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.
My name is Maria Thomson and I am running to be Secretary of our Student Council. I believe I am well-suited to fill this position primarily given my history of exemplary organization and note-taking habits, in addition to efficiency, timeliness, and seriousness (not to mention excellent handwriting and spelling). Though a freshman here at Swarthmore, I have extensive experience with taking meeting minutes by way of organizations in which I was involved in high school—notably as Editor-in-Chief of my high school paper, in which role I regularly organized, facilitated, coordinated, and recorded meetings for the future reference of other newspaper editors. My work experience as Assistant Librarian at Underhill Library this fall has further fostered a meticulous attention to detail and orderliness.
As Secretary, I will record Student Council meeting minutes in a fashion that is detailed and comprehensive, while still being concise and useful to the typical Swat student with few minutes of their own to spare. However, I will take the Secretary role very seriously, and my actions in this position will not be limited merely to showing up at meetings and taking down notes. I also hope to act as an active medium for communication between the student body and the Student Council as someone who is consistently friendly, approachable, and a ready and attentive listener. I hope to make the resources and influence of the Student Council highly accessible to all students and student organizations, and in addition to encouraging students to attend Student Council meetings for themselves when she or he has a specific need — all Student Council meetings are open to the student body, as it is. For students who wish but are unable to attend StuCo meetings, I will strive to be an excellent representation of student interests, and will work to coordinate students, StuCo members, meeting discussions, and feedback into effective discourse and action.
Finally, I will continue the work of past StuCo Secretaries in making the Student Council more visible and accessible to the student body at large. As a first-year here at Swarthmore, it would be easy to write off unfamiliarity with Student Council activities, whereabouts, meeting times, and all other relevant information: I just got here, and these are the things one figures out with time, right? However, I believe this is the wrong approach. If the Student Council is truly to represent our students, then anyone and everyone should be kept informed of its doings without having to work and search for updates. How can you make the Student Council work for you if you don’t even know when it meets or what it discusses? As part of this initiative, I will continue the work of the current Secretary in publishing bi-weekly bathroom updates on the Student Council’s short- and long-term goals, and on how efforts to achieve these goals are proceeding. I also hope to secure a prominent place for Student Council updates, links to meeting minutes, and other relevant information on the Dash, in addition to similar updates in places of frequent student travel around campus.
Though I do not have the time to be involved in everything, I find every organization on campus of interest, and hope to benefit as many as possible through keeping our students informed of the work of the Student Council and facilitating necessary discussions among our community members.