MCSG Candidate Biographies

By The Mac Weekly

The time has come to select student government leaders for next year. Macalester will be voting for a new Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) President, Academic Affairs Committee Chair, Vice President, and Student Organization Committee Chair. Voting will open on Wednesday, April 11 and continue until Friday, April 13 at 8:00 a.m. Vote and let your voice be heard on the direction of student government. President Jesse Horowitz Last year I was vice-president of MCSG, and before that, nothing. I remember looking through the list of orgs with my roommate Nick. We felt isolated from the greater community; however, as we looked through the list we felt that there was nothing for either of us. I grew frustrated with the notion that I needed to be in an org to feel like part of Macalester. My decision to run for VP was borne of this frustration. This past year I’ve learned two very important things about MCSG. First, that MCSG is just a collection of volunteers trying to keep everyone happy and learning. Second, that MCSG really has no idea how well it is doing that, or what it is actually there for. Is it supposed to allocate funds, is it supposed to speak for the students, or is it supposed to help people like Nick and I feel included? While I have some specific goals I would like to accomplish as president, these questions cut to the core of my candidacy. In the end I want you to know what to expect from MCSG. I want MCSG to be something we can all be proud of and campus life something we can all be part of. Patrick Snyder For three years I’ve been inspired by the great work my friends and fellow students do, whether through a student organization, academic department, or on their own. I’ve been involved in many student organizations and two academic departments, and have served on MCSG since my first year, as both representative and Vice President. I know the great work MCSG does and the great potential it has to do good. Still, I’ve noticed a fundamental disconnect between the student body and MCSG. It has nothing to do with people or their intentions and everything to do with policies and habit. As President, I’ll work to bridge this disconnect. First, MCSG needs to be consistent, fair, and participatory in allocating funds. Budgeting and allocation should be a conversation. And any group of students with a good idea should be allowed to ask for funds. Second, MCSG needs to seek participation at every step of the way. And whatever it does, MCSG must always publicize and explain its actions because transparency is not just an option. It will take structural and behavioral changes in MCSG to bridge this disconnect, but I have the experience and the passion to do just that. Email me! Academic Affairs Ezequiel Jimenez Over the last three years at Mac I have taken multiple leadership roles in service of the student body. In my first two years, I was co-chair of Macalester International Organization, student rep to the Board of Trustees, an International Mentor, a board member of the Haiti Relief Fund and a student lounge worker making sure you had pop-corn. This time, I would like to be your Academic Affairs Chair. Thanks to the experiences previously mentioned, I have acquired the skills and knowledge to serve you. As a former preceptor in the Poli-Scie Dept. and current student assistant in Intl Studies, I know how to engage faculty and discuss what is missing from our academic programs. As a current MCSG junior rep, I know how to approach the administration with student’s concerns. Therefore, if elected, I intend to serve the student body by applying all my skills while asking for constant feedback. If elected, I will pursue an agenda that includes: reassessing the general requirements, expanding opportunities for students to engage with faculty, enlarging the MCSG textbook program, supporting international students to study abroad and collaborating with the IGC Student Council to bring the IGC closer to students’ academic demands. Jeff Theismann I am running for Academic Affairs Committee Chair because this position is a great way to affect change in a number of areas on this campus. Recently the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) has started a textbook reserve program for classes that have large student enrollment and expensive textbooks like general chemistry. This is a program I would like to expand in my role as chair of the AAC. The other main issue is the inequity in policy relating to financial aid for international students studying abroad. A resolution was passed in November of 2010 by MCSG stating that all international students regardless of requirement by major, while this resolution is a step in the right direction, continued work needs to take place for equity to take place. In the past I have been a Resident Assistant, have served on committees with both students and staff to affect change in the residential halls. In this role as Chair of the AAC I will be able to continue successful programs, express opinions of the student body and be able to communicate between faculty, staff and administrators on how current policies actually affect students on a day to day basis. Vice-President and Student Services and Relations Committee Jennie Kim My name is Jennie Kim and I am a first-year from San Ramon, California (Bay Area whoop whooop!). I’m running to be your next Chair of Student Services and Relations Committee (SSRC) and Vice President of MCSG. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the SSRC is responsible for representing students’ interests regarding Macalester’s student services and programs, and to improve the overall quality of student life at Mac. Through my time in MCSG as a first-year rep and the Financial Affairs Committee (FAC), I have been exposed to many facets of Macalester student culture. Aside from all things MCSG, I’m personally involved with the Civic Engagement Center (CEC), the Dept. of Multicultural Life as a member of the Emerging Scholars Program, and intramural kickball on campus. As SSRC Chair/VP, I plan on making MCSG a lot more involved with different aspects of student life (not just the student orgs part) and to make Mac better and more enjoyable for all. I’d appreciate your support and, of course, I’d appreciate your vote even more! Please feel free to contact at [email protected] or through Facebook with questions, comments, and suggestions. Kai Peterson My name is Kai Peterson, a Junior Political Science and Chinese major. I currently serve as an MCSG Junior Class Representative and on the Financial Affairs Committee. Through my work with MCSG I have noticed a strong disconnect between MCSG and the student body as a whole. This problem is a two-way street. Students do not fully understand the work and decisions of MCSG, and MCSG is not receiving enough student feedback to adequately address concerns that students have. The onus to address the lack of proper communication falls on MCSG and, specifically, the Student Services and Relations Committee. I firmly believe that the members of MCSG are elected by students to work on their behalf. At the moment MCSG makes many decisions with only retroactive communication efforts. My primary goal, therefore, is to have MCSG better reflect the opinions and desires of the student body. With your support I will create a more open and accessible forum for student questions and concerns which will play a bigger role in shaping MCSG’s agenda. Furthermore, I intend to empower all students to propose and implement their ideas regardless of whether they belong to a student organization. Good ideas deserve to be seen through. Sarah Vandelist As your SSRC Chair and Vice President, I would be dedicated to serving the interests of students by redistributing the student activity fee to foster a greater sense of community. Currently, MCSG’s structure provides few opportunities for students not involved in student organizations to access funds for programming and projects. As a first year representative on MCSG, I learned about the limited resources available to all stu
dents and developed ideas to tailor the SSRC so every student benefits from the student activity fee. Being a member of the SOC (Student Organization Committee), I recognize the enriching, creative programming that organizations offer to the campus community and will work to make sure the SSRC does not detract from that aspect of campus life. But, org members are not the only students who should be able to plan events and implement changes. Therefore, I stand behind increasing the Community Chest funds available to the student body to plan programs and implement change on campus. I also fully support the development and improvement of student spaces, full funding of popcorn, and increasing channels of communication to hear student ideas and address concerns. Your School. Your Committee. Your Vote. Sarah Vandelist for SSRC/VP. Stephanie Vilendrer Hej from Denmark! I’m Stephanie Vilendrer, and I’d be honored to have the chance to serve as your MCSG VP this upcoming year. Throughout my years at Mac I have been involved extensively in student government, first serving on the Freshman Council, then chairing the SSC as a sophomore. Spending this semester in Copenhagen has only furthered my appreciation for our school and all it offers. While I am certainly enjoying this experience, I greatly look forward to returning to Mac this fall, as well as having the opportunity to apply my abilities and experiences as your MCSG VP. Thanks for your consideration, and I’ll be seeing you all around campus this fall! Student Organization Committee Chair Jeff Garcia I’m Jeff Garcia. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a sophomore History major and Critical Theory concentrator; and hopefully your next MCSG Student Organization Committee Chair. I am an experienced organizer with two years of work participating in and holding leadership positions in orgs of every type, and groups such as the Student Affairs Advisory Committee, and Build A Better Mac. I feel I’m uniquely qualified to be an advisor for any Macalester student with an organization to found or strengthen. Having founded an organization on my own, I know organizational leadership from the chartering process to campaigning. I intend to hold organizations accountable by ensuring that each one is financially audited to prevent overspending and unnecessary allocations, and is still working toward the mission outlined in its founding documents. I want to ensure that floundering organizations find a future at Macalester, established organizations thrive and up-and-coming groups can take risks and grow. Student orgs bring us influential campus visitors, a diverse spectrum of campus publications and media, a vibrant political dialogue that is growing, and even EMT courses. Student organizations and the people that run them bring much to the Macalester community. Help me innovate MCSG.