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.
Students running for the Student Council (StuCo) positions of Financial Policy Representative, Student Events Advisor, and Student Groups Advisor answered questions posed by the student body in a question and answer session on Wednesday evening. The event, sponsored by Student Council, yielded questions regarding StuCo’s student groups initiative, student body/administration communication, and transparency.
Olivia Ensign ‘12, Vice President of StuCo, started the session, asking how the potential candidates would go about organizing a system in which StuCo members meet with student group and committee leaders.
Eugene Prymak ’13, Financial Policy Representative candidate, suggested grouping clubs into general categories and assigning a point person to meet with the club leaders represented in a specific group. Prymak also brought up the idea of creating a new StuCo website, including a calendar listing all the group meetings occurring on a given day.
According to Matt Bertuch ’14, Student Events Advisor candidate, StuCo should spend more “face to face time” with students, along with creating a stronger presence on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Kimberly St. Julian ’12, a candidate for Student Groups Advisor, emphasized the use of existing streams of media, for example, the Reserved Students Digest. In addition, she recommended that StuCo hold regular gatherings for student groups, during which group members could discuss “what’s happening.”
When asked how she would continue StuCo’s mission to act as liaison between the student body and the administration, Aya Ibrahim ’15, Student Events Advisor candidate, stressed the importance of bringing student requests to the administration as well as delivering news of changes made at the administrative level to the students.
John Stevick ’12, candidate for Financial Policy Representative, said that StuCo should expand their relationships with both administrators and students by getting involved in campus events and attending open meetings.
“Getting in touch with StuCo seems to be an issue,” Harshil Sahai ’15, Financial Policy Representative candidate, said, recommending that StuCo create a blog to aid in communication.
According to Ensign, StuCo operates a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a website, and open meetings, which are covered by The Daily Gazette. She asked candidates how StuCo could either expand or improve these lines of communication with the student body.
Lanie Schlessinger ’15, Student Groups Advisor candidate, recommended that StuCo hold several shorter open meetings throughout the week, each with a narrow focus, so that students not on StuCo could attend only meetings that they believe would be pertinent to their interests.
Gabriella Capone ’14, Appointments Chair, asked the candidates for Financial Policy Representative how their input at College Budget Committee (CBC) meetings would differ from that of the two appointed students on the Committee.
Sahai said that, being on StuCo, he would have access to the perspectives of many student committees, which he would then bring to CBC meetings.
Stevick noted his previous financial experience at work management firms and said that he would relay StuCo’s thoughts to CBC.
“We have to know our stuff,” Prymak said, explaining that he has had past experience creating budgets.
In a question directed to potential Student Events Advisors, a student asked how events would be made inclusive and enjoyable.
Ibrahim said that her job would be to listen to students and to work with them to organize their event. “Whatever your definition of a good time is… that’s what I would try to make happen,” Ibrahim said.
Bertuch said that he hopes to increase inclusivity by creating an activities board in Sharples and/or in Parrish. The weekend events email is a good existing resource, Bertuch said, while also noting that his position “isn’t just focused on the weekends.”
When the candidates for Student Groups Advisor were asked how the group chartering process could be improved, Schlessinger recommended making the process more transparent, so that students would better understand what is involved in the chartering process.
St. Julian, when asked the same question, noted that she is familiar with the chartering process and suggested setting specific chartering dates each month, in order to organize the process for both StuCo members and students interested in chartering groups. St. Julian also emphasized communication with potential groups prior to the chartering date, in hopes of making the process quick.
Voting for the Student Council special elections began at 12:00 AM on Thursday and will continue until Sunday, September 18, at 12:00 PM. Students can vote by logging in to Moodle and accessing the “Swarthmore Student Council” course.