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.
Hi fellow Swatties,
I’m Daniel Pak ’12, and I am running for Secretary on the Student Council. In addition to being known as a very diligent and organized student among friends, peers, and professors (just look at my organic chemistry notecards and post-its), I believe that my involvement in student organizations and scientific research in the past one and a half years at Swarthmore also make me qualified to be Student Council secretary.
Last year, I was treasurer of Global Neighbors, a student organization that aims to work towards eliminating discrimination against communities with physical and mental disabilities. As treasurer, I gained experience with the operations of the SBC and created and presented a budget for Global Neighbors at Spring Budgeting. In addition, as staff Director of Development of Global Health Forum, I researched and examined the advantages and disadvantages of gaining nonprofit status for a college organization. As Director of Development of GHF and treasurer of GN, I have gained much experience and knowledge in a how a Board of an organization can effectively function.
I was also a Dare2Soar Tutor and attended several leadership conferences, including the GROW: Grassroots Organizing Weekend and the 2nd Annual Student Service Leaders Conference in Philadelphia. I also have much experience with the music department and music organizations. I have received piano lessons through Music 48, participated in chamber music and chorus, and have taken several music courses. I mention these experiences in music, because I realize the importance of music in the lives of many Swatties and want to start Council initiatives that would allow students to enjoy a better musical experience (such as tuning the pianos). And lastly, this past summer at the University of Washington, because I am a prospective biology/biochemistry major, I created and conducted a research project that involved introducing mutations to the Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus. This internship required me to be extremely organized in designing experiments and protocols and in troubleshooting when I did not get the desired results. My experience with research and my involvement in student organizations and activities have given me valuable skills to not simply be a secretary that takes minutes but to be an “active” secretary.
The Swarthmore student body deserves to be more aware of the workings, ideas, and initiatives of Student Council, campus groups, and the administration. Instead of being a typical secretary that types meeting minutes and posts them online, I will be an “active” secretary. By this, I mean a secretary who not only takes notes at the Council meetings but presents the ideas and suggestions of the student body to the Council and the administration to improve the Swarthmore experience. The secretary also has the responsibility of being an advocate and spokesperson for Council initiatives. As secretary, I will meet with the Board of at least one student group or organization a week to share and discuss Council initiatives and propositions and bring back student ideas, comments, and opinions to Council meetings. Although this proposal may overlap with other responsibilities of members on Student Council, I believe that the more people on the Council interacting with groups on campus, the better. I want to do away with the note-taking secretary and expand my responsibilities to be a connection and communicator between the Student Council and the Swarthmore student body.
As secretary, I will work diligently towards the following goals:
1) Meet with at least one student group or organization a week to express and advocate student council ideas and initiatives and gain feedback.
2) Communicate with the Swarthmore webmaster to introduce a Student Council “box” on the Student Dashboard. This StuCo box would contain links to meeting notes for the past month and StuCo announcements, much like the Sharples box on the Dashboard. Because many students have the Dashboard as their homepage or use it on a daily basis, advertising minutes and StuCo initiatives on the Dashboard would be a great way to help students be aware quickly.
3) Continue the idea of a secretary blog (started by current secretary Stephen Lefebvre) to provide a more complete picture of StuCo minutes and initiatives and have a link available to it in the StuCo box on the Student Dashboard
4) Print meeting minutes weekly or bimonthly and have them available to be picked up by students at Shane Lounge, Kohlberg, and the Science Center commons, where the New York Times and the Phoenix are placed. When students pick up the New York Times on the way to class, dorm, Sharples, anywhere, they can also pick up a copy of the week’s StuCo minutes!
5) Advocate putting the StuCo webpage as a shortcut/bookmark on student browsers (for example, during Freshman Orientation) and communicate with ITS to place a shortcut/bookmark on all public browsers on campus.
6) Place a permanent link to StuCo minutes on the Reserved Students Digest
I present these ideas with the goal of getting the Swarthmore student body more connected with the ideas and initiatives of Student Council and the administration. These ideas may be a bit “in your face,” but I believe that they can be the start to creating a Swarthmore that is more aware and proactive in contributing its opinions and ideas. Please give me the opportunity to be more than just a note-taking secretary. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com if you have any questions about my proposals. Thank you!