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.
Hey Swat! My name is Vic Brady ’13, and I am running for StuCo Co-President.
As StuCo Co-President, I will:
- Expand the Small Steps Campaign that I created as Student Life Representative in 2011 to target more areas of contention on campus.
- Create a Student Activities Forum with group leadership to increase awareness among organizations and committees with similar missions to collaborate and create collective projects.
- Increase the accessibility of student, administrative, financial and support resources through the creation of organized and user-friendly resource-maps.
- Create a student-access-only events calendar, in line with our peer institutions, so that all student events, from speakers to fraternity parties, are easily visible in one easy-to-navigate calendar.
- Act. Debating which large project to address is a thing of the past. We can, and we will, tackle all of our large project ideas. It is not a question of spreading ourselves too thin – it is a question of living up to our positions on Student Council.
Over the summer, I had a lot of time to think about my first three years here, about how much we have grown as a community and how much work we have left to do in living up to the core values of the institution. As Co-President, I will work to ensure the implementation of our collective ideas and that student opinions and concerns are impactful in building this community through action.
In reading through The Daily Gazette’s summary of the last Student Council meeting, I was reminded of much that I see wrong with Student Council. The current debate over what the “big plan of action” for council should be this semester epitomizes the indecision, inaction, and culture of excuses that has handcuffed Student Council. StuCo speaks of dreaming big and considering the following ideas, but those dreams are wasted without the hard work to make them reality. The planning of a new building should be addressed in relation to the implementation of our strategic plan. After-hour food should be addressed by Small-Steps Forward. The return of Quaker-style collections has been addressed by student-life representatives in the Dean’s Advisory Committee. Determining the large issue around which to mobilize the community should not be an either-or issue. Rather, the answer is a resounding yes to every single one. That is the responsibility of Student Council – as opposed to spending weeks debating which project to address only to run out of time in a semester as has happened too many times in recent years. And if elected to Student Council, I promise that we will address all of these projects and so much more, together as a community. We will change this culture of excuses and inaction.
I believe in action. When I served on StuCo as a Student Life Representative in 2011, I initiated the Small-Steps campaign to address and alleviate small points of contention that add up to larger frustration on campus. That campaign has been a resounding success. Class-registration has been adjusted so that the MySwarthmore system no longer freezes at midnight when the servers are overloaded by students logging in to pre-register. Meal-equivalencies in Tarble have been adjusted so that a meal is actually a meal. We will continue to utilize Small-Steps to improve the quality of student life on campus. This is one of the jobs of StuCo, to act as a facilitator in addressing concerns that add up to a general frustration with student life. Our StuCo will tackle issues that are important to this community.
Swarthmore boasts tremendous financial, support, and extra-curricular resources but too often these resources are hidden in an intricate labyrinth of paperwork, administrative and departmental offices, and confusion. Many of my ideas for Student Council will address this sea of lost and inaccessible information. No one should miss out on our resources because they are unable to untangle our overcomplicated networks. Club leadership from across the spectrum of extra-curriculars should join together on a monthly or bi-monthly basis to develop community-wide initiatives and to join in smaller cross-cutting endeavors, and this should be overseen, encouraged, and facilitated by StuCo as the body charged with chartering and overseeing the success of our extra-curriculars. Such collaboration will not occur for the sake of collaboration but to create tangible community-building events. And Swarthmore should have a student-access-only events calendar so that groups can plan events without unnecessary overlap and we can actually figure out what events, educational, social, and everything in between, we want to go to. Our current calendar leaves much to be desired.
And more important than any of the ideas I might have is my experience on StuCo and on the Dean’s Advisory Council. Invariably, semester after semester, urgent issues arise that were not on StuCo’s horizon at the start of the semester, from party permits, to the push for a sorority, to the creation of a Rollover Fund Grand Committee. When these issues come up, my individual ideas become secondary to these urgent campus concerns. But I have the experience of organizing fire-side chats, of raising concerns at Board of Managers meetings, of bringing student concerns to and addressing them with our Dean’s Office. And I will work for solutions. We will act, and we will find solutions that are rooted in our core values. Previous StuCo/SBC familiarity is critical to being a successful StuCo president, and I will draw upon my previous experience as student life representative.
I am committed to building a more-accessible, user-friendly Swarthmore. I am committed to increasing student input. And I am committed to action, not on a limited scale, but on the sweeping scale that we should expect of our Student Council.
My ears, and my door, are always open. I am eager to serve as StuCo Co-President.
All the best,
Vic Brady ’13
In lieu of a Q+A session, StuCo asks that students use the comments section of The Daily Gazette to discuss the candidate’s platform. For this reason, StuCo encourages students to use their real names.