Co-President: Emma Waitzman ’14

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’m Emma Waitzman and I want to be your Student Council Co-president. Swarthmore gives students the rare opportunity to participate in big decisions that are made, such as the priorities of the college, the goals for the future of Swarthmore, and even the distribution of funds. As co-president, I see my job as that of an amplifier for a variety of student concerns/opinions that should be taken into consideration by the administration.

Student council holds a lot of powers in that they are granted mandatory meetings with deans, and specific members are allowed into board meetings. Student council may be the most direct connection between students and administration and should therefore be working to get a wide range of input and information about various issues on campus.  For example, the replacement of the Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs is a process that should be prioritized and involve far more student collaboration than it currently has.

Student council should be more transparent about its own decision-making process. For example students should be able to know when and where certain agenda items will be discussed, in addition to how they were voted on, without having to read a long transcript of meeting minutes.  Student council should also offer details of its meetings with members of the school administration. Transparency would promote a space for students to weigh in on decisions and utilize student council in the way that student representatives should be expected to be accessible.

Council members should work to give an authentic wide range of student perspectives on issues to help meetings with administration be productive in a way that they challenge policy and the decisions on the table. It’s OK if some meetings with administrators involve disagreement, because it’s only natural that student and administrative priorities are not always in perfect agreement with one another. For instance, there may be disagreement as to how much control students should have in certain sensitive decisions.

Swarthmore works to achieve consensus with students and allows us the space to hold our entire community accountable. As co-president I will work to make student council a space where students can become a crucial part of bringing Swarthmore to its highest potential.


  1. Emma, you have a lot going for you. I know you’re involved in many things on campus and have helped organize some great events. Maybe it would help others know you better if you shared some of this here 🙂

  2. Hi I support you,

    Thank you so much for pointing this out. I have a lot of experience working with administration on campus and I am well informed about StuCo’s initiatives and meeting minutes (except those after October which they still have not posted…transparency?).
    I think that it is actually a positive aspect of my campaign that my relationship of being actively involved at Swarthmore did not start through a StuCo position. Student Council sees a lot of overshadowing from the administration, which often causes meetings to lack the political voice that is often necessary to share real student opinions and make well-informed decisions.
    Through my work with SLAP (swarthmore labor action project), SREHUP (the student run homeless shelter project), low attendance strategic planning events, and other various meetings, I have created a relationship with the administration that is respectful but also honest about challenging one other to make well informed decisions. I have also learned about the ins and outs of funding and resources through this work.
    I gained a good amount of leadership experience in high school as the Women of West High president and as a leader of the movement for comprehensive sexual education. I am very organized and dedicated to making Swarthmore the best it can be for all students and I am committed to putting in an immense amount of effort into being co-president.

  3. Not sure about anything else, but your cartoons are consistently the best thing in the Phoenix. I hope being co-President won’t affect your satire!

  4. This is a great platform, Emma! I think you have a lot of qualifying experience and would be a great amplifier of student voices on this campus. You have my vote.

  5. Emma, I know I speak for many when I say how impressed I am with your fervor and dedication. I’m excited to have a Co-President who will fight for my pressing concerns rather than waste time, power and resources pursuing short lived desires like improving cell phone service in Alice Paul. Your candidacy has sparked many politically dormant student’s interest in the election – that’s really saying something. You’ve certainly got my vote!

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