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Get To Know MCSG’s Presidential Candidates: Blair Cha ’20 and Ryan Perez ’20

Blair Cha ’20

by Lindsay Weber

MSCG Vice President and Chair of the Student Services and Relations Committee Blair Cha ’20 has announced her candidacy for President of Macalester College Student Government (MCSG).

When asked what prompted her to run, Cha touted her two years of experience on MCSG and dedication to bettering the student body through developing positive relationships with campus leaders.

“Some part of it is that I have the skills, I want to run,” Cha said. “But also, it’s kind of an obligation—that I am the next person to carry the torch from other woman leaders that believed in me.”

Should she win the election, Cha hopes to empower those with marginalized identities, emphasizing the importance of student voices in creating institutional change.

“On the whole campus, it still feels uncomfortable to talk about intersectional topics such as menstruation, being queer, being a POC, et cetera, at Macalester,” Cha said. “[I’m interested in] starting a culture that makes Macalester students care.”

Cha emphasized her continued dedication to bettering students’ experiences. She mentioned her passion for speaking up about her experiences to empower students and ensure them they are not alone on this campus.

“This really fits my personality,” she continued. “It’s hard work, but I’m also very lucky to be in this position, because I’m basically being who I am, but with student support. I see value in working for people who believe in me.”

Cha believes that she deserves the student vote due to her significant experience in MCSG. Cha has helped execute several student initiatives including Open Pantry, the Menstrual Hygiene project, the Professional Clothing Drive and Better Sex at Mac.

She mentions that her experience as an Executive Board member this year has exposed her to the politics of MCSG decision-making and has helped her gain the trust of the wider student body. In addition, she hopes her identity as an international student and women of color allows marginalized students to feel represented and heard on campus.

“When I’m sitting in the LB room, I see the people who do not speak up a lot, and often those are people of color,” Cha said. “By being President… I think I will give a lot of people hope and reassurance.”

Ryan Perez ’20

by Thomas Sasdi

Junior Class Representative Ryan Perez ’20 has announced his candidacy for President of Macalester College Student Government (MCSG). A first-generation college student, the main tenet of Perez’s campaign is supporting student welfare and improving quality of life on campus.

“I’m running because right now, on MCSG, there’s a discussion around what the priorities of MCSG should be,” Perez said.

Perez discussed his support for reallocating student activity fee funds to programs that support low-income students.

“I believe that students want to see that money going to programs like the GSAT program, which helps subsidize test-taking based on financial need…[and] Programs like SUIT [Subsidy for Unpaid Internship Transit],” Perez said.

Perez is focused on increasing inclusion and equity on campus.

“When we talk about the student activity fee as it relates to student life and inclusion and equity, we’re coming from a place of zero,” Perez said.

“My key platform piece is that I want to create a permanent infrastructure that supports student inclusion and equity issues.”

Perez wants to create a permanent committee on MCSG to address these issues and to oversee the programs that support student welfare. He calls it the inclusion and equity board.

Additionally, Perez wants to increase MCSG’s student advocacy by starting a newsletter and increasing output in the Mac Daily. He hopes this will encourage students to show up more.

“We don’t actively lobby,” Perez said. “Part of this board’s job, besides managing programs… would be to lobby the administration and say ‘students are very upset about the way swastikas were handled, how can we address this to the student body, how can we change this moving forward?’”

When asked why he believes he is the best candidate for the position, Perez highlighted his years of experience in leadership on campus.

‘I’m a candidate with a wide breadth of experiences crossing the Macalester community,” Perez said, going on to note his work as an orientation leader and preceptor, as well as his involvement with the Civic Engagement Center and the Macalester Fund.

Perez summarized his campaign with what he called the “three Es”

“Equity, Experience and Enthusiasm,” Perez explained. “My primary goal is equity, I come at it with a wide breadth of experiences, and I think I have a really optimistic and enthusiastic view of Macalester’s future.”

MCSG Presidential candidates Blair Cha ’20 and Ryan Perez ’20. Photo by Summer Xu ’20.
Web Editor

Lindsay Weber (she/her/hers) is a sophomore from Wilmington, DE. She is currently a Web Editor and Staff Writer. She has been on the staff since first year. She lived in London and watched One Direction finish third on the X-Factor live.

[email protected]

Contributing writer

February 21, 2019

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