in McCabe or our meager gym facilities? I will work towards better facilities so that we can do what we love.

4. Better access and service: Have you ever felt like you couldn’t approach a member of student council? I am here to do what you want me to do. I encourage all of you to contact me with any and all questions, suggestions, or concerns so that I can bring it up with student council and the administration.

As your campus life representative, I will work with student council and the administration to demand that your needs/goals/wants are met. Vote for me so that I can continue to bring new and innovative ideas, services, and facilities to this campus! I have experience, I am qualified, and I want your vote. Vote Jennifer Yi!

Liana Katz ’10

My reasons for running for Student Council Secretary are twofold. First and foremost, I care about Swarthmore. During my one and a half years here, Student Council has taken many positive steps to improve student life. I would like to become more involved in these changes in order to guarantee that students’ voices are always heard.

Second, as Secretary, I will finally be able to put my perfectionism to good use! According to the Student Council constitution, the function of the secretary is to “ensure that important documentation pertaining to Student Council is archived,” posting minutes and keeping track of the budget. In order to be an effective secretary, one must be highly organized and attentive at all times. As a Latin major I have come love to subtleties and details. Studying a language in which a small line can change the meaning of a word has made me extremely thorough and focused. If I am elected as Secretary, I will bring these detail-oriented strengths to Student Council.

Although I have no previous experience on Student Council, I am no stranger to active participation at Swarthmore. I have already taken an active role in campus life in many different ways. As Co-President of Ruach, I am responsible for providing strong leadership under which an entire organization can flourish. As a reporter for The Phoenix, I have learned the importance of working efficiently, keeping deadlines in mind. I will utilize these skills to make sure that my duties as Secretary are executed in a competent manner.

I am not looking to radicalize or revolutionize Student Council. I simply want to bring all of my skills and strengths in order to help Student Council run effectively and smoothly.

Student Events Advisor:
Lacey Dickinson ’10:

My name is Lacey Dickinson and I am a sophomore. I was appointed to the Student Affairs Committee last spring, and began serving my term this fall. As a young buck my freshman year I enthusiastically attended various on-campus events, and continue to do so. I cannot begin to fathom the emptiness of a life without the standard Saturday night Paces party, or midweek pizza study break. Taking part in making these events happen as a member of the Student Affairs Committee has been a fulfilling experience thus far, and I now hope to expand my participation in enhancing the social schedule of my fellow Swatties as the Student Events Advisor.

I am a great candidate for Student Events Advisor not only because I am passionate about providing and attending a plethora of entertaining on campus events, but also because I have the experience that would allow me to fulfill the duties of Student Events Advisor. In my freshmen and junior years of high school, I participated in student council acting as chairperson of various committees that planned school wide events. During my senior year, I acted as a student liaison to the school principal on a board that served to inform school administrators of the condition of the student body, and organize various school wide charitable campaigns. Participation in these organizations throughout my high school career allowed me to develop key leadership, coordination and organizational skills. This semester I worked as a Swarthmore phonathon caller, calling alumni and parents of current and past students. Begging strangers for contributions has certainly strengthened my communication and interpersonal skills.

If elected Student Events Advisor, I would like to make the Student Affairs Committee a friendlier, less ambiguous, and less intimidating group so that a broad range of students feel comfortable interacting with us and requesting funds for their events. In order to alleviate the ambiguity often associated with SAC and throwing campus events, I would insist on holding at least two informal study breaks a semester that would allow curious potential event hosts to casually interact with SAC members and ask questions. This sort of structured informal interaction would not only serve to give SAC a face, but also reduce the amount of intimidation that may be associated with having to present event proposals to the committee. If elected, I would also push to include a FAQ’s section on the SAC website, which would allow students to review the main regulations at a glance, and perhaps clarify the multitude of regulations affiliated with holding an on campus event.

Thus far I have been an ardent member of the Student Affairs Committee, and would love to spread my fervor to student council. If elected I would channel my passion for SAC, along with my past experience, towards my duties as Student Events Advisor.

Serving my classmates as a member of student council would be a true pleasure!

Romane Paul ’10

My name is Romane Paul and I am running for Student Council Vice President.

Many of my past experiences at the College will enable me to effectively perform the duties of Vice President. I have an ability to work well with others, yet voicing my opinion when needed.

One of the major reasons why I should be elected to student council is the fact that I can communicate very well with other people. In the case of the Board, I am not intimidated by communicating the concerns of students with them. I served on the College Budget Committee with various Board members. My ability to listen has enabled me to make people comfortable around me and share their concerns with me. Serving on the Executive board of SASS, being a member of SBC, and being a Lang Center Intern has allowed me to recognize the importance of working as a team on a committee. During my time as the Civic and Political Action Coordinator of SASS, I worked closely with the administration to put on a successful rally.

Whether one approves or disapproves of the council at this time, no one can dispute the fact that at this point in time, Student Council is at a major turning point in that people are paying attention to what the council is doing. While I have a number of things I am committed to like actively pushing the idea of “Thanksgiving in the Spring” and extending the hours of Sharples and Tarble, for example, many of my goals are more long term:

→ One of the jobs of Vice President is to serve on the College Planning Committee for 2025. With that being said, it is important to have a Vice President on this committee who can be bold in terms of providing feedback on what students think of certain aspects of the school. While on this committee, for example, I plan to talk about the college’s diversity in the future. By diversity, I mean the variety of classes we offer here, student diversity, etc. I also plan to address them on how the college uses its finances.

→ My other goal is to continue Student Council’s work with groups like Training for Change, which provided SC with workshops on Anti-Oppression work. This kind of work will allow Student Council to create a strong relationship with student cultural groups on campus and to become an ally to them.

→ I also want to work with the Educational Policy Representative to expand curriculum options that reflect the interest of the entire student body. There have been suggestions about creating more majors.

My personality is analogous to my upbringing, in that I am diverse, hard-working, determined and eclectic. Consequently, this allows me to approach issues from another perspective, and enables me to look at issues outside the box. During my time at Swarthmore, I have had the opportunity to meet many of my peers and listen to their concerns regarding the direction of the college. If elected as Vice President, I believe that I will successfully represent the opinions of the student body successfully.

I ask for your vote to help make this happen. Thank you.

Sofia Rivkin-Haas ’09:

Changes, big and small, are always afoot at Swarthmore because students are always awake, sipping coffee and Thinking About Things . . . What if we could walk into Worth Health Center, confident in the medical care? What if the vegetables in Sharples were fresher? I often wonder what we can do to make Swarthmore students happier, less pressured, and I have some lets-do-it-right-now kind of ideas about how to make improvements in the short term. As Student Council Vice President, I would work collaboratively within our community to find some viable answers to these questions and others that may arise in the next year.

I love Swarthmore, and if elected Vice President, I would put that love to good use. I want the chance to make a place I love even better by combining experience and determination.

I would bring a wide array of experiences and skills to the office of Vice President. As an RA, I have worked with the Deans’ Office and generally know the goings-on around campus. It is my job to talk with students on my hall and to do what I can, not only right-here-and-now to make them more content, but also to strategize about tomorrow. I would like to extend this concrete connection with my hall to the community at large. I know the resources on campus, and I’m comfortable using them. For example, I’m in conversation with the health center’s director, Beth Kotarski, regarding a student-run van service to Chester Crozer Hospital. I would also like to begin a dialogue with Linda McDougall about improving the quality of the produce in Sharples and Essie Mae’s.

As a campus tour guide, I know the facts and the figures of Swarthmore. But, more importantly, I’m familiar with how things work here, and I know what questions to ask. I have personal relationships with Liz Derickson and Dean Westphal because I’ve taken the time to ask them about CAPS and Public Safety’s policies. Besides, I’ve seen the rubber duckies lounging poolside in President Bloom’s basement spa!

I don’t need to remind you that we Swatties do a lot of thinking. As Vice President, I’d like to translate some of those thoughts into action. The other day, my friend was saying how great it would be if there were just some randomly fun things—“Like what if there were suddenly a band playing in the fragrance garden on Friday afternoon?”—that happened here on campus? The administration has actually been thinking of doing something like this for a while, but I want to make sure it happens. The Vice-President along with the rest of Student Council, functions as a voice for the student body, and at this point the administration wants to listen. Okay, so tell me what you’re thinking; and let’s take the “what if” out of some of those great ideas.

Shoot me an email. Facebook stalk me. Or just stop me to chat.

Sven David Udekwu ’09

Hello friends, classmates, and fellow Swarthmoreans. I have chosen to run for the position of vice president of Student Council because it is a position of great responsibility that I know I will occupy to your full benefit.

In my time at Swarthmore, I have grown to appreciate more each semester all the wonderful things that drew me to this institution. It is hard to find a place where the administration listens to the students as much as ours does, and our small size makes any minor issues fixed with a few meetings, or even just some emails to the right place. For me, the accessibility of the administration and student leaders is one of the most vital keys to our success, both as individuals, and as a collective. That is in essence what I want to keep as the foremost goal of council, the committees, and the administration.

The work has already been started this year, with the current council increasing transparency of its decision making process, but as I have learned as a member of student council, there is always room for change. I am not speaking of massive changes like overhauling the financial aid system, but changes that allow students to become more aware of some of the resources open to them, and the ease of accessing those resources. One thing we did on council as part of a push for appointments was have a study break last semester with members from each committee there, and the eagerness they showed to talk about their committees was admirable.

An idea that I hope to realize, would be to have the non-confidential committees have one completely open meeting each semester that students would be encouraged go to and learn about the functions, for in that way you can see what it is like to work closely with faculty and administration. By constantly improving the function of school government with small changes, we could make the flow of information smoother, and achieve even greater levels of transparency. Having served as appointments chair for the past two semesters, I have learned a great deal about the necessity of small improvements, and the difference they can make on an entire process, like applying to committees.

However, there are some larger issues which council has been tackling that I would seriously look to solving in my two terms, such as the possible creation of a permanent sustainability committee. Also I would push for the short break in spring, or at least shed some light on the attempt to implement it. I would pursue this course, all the while maintaining and expanding the openness council has worked for this semester.

The need for openness has also never been clearer to me as it is now that I am an RA and have had freshmen approach me with questions about appointments and other extracurricular issues. Since they are going to take over our groups and committees one day, I will make sure they have had the easy opportunities to hear from those who came before.

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