Election Guide 2014: Candidates for SOC Chair
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Election Guide 2014: Candidates for SOC Chair

Traditionally, MCSG sends us biographies of the candidates for us to publish, but this year we opted to distribute our own questionnaire to all the candidates. We hope that these responses are informative and helpful as you go about making your decisions on who to vote for this year. We have chosen not to endorse candidates this year.

James Lindgren ’15

jameslindgren(MCSG)

Why are you running for this position?

I am running for the SOC chair position because I believe that advocacy should be the focus of MCSG. The Student Organizations Committee should serve as voice for student orgs in their interactions with the FAC, academic departments, student-life departments and/or the College administration. In the past, student orgs have had some conflict with each other. In these situations, I would facilitate discussions between the orgs, rather than coming in and telling orgs how to “be better.” I want SOC to advocate for student orgs, rather than antagonize them.

What experience do you bring to this position, and what do you think you could contribute to MCSG and the Macalester community if elected?

My experience for the position comes from being in the leadership position of numerous organizations over the past three years, including Scotch Tape and the GeoClub, while serving on the MCSG legislative body in the past year. I have experienced the role of running a student org and have a working proficiency within MCSG showing that I can work through current channels to make lasting change. If elected, I will contribute a wealth of experience coupled with a deep-seated passion for advocacy, efficiency and equity.

What goals do you hope to achieve if elected?

If elected, I will scale back the provisions in the Student Government bylaws created to punish struggling organizations, and I will set a precedence for dialogue and teamwork that has been largely absent in the last few years.

How would you describe your leadership style?

My leadership style is simple. I believe in the power of dialogue through conflict and compromise. In the past few years, power plays and political maneuvers have become a growing problem in MCSG. If elected, I will put an end to this approach to student leadership at Macalester and rely on dialogue to achieve our collective goals.

Is there anything you would change about MCSG? If so, how would you seek to achieve that?

I would reduce the amount of oversight and punitive actions of MCSG over student organizations and make the primary purpose of MCSG to be one of dedicated advocacy.

There are a lot of orgs on campus; over 110. What are your plans to make each org feel like it is welcome and well-represented?

I feel that the best way to make each and every student org feel welcome and well-represented is to assign Org Liaisons/Advocates in the SOC. Each member of the SOC will be assigned a list of organizations and will be responsible for staying up-to-date on the needs of the org, as appropriate. Additionally, I will work to shift the current culture that requires organizations to approach the SOC and require them to understand the ins and outs of student government bureaucracy. The SOC should help cut through that tape. I will make the SOC completely open to help any student org on the orgs terms.

Cole Ware ’17

coleware(MCSG)

Why are you running for this position?

I believe that everyone at Macalester has something to contribute to the community. During my first election as a class representative I remarked at the diversity and strength of students’ contributions; we have slam poets, we have madly-good intramural soccer players, singers and mathematicians: all things I cannot claim to do well. My contribution has been as part of MCSG — as an organizer, a planner — and I hope to strengthen my contribution as next year’s SOC chair.

What experience do you bring to this position, and what do you think you could contribute to MCSG and the Macalester community if elected?

Most relevantly, my time as part of the SOC this year would serve me well as next year’s chair. Observing — and participating in — the accomplishments and the errors of this year’s SOC has given me a perspective of informed change moving into next year. Importantly, as the SOC assumes the role of promoting the use of organization management software on campus, I hope to contribute my unique knowledge as the seniors who worked with me to spearhead the planning of that project graduate.

What goals do you hope to achieve if elected?

I have two goals. First, I hope to further real communication between student organizations and the SOC. Communication is important in and of itself. However, it serves another purpose; in looking to improve next year’s SOC, I hope to incorporate greater input from student organizations in the idea-forming process. While I have faith in Macalester to produce a capable SOC next year, adding in this “organic” approach to solving problems can only improve outcomes for student organizations. Second, I hope to continue improving OrgSync, justifying its cost to MCSG and other students.

How would you describe your leadership style?

Two things go into my leadership style: trust and foresight. I like to trust those I work with to contribute with their strengths, while I use mine: planning it all out.

Is there anything you would change about MCSG? If so, how would you seek to achieve that?

MCSG houses some dedicated individuals who attain real results, but room for improvement is there. Often MCSG struggles to integrate broad student opinion — with notable exceptions like the resolution promoting faculty diversity; and, moving forward, informing and asking the Macalester community for opinions is the solution: class-wide email updates, etc.

There are a lot of orgs on campus; over 110. What are your plans to make each org feel like it is welcome and well-represented?

“Organic” problem solving. This year the SOC has accomplished much, much to the credit of the SOC’s members. However, there is an untapped reservoir of ideas and problem-solving guile in Macalester’s own student organizations. Integrating their opinions — from “smaller” organizations to larger ones, from cultural to academic organizations — would be the hallmark of my time on SOC.

April 4, 2014

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