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.
The Daily Gazette has reprinted this platform in full without changes:
My name is David Pipkin, and I am running for SGO Co-President. Leadership in any form is never something to be taken lightly. It should not be chased out of ambition nor courted out of self-interested, but rather – it ought to be earned, rooted in a sincere desire to serve and carried out with accessibility and integrity.
I found myself visited with this desire as I sought to serve as the senator for the Class of 2018, a position that I have found to be deeply gratifying. Having served on the Academic Affairs Committee, I have gained value experience about how curricular changes and academic policy and made and executed at Swarthmore. While on the Intercultural Center Director and Sophomore Class Dean Search Committee, I gained a better understanding of the work done by Dean’s Office, the Intercultural Center, and on academic advising.
I have been elated to be on SGO and feel pride at having been a part of the work that has been done thus far, but we have so much more to do. Concerning food, though I am happy about the change in the meal plan, I continue to feel that change is needed at Sharples – most notably the frequency of pasta bar.
Academically, I would also like to continue the exploration being performed in streamlining requirements, to grant students more choices in the classes that they take. I believe that education is a lifelong, all-encompassing, a uniquely personal experience, and I would like to find a way to enhance the ability of students to carve out their educational path while keeping with our values of providing a holistic and broad foundation across disciplines. This might manifest itself in a reduction of the amount of W’s one requires to graduate.
On campus, being committed to the health of our environment and reducing Swarthmore’s carbon footprint, I admire the educative work that has been done by Swarthmore’s Green Advisors – especially regarding what can and cannot be recycled. In this spirit, I want to pursue the possibility of reducing the amount of number 3 and 6 plastics used at Swarthmore that instead of being recycled are incinerated. Also more work can be done to increase the amount of recycling bins around campus. Though newer facilities like Danawell have many options other areas go underserved.
The most critical part of being a student representative is listening.Therefore I would work to increase the amount of surveys students are allowed to take concerning the issues I have mentioned and many more, because Swarthmore student government and Swarthmore writ large do not exist for themselves but for you.
Swarthmore is my home, a place to learn and grow both intellectually and socially, and I am immeasurably grateful for the experiences that I have enjoyed here – most of all those talks had with friends, late at night or over lunch, about politics, society, and campus life. As a result, the issue that is closest to my heart is campus dialogue. I firmly believe that an integral part of building community is conversation. I would like for our student representatives to be more involved in facilitating discussion around the issues that confront the Swarthmore community. The manifestation of this belief would be for SGO to partner with invested organizations and the Forum for Free Speech to host town halls and debates on those issues. Whatever the issue or question, it should be discussed in front of the student body by the interested parties and moderated by our representatives. When we disagree, we should do so intellectually, honestly, and passionately, but never disagreeably; because, another part of building community is mutual respect.
The premise of student government is giving students a voice in the polices and practices that concern them. I hope that you will help me make yours heard. If you have any questions, comments, or ideas email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; I can’t wait to hear them.