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.
Dear Fellow Students:
My name is Camille Robertson, and I am running for Campus Life Representative. Now a rising senior, I would like put the experience and perspective I have gained over my past three years here in the service of the student body by working to implement structural changes that will allow for and foster a more inclusive and open dialogue among students, and within the larger College and local community.
In my time at Swarthmore, I have learned that effective public communication and collaboration begins with setting up mutually agreed upon systems and methods of student engagement that are sensitive and affirmative of differences in modes of dialogue. Specifically, I draw from my experiences as:
– EcoSphere Coalition (of environmental justice and sustainability groups) founder
– Diversity Workshop facilitator
– Queer and Trans Conference Planning Committee publicity and outreach coordinator
– Earthlust “facilitator of the facilitators” and event and initiative organizer
– Capoeira club treasurer, and once Ultimate Frisbee van coordinator
Throughout this work, I have strived to respond to the particular requirements and goals of each group. For example, coordinating the new EcoSphere coalition, one way to meet the student groups’ expressed desire to have more streamlined communication was to creation an email listserv to publish weekly newsletters of environmental events, announcements, and opportunities, in addition to our monthly meetings with representatives of each group, the Sustainability Coordinator, and the Chair of Environmental Studies. Watching participating students talk through different approaches to environmental activism and leverage their joint voice to engage administrators and members of the Board of Managers reinforced for me the importance of structures that facilitate strong intergroup dialogue.
The communication needs and preferences of the student body should dictate the avenues of information circulation and types of discussion forums that the StuCo Campus Life Representatives oversee. Elected to this position, I would pursue the following initiatives:
– outreach to established student forums such as the IC-BCC coalition and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee to identify key issues for discussion and action
– further investigate the possibility of a Student Groups Union that would facilitate skill and resource sharing, event co-organizing, and cross-campus dialogue
– establish more effective response mechanisms to campus incidents by creating more digital and physical forums for students to discuss the issues
– increase the number and distribution of gender neutral bathrooms in residential and academic buildings to affirm a broader spectrum of gender identities or expressions
– advocate for renovating social and cultural spaces such as the big Intercultural Center room to make them fully accessible to all students, faculty, staff, and guests of the College
I look forward to discussing these matters more fully with the campus as StuCo Campus Life Representative, and thank you for your consideration of my proposals.
Camille Robertson ‘13