Student Council 2007 Platforms

Sarah Roberts ’08, a candidate for Financial Policy Representative, failed to send a platform to the Daily Gazette. Other platforms are published below and are arranged by order received.

PRESIDENT

Carlos Villafuerte ’08
My platform is plain and simple, I promise if elected President to do my best to help Swarthmore grow in the direction the student body deems desirable. Like all things in life Swarthmore is always changing. I promise to do my best to change it into something the student body will be proud to be a part of and enjoy.

My ability to adapt and accommodate for unforeseen obstacles that arise and reach my goals is my biggest asset in running for President. Swarthmore is always facing obstacles that obstruct its path. My ability to roll with the punches is essential to be successful in making change in a direction that is desired. I plan to use it to help student council succeed in its initiatives, like the thanksgiving break in the spring.

I am experienced in being a part of important organizations that evoke change and have great responsibility at Swarthmore, like SBC since 2005. I am also no stranger to the difficulties and hardships that positions of leadership entail. I vow to do my best to help Swarthmore develop and grow for the student body.

Peter Gardner ’08
My name is Peter Gardner and I’m running for Student Council because I’m frustrated with the perceived irrelevancy of Student Council and I know how to fix it. We have loads of money and potential influence but no one wants to bother with approaching student council and the SBC to tap into it. Policy initiatives are proposed but it takes weeks (if not semesters) for the student council to cut through administrative red-tape and actually DO anything about them. In short, few people seem to care. I want to change that.

I have a two-pronged approach to student governance. First, I will focus on the things people want NOW. There are short term, tangible solutions that would make student life better. For example, I will push for a re-introduction of the soft-serve ice cream machine. Where did it go? No one knows. We have upwards of 500,000 dollars in SBC money and we can’t afford a soft serve machine? I call shenanigans on that. I will also push for later McCabe and Cornell hours. Every other comparable school has late-night library abilities yet we are left trying to find quiet, internet-accessible space to write after 1 AM. Unacceptable and easily fixable. I am not pressing for a 24-hour library, I am merely observing that the library does stay open late during reading week. Why can’t that be a permanent fixture? Similarly, I want to introduce a late-night coffee bar. The coffee in McCabe at 10 PM is good, but it could be improved upon. There are plenty of reliable, unemployed students who could run a bar and all they would have to do is brew coffee. Not that complicated, quite necessary, and totally doable.

Second, I will think about long-term improvements. First and foremost, I will trim down inefficiencies of the student council. Requests for the development of committees to explore the creation of new committees for the management of subcommittees is patently absurd yet, apparently, frequent. There is no reason to have dozens of committees and subcommittees that serve only to pad resumes. Consolidation is needed for the student council to gain legitimacy.

In keeping with the consolidation thrust of my platform, I will push for a re-introduction of the Thanksgiving in Spring idea that was tabled indefinitely by the administration. There are certainly legitimate arguments against the idea, but the response to deadlock should not be indefinite silencing. The Student Council fought valiantly this year for an initiative that most students agreed was a good idea but they were halted at every turn by a reluctant administration. We should reintroduce the initiative and get closure on the issue one way or another.

Another ongoing initiative that should be readdressed next year is Sharples’ operating hours and the issue of meals. Why can’t meals roll over into the next week? Why can’t you spend three or four meals at one time? Why doesn’t the administration trust the student body to manage our eating habits? I don’t know the answers to these questions but I can guarantee you that I will find them out and work to create viable alternatives.

These are just some of my ideas but I’m sure that you have more. In order to tap into what YOU want, if elected I will hold weekly tabling sessions in Sharples where you can come and complain. That’s right. You come and complain, and I will listen. Your issues will be taken up directly at the next Student Council meeting and you won’t have to wait for weeks to see progress.

Students lose faith in the Council when they perceive the Council to be irrelevant. It shouldn’t be irrelevant and if you vote for me it won’t be.

Thanks for reading this message and please vote this weekend for Peter Gardner.

Rasa Petrauskaite ’08
I believe that Swarthmore is a great place to be and that we have everything here to keep us happy. In my view, the role of the Student Council should be to try to improve the Swarthmore environment even further, whenever that is possible. With this in mind, I believe I would make a good President of the Student Council because of my good working relationship with the college administration and other members of the SC, ongoing efforts to understand which initiatives are both valuable to students and attainable, and prior experience on the SC and leading other organizations.

If elected, I will work to achieve the following:

Make our Dining Services more flexible:

Allow points to be used in the Ville, have Sharples stay open longer, and allow students to take food out of Sharples

Improve college facilities:
Install double-sided printers in all dorms, a universal dorm access system, free laundry machines, DVD players in all dorms, vending machines in study areas, a printer in the Trotter computer lab, and a fax machine and another printer in McCabe
Increase the number of computers in Cornell (especially PCs) and in McCabe
Extend the hours of McCabe to 2 am on nights preceding workdays

Feel free to contact me at rpetrau1 or (650) 863-1505.

Louis Rosenberg ’09
At Swarthmore, the Student Council President is given an important and unique opportunity to improve student life by communicating student concerns and Student Council initiatives to the College administration. My involvement in Curriculum Committee, FFS, the Interfaith Center, and various other campus organizations has taught me how to interact with the administration. It has also taught me that students, when their views are effectively represented, can greatly influence the direction of the College. The Student Council President must be able to coordinate the efforts of campus leaders and Council colleagues to accomplish the goals of the student body.

The incredible passion driving student groups to undertake campus-wide initiatives is noteworthy and should be facilitated through Student Council. As President, I will make student government more accessible and responsive to the everyday concerns of individual students by establishing Student Council Dorm Representatives. Before Council members can act on the concerns of students, they must first know and understand those concerns. Student Council needs a President with strong organizational skills, a good relationship with the administration, and a commitment to following through on Council initiatives. I have developed each of these abilities through my involvement in serving on College committees and by leading campus groups.

STUDENT GROUPS ADVISOR

Paul Apollo ’09
If elected, I pledge to expand the role as Student Groups Advisor and transform it into an invaluable resource for all groups on campus. Firstly, I pledge that I will ensure the existence of a well stocked group space accessible to every organization on campus. The idea that there should be a shared space for all groups to handle all of their craft related tasks for free is a good one, but unfortunately the group space as it exists now is run down and often lacking supplies. I pledge to serve as a liaison between any desiring group and the school administration. Being on Student Council, I will have more access to the deans than most, and I would be willing to voice the legitimate concerns of any group that desires me to do so. I pledge to offer myself a resource to any group looking for funding. The money system at this school can be very confusing and I will be an open resource in this respect. I pledge to work with any willing group of students to ensure the expedient chartering of new groups and the re-chartering of the old. I want to help expedite both processes so groups can focus on their mission statements rather than school bureaucracy. I pledge to do my best to ensure both the existence of seed money and widespread access to it, in order to help new groups get off the ground. Often the hardest part of founding a group is just getting that first event together to solidify interest, and seed money (which is now absent either absent or entirely unused) can be invaluable in helping with that. Lastly, I pledge to work tirelessly to ensure that every aspect of my job is tended to with the utmost care. It is a difficult and time consuming job, but I pledge that I will, if necessary, give up my life so you can live yours.

As a member of SBC, I have long advocated to give the maximum level of funding to all groups on campus. I have worked tirelessly with words and votes against more conservative elements on the committee who often try to strictly limit the scope of what SBC is willing to fund. Along with voting for numerous proposals made by groups, I voted for an augmentation to the supplies of the Paces Cafe, I voted for an additional RAtech sound system for expanded access their service and I voted for the continuation of the fun fund. This would not change during my tenure as Groups Advisor. I will work to ensure the survival of the fun fund, so the student body can continue to benefit from ideas presented by individuals. This is valuable resource that much of SBC wants altered or eliminated. I have a record of trying to give back to students the maximum amount of their acitivity fund, and that would certainly not change.

Adam Yie ’09
While I lack experience on Student Council, I’m honest, hardworking, and responsible.

I promise nothing but that I will serve the Swarthmore community as well as I can. Thank you for your consideration.

EDUCATIONAL POLICY REPRESENTATIVE

Andrew Quinton ’08
Over the past two years, Educational Policy Representative Eleanor Joseph ’07 has been a part of the implementation of a number of useful reforms, including the revival of the Class Recommendations Book and the extension of the Credit/No Credit declaration deadline. The potential to be part of similar improvements is what now motivates me to run for the same position.

There are a couple of things that I would want the Council on Educational Policy–one of the committees that the Ed. Policy Rep. sits on to address. One is the first-year seminar program. FYS’s are used extensively to “sell” Swarthmore to prospective students, but the enrollment process–in which some students end up taking multiple seminars while others are shut out–needs to be revisited. Another issue is the athletics/academics conflict policy. While I am not an athlete, I have worked extensively for the athletics department and have observed many frustrated and/or confused student-athletes who want to find a workable solution to scheduling conflicts but encounter resistance from professors.

The Curriculum Committee another committee of which the Ed. Policy Rep. is a member–is set to consider the “Thanksgiving in the Spring” two-day break proposal next year. I would advocate for its implementation as per the results of this year’s student body referendum but would also address the concerns that were raised about the possible shortening of reading week and/or compaction of the exam period.

More generally, as someone pursuing an interdisciplinary minor and having a broad faith in the liberal arts, I have a strong belief in the value of educational diversity. Programs such as Arabic and Japanese need to be maintained and improved to allow Swarthmore students to deal with a changing world.

Lastly, I want to help Student Council consolidate and extend the improvements it has made in organization and transparency over the past year. During my time on the Daily Gazette and the Student Budget Committee, I have been fortunate to build personal relationships with many of the movers and shakers of the current student body and I am confident that I will be able to effectively use those experiences during a Council tenure. As much as anything, I believe in the power and importance of good listening and thoughtful discussion. Regardless of the issues (educational policy or otherwise) that Council will face over the next year, I am confident that I can help to resolve them in a thoughtful and professional manner. Thank you for your interest in the elections process, and don’t hesitate to contact me at aquinto1 with any questions or concerns.

Eric Brown ’09
In our society we mark success as college matriculation and completion, yet less than 30% of our population succeeds to such levels. As students at Swarthmore we are tasked with making social impact and change across our varied disciplines. My focuses of study are Psychology and Educational Studies which have provided me with great insight into ways of bettering the educational experience here at Swarthmore and abroad. With this background in education I hope to further our educational experiences as the Educational Policy Representative to Student Council.

My studies have placed me on both sides of the educational system. I have done extensive work in the Chester School District as a teacher and aid. This has given me profound insight into the difficulties of teaching and meeting the needs of the students. As Ed. Policy Representative I will help faculty better meet the need of the students. I will also bring a few new reforms and initiatives to the table. My prior relationships with deans and administrators will allow me to better fill this position which is so heavily based on these interactions.

First and foremost I plan to continue the work started by Eleanor Joseph who has done an amazing job in the position these past two years. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize all of her hard work over the years. Thank you Eleanor you will be missed.

Success at Swarthmore often hinges on our use of the established academic help programs (WAs, SAMs, and TAs) that are offered. I would like to continue Eleanor’s efforts of focusing these aids into one help desk which will provide students, with a central place for those last minute needs. I will also continue with Eleanor’s Class Rec. Book which has provided us all such a wonderful service.

Another initiative that I would like to bring to the forefront would be the development of a program that further aids in the transition from high school to college. This program, targeted to first generation college students and underrepresented minorities, will offer on-campus mentorship and enrichment programs. This program will better aid those who have the hardest time adjusting to the Swarthmore environment.

It is important to recognize that students enter this institution at a variety of different levels. Though all of us are very intelligent, the skills that we have been equipped with before Swarthmore vary. Math above all other disciplines is one in which success is based on prior experience. Coming into Swarthmore we have very different mathematical experiences and Math 15 is not an adequate starting position. As Ed. Policy Representative I will push for a pre-calculus class that will prepare students for higher level math courses.

Though the educational atmosphere at Swarthmore is challenging and truly one of a kind it is not without flaw. As Educational Policy Representative I will take on these flaws head-on and make Swarthmore a place that fosters true academic success for all its students. I would like to thank you for reading my platform and also thank you in advance for your vote. As a representative of the student body I will work for you, so all of your input is welcome. Please feel free to contact me with any suggestions or questions that you may have.

Elisha Ann ’08
Have you ever felt unsatisfied about prerequisites for your major? Uninterested by the course offerings? Or concerned about the availability of writing courses to fulfill your graduation requirement? Want to see more syllabi before you register for a course? Would you like to see more changes like the extension of the Credit/No Credit deadline?

If elected as your Educational Policy Representative, these are all issues (among others) that I will work on to express students’ voices and motivate change in our college.

With that said, I believe that Swarthmore College is a place where student’s academic interests are valued, and a place where the faculty and students strive to create a system in which academic flexibility is allowed in order to enhance critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and perspective. With the college’s resources and potential, it is imperative to re evaluate the current system and continually discuss the usefulness of student resources, course requirements, and ways to support student academics.

The current Educational Policy Representative, Eleanor Joseph ’07, worked on several great initiatives. I would like to continue this trend. For example, professors can now post their syllabi on Blackboard for potential students to view, even before they register for classes. I have noticed, however, that many courses do not have their syllabi posted. If elected, I would further encourage professors to post their syllabi. One way would be to work with the Curriculum Committee, Provost, and professors to designate a central person to be responsible for uploading the syllabi to make it an easier process for faculty. Another way may be to compile course syllabi in McCabe Reserves that students could check out for viewing in the library.

I would also like to raise discussion about course requirements and offerings in our school. While valuable, I have witnessed some students struggling to fit in W designated courses in their schedule, because there is not a wide enough range of W courses. Some students say that while their class may require a lot of writing, they do not get credit as a W course. This is because W courses require that the writing process be explicitly taught throughout the course, usually utilizing the WA program. While the college requires three W courses, it would be helpful if the W courses did not hinder the selection of other courses students would like to take. I, with the help of administrators, would encourage professors that already require a lot of writing in their course to undertake course development and integrate more Writing course criteria. Then, more courses could eventually be designated as W courses.

Also, for the pass/fail freshmen semester, I would like to encourage and help professors be accountable to their students by making sure to provide shadow grades, because this serves as important feedback for students.

While my time here at Swarthmore, I have witnessed the eventual growth of the Arabic program. Of global importance in our day and age, I support the continuation of the program, and of an eventual and potential Middle Eastern Studies program (analogous to our Latin American Studies, Black Studies, and Asian Studies program). Our interdisciplinary programs, I believe, should also strive to cover a greater breadth of courses, through hiring certain professors, which I will support. As a college that supports and values diversity on many levels, I think that course offerings should reflect this belief.

Lastly, I would like to see more collaboration between the different academic resources and groups we have on campus. Perhaps having SAMs or WAs available in places outside of their current designated spots, to places such as McCabe would make them more accessible to students. Additionally, I believe that presentations require a support system similar to the WA program, and will work on implementing such a program.

In any given elected position, I feel the most important responsibility is to keep an open mind, especially to student voices and opinions. I would help promote transparency and communication between administrators, students, and faculty, perhaps through venues such as fireside chats about important academic issues. I have always been a person that reaches decisions through discussion, and hope that you will engage in this with me. Thanks for taking the time to read my platform!!!

CAMPUS LIFE REPRESENTATIVE

Kate Aizpuru ’10
I know I will do a great job working for the student body as a part of student council. I have friends in every class and almost every group on campus, and I am aware of the issues and concerns that are relevant to campus life. I already know I can work well with many of the current members of student council, and I look forward to meeting and working alongside any of the other people campaigning right now. As a freshman, I will bring a fresh point of view, little cynicism and a great attitude to the job. I am a fun-loving, laughter-filled individual but I also know how to buckle down, take things seriously and meet my goals. That is why I am your candidate for Campus Life Representative: the perfect blend of work and play. Vote for me, and get your friends to vote too! Thanks.

Alyssa Work ’08
After three years here at Swarthmore, I know there’s more to campus life than the Sharples-McCabe-Science Center triangle. Having gotten to know the issues and organizations students care about, and having become deeply involved in several of them, I’m running for Campus Life Representative because I want every student to get his or her tuition’s worth, not just of book learnin’, but of every aspect of college.

As Campus Life Representative, I will translate grumblings about uninspired weekend events, inadequate campus safety, scanty Tarble meal credit, rowdy squirrels, etc. into a conversation with the Deans Advisory Council and a commitment to reform. This means devoting time and energy to creative thinking about change, knowing which deans to address with specific issues, and lending an open ear to student concerns. Hit me with them whenever: my e-mail is awork1.

My name is Work, but it doesn’t mean that’s all I stand for. Vote for me for a lively and slightly more headache-free 2007-2008.


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