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.
Hello, my name is Andi Merritt, and I’m running for Student Council Secretary. I see the Secretary position as having two roles: one is to engage with and inform the campus community through documentation of StuCo activities and communication with the campus press, and the other is to serve as an active participant in StuCo. Both of these roles have a large impact on how students perceive StuCo and also how comfortable they feel participating in the ongoing dialogue about campus life.
My main interest in the position comes from a desire to be a part of discussions about the future of a place I have come to love. I have definitely come a long way since my freshman year, and much of that I owe to Swarthmore. I feel very lucky to be a part of this community, and I know that campus as we know it is a largely a product of the students who came before us. It was their initiative that got us bagged lunch, ninja-grams, and Yule Ball, among other things. While I love Swarthmore and appreciate the work of the ones who came before me, I still see much that we could do to improve campus life for students, current and future. Future StuCo initiatives that I will investigate this semester are: increased departmental accountability and transparency, improvement in the food situation on the weekends, the creation of another all-campus space where students can congregate, and a reevaluation of the yearly all-campus parties.
The variety of experiences I’ve had at Swarthmore would make me a candidate that could represent our diverse student body well. As President of the Women’s Rugby Club during 2011, I endeavored to convey how rewarding being a member of a student group can be in increasing our campus presence (and it worked! The team has more members than ever in its history!). I study math, engineering, and public policy, so I understand life in the sciences, but I’ve had my fair share of time in the social sciences and humanities too through my coursework and participation in musical extracurriculars. The Daily Gazette and the Phoenix are by and large the most popular sources for information on campus life. Students rarely read the official Secretary minutes, spending more time on articles and the comment threads. Thus the role of the Secretary to keep the newspapers, and therefore campus, well informed and engaged in campus-wide discussion is of utmost importance. I would be an effective, approachable source for information on current events, and I also hope to improve the accessibility and relevance of the StuCo website. I will perform the duties of Secretary well in addition to being an active, contributing member to StuCo. Vote for me! 🙂