MCSG Executive Board candidates present platforms to campus
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MCSG Executive Board candidates present platforms to campus

Correction: The print version and an earlier web version of this article misstated the position Johannes Davies ’18 is campaigning for as the Financial Affairs Committee (FAC) Chair . Davies is a candidate for the Student Organizations Committee Chair, not the FAC Chair.

The Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) Executive Board elections will be held on Monday, March 28. The following platforms and photos were submitted to The Mac Weekly by each candidate.

President Candidates

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Merrit Stüven ’17:

Hey everyone! My name is Merrit (she/her/hers) and I am running for MCSG president! I’m passionate about making MCSG a positive force on campus and I’d really appreciate your support.

The issues concerning MCSG I would most like to address are:

  1. Improving the current state of underrepresentation on MCSG, especially of female-identifying students and students of color, which I have been working on in MCSG this year. I have advocated for the creation of a ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ officer within MCSG as well as campaigns to increase awareness and encourage a more diverse group of students to run for office.

  2. Fostering a positive community within MCSG and encouraging class reps to take on leadership positions and initiative within their committees. I see it as the President’s role to provide institutional support for the work of class reps and committees, not to impose her own agenda on them. I aim to collaboratively create a set of goals and aspirations with the legislative body at the beginning of the year and would work to make sure that over the course of the year we are staying true to that document.

  3. Making MCSG into a body that students turn to with their concerns. This means making MCSG more approachable and welcoming to the student body and more attuned to student concerns, so that we can better advocate for you. Thank you all for your support! And remember, regardless of who you vote for, your vote matters.

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Suveer Daswani ’18:

I’m Suveer Daswani (he/him/his) and I’m running to be the 2016-2017 President of Macalester College Student Government (MCSG).

I believe the experiences I have had on MCSG for the past 2 years as a class representative and as a member of the Executive Board, have equipped me with the tools which I’m sure will help me if elected as your president.

As your president, in an effort to give back to the community, I will work towards the following issues:

  1. Communication and Awareness: I will work towards increasing awareness about MCSG among the student body, in order to remind students that they do have a platform to get their voices heard. Initiating open platforms for discussions and adopting creative strategies for outreach are some of the ways in which I hope to achieve this goal. I hope to shift our focus towards addressing student needs and concerns rather than focusing only on organizational functions.

  2. Health and Wellness: I will build a strong collaborative relationship with the Health and Wellness Center to ensure that students have continuous and easy access to health resources.

  3. Club Sports: I hope to establish a relationship with the Athletics Department to ensure that Club Sports are given greater support.

  4. Sustainability: I pledge to support the ongoing discussions and efforts on campus to reach Zero Waste by 2020, and work towards a cleaner, greener and healthier environment.

  5. MCSG Review: I will champion efforts such as the creation of a strategic plan and the adaptation of strategies to increase representation on MCSG from different groups on campus, to ensure that MCSG takes into consideration the helpful recommendations presented by the review team.

If you have any questions, please do contact me and I’ll be happy to chat!

Vice President Candidates

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Jack Chen ’18:

Hi! My name is Jack Chen. I’m from Shanghai, China, my PGPs are he/him/his, and I’m a sophomore applied mathematics and economics double major, currently serving on Financial Affairs Committee, Travel Fund Committee and Elections Procedures Committee.

I want to make student services more visible to the student body, including the Community Chest and Open Food Pantry. Many resources offered by Macalester are relatively unknown to the student body. If elected, I will work to increase the publicity given to these resources in order to increase students’ familiarity with them and make them more accessible. Also I would like to address problems on campus such as mental health issues, depression on campus and lack of diversity in MCSG.

As VP and SSRC chair, I will:

  1. Reform the role of VP. Currently, VP doesn’t have much of an administrative role, and by working with the President, I would like to improve the job parameters of the VP position.

  2. Define the role of Student Services And Relations Committee (SSRC) and the Community Chest by working with Legislative Body. SSRC is an open-ended committee in MCSG, creating some grey areas when allocating the Community Chest Fund.

  3. Coordinate with representatives and continue this year’s projects. I want to lead by supporting other members on the committee, and also work with under-represented student groups personally to encourage their representation in our student government.

  4. Organize more social events for students to share their experiences and feelings, creating an environment where one’s voice is heard.

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Colin Casey ’17:

Hello everyone, my name is Colin (he, him, his), I’m a junior here at Macalester. I currently serve as the Chief of Staff to the Executive Board, which consists of the MCSG’s President, Vice President/Student Services and Relations Chair, Financial Affairs Committee Chair, Student Organization Chair, Program Board Chair, and Academic Affairs Committee Chair. The Executive Board collectively sets the agenda for MCSG’s functions for the academic year. My experience working as the Chief of Staff provides me with vital insight into how to collaborate effectively to best meet students’ needs.

I believe mental health is a vitally important facet of student life that often goes overlooked. My goal as the Vice President/Student Services and Relations Committee (SSRC) Chair would be to follow in the footsteps of Jolena Zabel, the current VP/SSRC Chair, by holding forums for mental health awareness. I believe that by engaging the student community we can create a safer environment for people who suffer from mental illnesses.

I believe that the student government is a conduit for student interest to the faculty and staff of Macalester. I believe a successful student representative is happy and willing to engage students in any and all concerns they may have. As the Student Services and Relations Chair I believe I will be an excellent source of information and assistance for all things related to student government.

My goals also include helping MCSG retain its institutional memory, so future generations of Macalester College Student Government members can succeed.

Student Organizations Committee Chair Candidates

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Johannes Davies ’18:

Hi! My name is Johannes (he/him/his). I am currently a sophomore class representative and member of the Financial Affairs Committee (FAC) on MCSG. I am also a co-chair of Afrika!, one of Macalester’s largest cultural organizations. As SOC chair I would have a few main goals:

Institutionalize the Spring Org Fair, a recent Student Organizations Committee (SOC) initiative.

Improve communication between MCSG and student orgs. In particular SOLO trainings, an annual event orienting org leaders has been far too long, dense and complicated.

Using class representatives serving on the SOC as liaisons with orgs. Orgs would be able to access their SOC liaison with any questions, comments or needs. This would make communication faster and easier.

Work with the FAC to update and renew current budget limitations. For example, allowing orgs to request money to pay for bus passes so they can access relevant events in the Twin Cities. Other seemingly arbitrary caps could also be reviewed, including the $5 per t-shirt cap.

I feel my experience in MCSG and my experience as an org leader gives me a unique perspective. I understand the needs, wants and challenges of both sides. I am also open to any other ideas or suggestions.

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Dylan Smith ’17:

Hey y’all! My name is Dylan Smith (he, him, his) and I’m running for Student Organization Committee Chair (SOC). I’m an Economics and Philosophy double major. I have been a leader of DJ club for two and a half years now. I’ve helped orgs and Program Board run events like Carne Asada and Beyonce Kagin but also Class events like Senior Night at the Science Museum. And now I’m running for SOC chair as a person who’s been an org leader, but has also had a lot of communication with the previous SOC chairs and also Campus Activities staff. I think the student government has made some great leaps in assisting student orgs function, but I think there’s still some work to do. As SOC chair I would work as a liaison between orgs and the resources Macalester has to offer.

Some things I would hope to do in my term as SOC chair:

  1. Getting the meal donation program back on track

  2. Further assisting orgs in using OrgSync (budgeting and keeping track of finances)

  3. Helping to ensure proper leader transitions in each org

  4. Assisting students in chartering new orgs

  5. Making sure orgs are effectively able to reach out to students on campus

Hopefully by these endeavors I can ensure:

  1. Meal donations to charities again

  2. No more budgets are halved

  3. No more orgs go out of commission because of a lack of leaders

  4. An easy org chartering process

  5. Help orgs recruit students

Thank you for taking the time to read this and consider me.

Academic Affairs Committee Chair Candidate

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Remy Eisendrath ’17:

My name is Remy Eisendrath (he, him, his) of the class of 2017, and I am running for the position of Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) Chair. I have had the privilege of representing the junior class this spring, during which I have served on the AAC. While this window of time has been short, it has been truly invigorating and educational. I greatly appreciate the work that the current chair, Caroline Duncombe, and the rest of the committee has put into place. I believe that my exposure to the annual and long-term projects of the AAC such as the Alumni Fair and the Textbook Exchange provides me with the necessary knowledge for assuming the chair position. Furthermore, I have a number of my own ideas that I hope to see come to fruition next year: namely, art classes for credit and greater 24-hour study spaces. I am excited to have the opportunity to stay involved in MCSG and spend my senior year creating the most optimal environment for students to succeed.

March 25, 2016

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