Q&A With Swarthmore’s New Co-President, Victor Brady

Sarah Coe-Odess: Why did you decide to run for co-president?
Victor Brady: I’m really focused on working to make Swarthmore more accessible and user-friendly. I think having been here for three plus years now, repeated things keep coming up. And how do you go about addressing them? I figured that this was a pretty good way.

SC: Have you been considering running for a while?
VB: After serving as Student Life Representative, I decided to run as co-president as a senior. I had the chance to work with really capable leaders in Simon Zhu ‘11 and Olivia Ensign ‘12. They set the bar pretty high.

SC: What qualities did you learn from them?
VB: They were very big on action. There was a big culture of inaction in Student Council, and they were able to make some progress on that front. I’m sure they would have liked to do more, and I wanted to do more. So I want to continue to do that. Simon, having worked as manager of SBC, was very attuned to the budgeting and student finances, and that’s something that’s going to be increasingly important.

SC: What is the first thing you want to accomplish?
VB: We had a meeting yesterday, and we have four or five things we’re starting to work on. Haverford and Bryn Mawr both have programs to get free SEPTA tickets to get into the city for entertainment purposes, and we want a system like that. Ian Anderson ‘13 and I are working on a proposal to have students work at the coffee bars until 2:00 in the morning […] to create student jobs. And we’re having every member propose something on that type of scale and divide up next week to discuss them. We don’t want to accomplish just one idea — we’re working on many fronts.

SC: What are you most looking forward to as co-president?
VB: Accomplishing some of these things. There’s been a lot of talk about late night food options, and SEPTA tickets have come up year after year. We have a very dedicated group on Student Council that wants to make things happen, and I think it will be very fulfilling and beneficial to the community.

SC: What do you hope to learn from the experience?
VB: I certainly hope to see other people’s sides to Swarthmore. Everyone has a very unique Swarthmore experience, and working as a head tour guide has helped me get a better window into people’s Swarthmore experiences. I think Student Council will as well. I want to learn what are other people’s concerns and visions, and how can we work for that as a community?

SC: What has been an important decision StuCo has made during your time at Swat that you want to model your work after?
VB: I think the Small Steps Forward campaign we started a year and a half ago was critical. Prior to that, there was no form of student suggestions after the elections, which, quite frankly, I think is quite shocking. I think the Small Steps Forward is critical to maintaining legitimacy and policy change.

SC: How do you think working with Student Council is different than working with a Swarthmore athletic team?
VB: Delegation is going to be critical to being successful at Student Council. Understanding that every one of us, regardless of our title, plays an equal role in achieving what we want, which I think is very similar to an athletic team. Everyone on the field and on the team plays an equal role in the success, so I think that’s similar.

SC: Do you think you can apply any qualities that you’ve acquired from being so involved in the athletic department to being co-president?
VB: I think that especially the field hockey and softball teams have been extremely welcoming and supportive of my work, despite my Y chromosome, and I think that goes back to understanding the different Swarthmore experiences and valuing individual experiences and emphases here in the community.

SC: If you could compare your leadership skills to any athlete or coach, who would it be and why?
VB: J.J. Watt on the Houston Texans has the most remarkable motor that I can remember seeing in an athlete. […] His work ethic is unparalleled, and his foundation Dream Big, Work Hard helps youth in Wisconsin. I wear his wristbands on both arms. His card’s motto is, “No dream is too big if you have the right work ethic.” I think that’s a really good reminder and a way that I try to work, and that I hope our student council will try to work this year and this semester.

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