Victor Brady ’13 for Co-President

Hey Swat! My name is Victor Brady ’13, and I would love to be your Student Council Co-President. Having nearly reached the end of my third incredible year here at Swarthmore, I am eager to give back to this community by serving on Student Council. As Co-President, I will work to ensure not just the relevance of Student Council, but more importantly, of your individual and collective ideas, opinions and concerns in enriching this community.

The recent student councils have made important progress in increasing the transparency of decision-making at Swarthmore through fireside chats and open dialogues. But I believe that transparency extends beyond the creation of forums, some quickly forgotten, for discussing ideas and decisions. Transparency must be increased not just in the interaction between administrators and students but also amongst students and between clubs, organizations and committees. I will extend transparency into action not just to represent student concerns in administrative decisions but also to increase collaboration among organizations and committees with similar missions and to increase the accessibility of student activity funding.

Swarthmore has remarkable financial resources for organizing activities but too often, these resources are hidden in an intricate web of committees, forums, and administrative or departmental offices. No student should miss out on these resources because they are unable to untangle an overly complicated financial network. In addition to working with our Student Budget and Activities Committees to streamline the funding process, I will create a map of all of Swarthmore’s sources of funding to increase the transparency of and accessibility to those funds. Part of the mapping process will be an evaluation of all of our current clubs, organizations and committees to determine where there exists overlap in mission or activities. By putting these groups in contact with one another, we can create greater collaborative projects and reduce redundancy in funding.

Too often, events that occur on campus overlap and conflict with one another not due to poor planning but due to a lack of an easily accessible and user-friendly calendar when planning events weeks or even months in advance. Swarthmore should have an easily-accessible community event calendar through which all activities, student-run, administrative-run, even arboretum-run, are entered. Our current campus calendar leaves much to be desired in comparison to our peer institutions and I will work to create an improved system so that unnecessary and unintentional conflicts can be avoided.

While I laud the current student council’s use of open discussion to increase dialogue about important issues within our community, I believe that the current model of discussion must be adapted to ensure greater student voice. These dialogues often face great time constraints and so they should take on a more town-hall-meeting design that emphasizes student concern rather than background information or even responses from administrators or student council. Open discussions provide a unique opportunity for students to have their opinions publicly heard by administrators and your student council and so student input should be maximized. Through this new model, background information on an open-discussion topic will be delivered through student publications or hard copy prior to a dialogue and the responses to student ideas will be delivered similarly after the discussion is completed. When a substantial portion of open discussions are lost to opening statements or the reiteration of current policy, the discussions lose their effectiveness as public forums for student input.

Several of my experiences at Swarthmore will help me effective serve as Co-President. When I served on student council as a student life representative in 2011, I initiated the Small-Steps campaign to address and alleviate small points of contention on campus. That campaign has been a tremendous success. Class-registration has been adjusted so that the MySwarthmore system no longer freezes at midnight when the servers are overloaded by students logging into to pre-register. Meal-equivalencies in Tarble have been adjusted so that a meal is actually a meal, and the current student council is working to address several additional concerns. I will continue to utilize Small-Steps to improve the quality of student life on campus. This is one of the jobs of student council, to act as a facilitator in addressing concerns that add up to a general frustration with student life and I will work to better align student councils goals with the goals of the student body. Our student council is only effective if it tackles issues that are import to you.

In addition to my year on student council, I have served on the Deans Advisory Council and on the Student Advisory Committee to the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. I have extensive experience meeting with administrators, and more importantly, in standing up as a representative of your ideas. I have served as a tourguide since the second semester of my freshman year and initiated the Garnet Sports Network at Swarthmore, one of the premier Division III broadcasting networks. I believe in action. And as co-president, I will seek out your ideas for action and work with you to transform suggestions and concerns into tangible action that strengthens and enriches our community.

As always, my ears, and my door, are always open. I am eager to serve as your next student council co-president.

All the best,
Victor Brady ’13

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