Campus Life Rep: Esther Burson

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.

I think there are many ways to improve campus life. If you choose me to represent you, I’d want to:

-make the deans more accessible through regular office hours and a published list of whom to contact in specific situations

-set up late night dining to make food available on campus after 11:00pm.

-create a campus mini-grocery store where we could buy cooking supplies and toothpaste with meal plan points.

-revamp Tarble into more of a campus center, with nice common spaces and a series of weekend programs that are alternatives to parties.

-reopen the discussion of a Blue Light System.

-do a “lighting tour” of the campus with Public Safety to identify what areas need more light and install new lamps.

-help expand the Green Advisor program and institute orientation workshops to teach about compact fluorescents and what number plastics we can recycle.

-advocate for Swarthmore to purchase more wind power and replace old washers with energy efficient frontloading machines that won’t shred our clothing.

Now you know what I want to do, I’d like to tell you about myself. I’m studying psychology, Greek, and linguistics, I guide tours, tech at LPAC, and vote on the Cooper Committee. When I decide to do something, I make it happen. Just this year I’ve created a Rosh Chodesh Group (through Ruach) and an Equestrian Club to start riding next year.

More importantly, I will listen to you. The point of this position is to get you what you need, so I commit to asking you your opinions and representing them fully. Thanks for your time!


  1. 0
    SPL ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The grocery store thing is a great idea. Tarble just doesn’t have a good enough selection and Sharples hours are really inconvenient. I always end up spending money on food from the co-op and elsewhere and have like 6 unused meals per week – it’s ridiculous. I’ve been thinking for a while that we should try to set up a deal with the co-op. I hope you win and can pay for this!

  2. 0
    r says:

    Wow, German, that had to be upwards of the most obnoxious post that I have ever read this side of the jolt. You took a good idea of Esther’s and attempted to smugly deflate her by asking clearly loaded questions, the answers to which I doubt there is a single person on this campus that knows. Perhaps you did it to smugly chuckle to yourself over your vast superiority, but I sincerely doubt that you are in any way seeking answers to these questions.
    Please understand that I am not attempting to say anything at all about your character, merely that this post was meanly and unnecessarily phrased. I hope that Esther gets elected and this change is implemented, even at additional cost. It would be a fairly substantial improvement to student life. Just so you know, Esther, the people with whom you should talk about these changes are Linda McDougal and Stu Hain. Best of luck.

  3. 0
    Ronni says:

    Esther, I really like these ideas, and I appreciate how concrete they are. I’m especially drawn to the ideas of…

    deans’ accessiblity
    mini-grocery store ( — maybe Essie Mae’s could stock some of these items?)
    Blue Light System.
    & especially the Public Safety “lighting tour” thing

    You’ve got my vote! Good luck!!

  4. 0
    David German '08 says:

    To be honest, I think a lot of food related changes wouldn’t cost much if we worked with the adminstration to expand what we have instead of starting over from scratch.

    Your dining proposals would, presumably, reduce the number of unused meals and points. I’ll assume you can implement them without new construction. What model have you used to estimate the additional costs (inventory? staffing? energy?) associated with fulfilling the newly-redeemed meals? What is the resulting dollar figure? Where do you propose that those dollars come from? With whom in the administration will you speak to get funding from your proposed source for this purpose?

  5. 0
    Esther '10 says:

    Thanks for your comments! As to placement of a grocery store, I think the most feasible option is expanding Essie Mae’s or convincing the bookstore to stock more food/cooking supplies and to accept meal plan points. Getting places in the ville to accept points is a great idea as well, definitely worth pursuing.
    The money question is important. To be honest, I think a lot of food related changes wouldn’t cost much if we worked with the adminstration to expand what we have instead of starting over from scratch.
    Changes like installing more lights are definitely expensive, but they’re the kind of thing I feel the school should spend its money on, because it directly relates to students’ safety.
    I know a lot of similar schools (Bowdoin, Middlebury, Wesleyan, etc) manage to provide these services to students on similar or smaller endowments, so I think Swarthmore should look into it as well.

  6. 0
    Chris Green says:

    I agree that a mini grocery store would be awesome. What about the logistics of it, however? Where would it be placed? How do we pay for construction of it? Who would pay the employees and operating costs?

    Like it or not Sharples makes its budget based on the understand that people (1) don’t use all their meals and (2) must spend all their points on Sharples-affiliated endeavors (Essie Mae’s and the snack bars).

    Sharples is already operating at the margin, so the only way to open something new would be to either cut back on some other food or Service that Dining Services supplies or Dining Services must increased its operating budget.

    To me a much more feasible alternative would be to follow one of two paths:
    (1) work to get points accepted at the Co-op. Many universities (e.g. Lehigh) have point systems which students can use at many local restaurants, grocery stores, and pharmacies.
    (2) work to increase the offerings of eggs, milk, etc. in Essies Mae’s. It alreadys exists and while space is tight, adding new stock would not require any more employees to be hired.

    An another note, I agree that path lighting at Swat is pretty bad.

  7. 0
    anon says:

    I really like the idea of a mini-grocery store that would use points. As it is, it’s difficult for those of us who would like to cook as we just lose money.

    Even if they just had essentials like eggs, milk, flour, noodles, etc., another avenue for points would be fantastic.

    I think know who I’m voting for. Well done.

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