President: Yongjun Heo

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.

Dear Swatties,

Next year is incredibly important for determining the future of our college. The Student Council President will sit among members of the Board to decide which student requests and needs (from the 2020 campaign) are worth funding. Although Swarthmore has presented us with many opportunities to learn and better ourselves and our communities, we all know that there is room for improvement. I am running for Student Council President because my devotion to many different student experiences will help me make well-informed decisions that represent the wishes of our current student body and the future students of our community.

I am interested in making decisions and pushing changes that will directly affect you during your time here. I believe expanding library hours and Tarble hours is a step in the right direction. At the end of the week I always seem to have 3 unused meals left. I believe we should be able to check on Blackboard at any time the numbers of meals we have. As a freshman student I had no idea the timing and processes for applying for a summer internship. I think we should have a physical board containing information regarding upperclassmen summer experiences so underclassmen can seek advice, and actually attain those opportunities. Although opening up dialogue across student organizations is a good start, it’s simply not good enough if nothing is done with the dialogue. Student Council must be held accountable. Upon voluntary agreement, I would like to have student groups hand in a checklist of desires and requests every month, so Student Council will be able to create short-term changes and show the groups what progress has been made. As President, I would hold gatherings of student group leaders every few months in order to engage in conversations regarding current student issues, activities, requests, and moving forward the future direction of the college, together. I would like Student Council to move beyond just being transparent. We all know that our student body is amazing. There are many possibilities for the exchanging of ideas, experiences, insights, and skills.

During my three years here, I have been involved in a wide variety of organizations and activities that will help me make informed decisions based on your input. I have been a involved with diversity groups (Tri-Co, SAO), athletics (track), community service (Dare to Soar and PA School for the Deaf), and academic support services (SAM). These activities have prepared me for starting Pemón Health, a student organization which works to better the lives of Venezuelan villagers afflicted with malaria through preventative health initiatives. Through forming Pemón Health, I have gained invaluable skills in management and leadership.

Through Tri-Co I have deepened my insights into privilege, race, sexuality, class and general diversity issues that affect not only members of the IC but the greater Swarthmore College community. I am committed to advancing issues and personally identify with many IC concerns. I have also developed close relationships with many Swarthmore Deans and Administrators over the years.

As much as I want to say that my running for Student Council President isn’t personal, it is. I would not be at Swarthmore today if it weren’t for the decisions that were made decades ago to expand the financial aid awards. I would have not even considered coming here if Discovery Weekend did not exist. I would not have been able to have an invaluable experience in Venezuela last summer if it weren’t for generous donors who believed in facilitating student engagement in social action. I want to be in a position to influence these lasting changes so future students who walk through this community in years to come will gain an even better education and college experience than my own. I am serious about acting as a catalyst for the incredibly important decision-making processes next year, and I will make sure that present student concerns are addressed immediately rather than set aside for later. If elected, Student Council will be my top priority.

Yongjun Heo

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