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 sat down with StuCo’s three new additions to hear about their ideas, hopes and goals for the coming year.
Lanie Schlessinger ’15 – Student Groups Advisor
How do you interpret your role as Student Groups Advisor?
Well, I’ve been learning more about it. I’m in charge of the chartering committee, so my job on that is to convene the committee and help people make decisions on which groups should be chartered and help lead people who are trying to charter groups through that process. And then additionally to keep in touch with groups that are already chartered and make sure that their groups are still active and that they’re doing what they set out to do and to make sure that there’s collaboration among similar groups. And one of the last things I’ve discovered about my role is that I’m also a voting member on SBC, so I can go to the budgeting committee meetings and have a vote as to whether those proposals are approved.
And do you think it would be hard to tell a group that they couldn’t be chartered?
Yeah, I think the number one concern is that you have to treat this as a professional environment rather than a friendly environment and understand that none of the decisions made here are personal. If the decisions are personal, you’re not doing it right. I think, pretty much, if your group has a solid plan and appears to have a good purpose, you’re going to be chartered.
What do you hope to accomplish, and how can you determine whether you’re successful in accomplishing that?
I guess the number one hope I have is just to make sure people are involved and active on campus and that their time is being filled in meaningful ways. I think the best that I can do is to interact with the group leaders, and if I’m getting positive feedback from them, I will feel like I’m doing my job correctly. And if I’m not, then I know that I have things to improve on.
What ideas do you hope to implement?
There are a few ideas that I really want to get started on. The first is making the chartering process more transparent, because I want everyone who wants to start a group to have the opportunity to try to do that. The second would be creating a database of all student leaders and putting that either on the Stu Co website or the SBC website. I spoke with the outgoing Student Groups Advisor, and she told me that it might be a good idea to put all groups’ mission statements online, so that that’s visible, and people can see what all of the groups on campus are doing and get a better idea of what they want to get involved in. The activities page on the Swarthmore website is really outdated, and we could definitely afford to get some of the newer groups up there and take some of the groups down that are no longer active.
Aya Ibrahim ’15 – Student Events Advisor
Why did you decide to run?
I decided to run because I felt like Student Council has a significant voice on campus and that their opinion has some weight with the administration, which I thought was very important. But at the same time, as soon as I came on campus, I saw that there were one million things to do at all times, and there are so many people to meet. But you can’t possibly fit all those activities and all those people into your schedule. I felt like, through Student Council, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people and help a lot of people make whatever their events or activities happen. So you’re meeting a lot of new people and getting involved in a lot more things that you might not have otherwise.
What experience have you had relevant to your position?
Well, being president of two organizations and also being in honors society, we had to plan different things and essentially, even if you are president or vice president, it was always a collaborative effort, working with other people to coordinate your events and activities and make sure everything runs smoothly. So for any group, you had at least one event you planned. So that kind of planning is the same kind of planning that Student Council requires.
How do you interpret your role as Student Events Advisor?
Well, as Student Events Advisor, you also get to sit in on the Student Activities Committee and be a part of that committee as part of your role. So, I help people get funding for their activities. I haven’t yet had someone specifically come up to me to help organize an event, but I would think that this role is to help plan events and things like that. But I think I’m part of a larger team. I’m just one person of many in Student Council, and a lot of the things are a group effort. It’s not about one single person. Each role is different, but one person can help another with a job or a task.
What strengths do you think you’ll bring to StuCo?
I definitely think I’m a very outgoing person. I’ve been making an active effort to meet as many people as I can, and I feel like I’m very approachable. I don’t know if being a freshman works for or against me, but freshmen might feel more comfortable and inclined to come to me if they have anything they want to bring up to Student Council, or if they have something that they want to do. I don’t have any preconceptions, since I just got here, so I’m open to anything.
Eugene Prymak ’13 – Financial Policy Rep
Have you had any experience relevant to financial policy?
I have had a little bit. I’m treasurer of two student groups and I also co-founded the entrepreneurship club here. I’ve also done some research on my own on finance and things like that, so I have a little bit of experience with finance but I’m interested in learning more in the process, as well.
How do you interpret your role in StuCo?
So, when I met with Ben Hattem, who was last year’s Financial Policy Representative, he kind of broke it down for me, and basically . . . I saw it as twofold. First of all, I see myself as a representative on Student Council, so I’m here to represent the opinions of the student body. In that sense, I go to Student Council meetings. Also, as Financial Policy Representative, you attend the college budget meetings, so those meet every once in a while, and you discuss the budget of the college.
How can you affect the average Swattie through your position?
Well, one of my goals through Student Council is to make students more involved with Swarthmore, with just what’s going on and how we can constantly improve our environment. I hope to have a feedback loop between students and the administration, through myself as a conduit of that through the blog that I want to start up as soon as I go to my first college budget meeting and kind of have students contact me and, I can, in turn, talk to the college budget committee and also the administration to get a feedback loop going between the administration and the students. One thing I want to do is make the students more aware that they can affect their environment and that even though people say they’re busy all the time, they still have an opportunity to change their environment and improve it. So hopefully I want to make myself very accessible to the student body and allow them to really express themselves and hopefully affect change in Swat.
What do you expect to get out of being a StuCo member?
I think it will be a great learning experience for me and also just to have the opportunity really to get involved with Student Council and get some of my ideas out there as well and really, hopefully positively affect the direction that Swarthmore is going. I’m also sure it will foster some of my leadership potential and make me really see the side of government and student government and explore that route for me.