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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Election Guide 2015: Candidates for President


For our annual election guide, The Mac Weekly distributed questions to MCSG candidates. We’ve printed the responses below unedited to allow the candidates’ voices to speak freely. 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.

Photo courtesy of Jolena Zabel '16
Photo courtesy of Jolena Zabel ’16
Jolena Zabel ’16
1. Why are you running for this position?
I am running for MCSG president because I believe I have the right vision for the Macalester community and the leadership track record to prove it. From the first time I stepped on this campus, I have embodied a deep commitment to its current and future students. My passion for this community drives my involvement in a variety of organizations, committees, and boards across campus. Most importantly, I’m running because I want to see real change and progress made. It is easy for candidates to say they plan to “improve” dialogues regarding sexual health on campus or other general claims. I want to run because I know I am able to turn difficult or general goals into realities. This semester alone I’ve created programming to talk about issues ranging from sexual assault to racial inequity and helped establish a sustainable program to fund summer internships for years to come. It is this kind of success—turning vision into action—that I want to bring to our Macalester community as president.

2. 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 commitment to the Macalester community reaches back to my first year here at Mac. I have extensive leadership experience in a variety of contexts. As a Class of 2016 representative, I’ve served on the Student Services and Relations Committee for two years. Through serving on this committee, I’ve gotten to know the needs and concerns of the student body on a person-to-person basis for the last few years. From this, I have led and taken initiative in several student-focused initiatives relating to fighting sexual assault and promoting mental health. Most recently, in collaboration with the Provost, CDC, Advancement, and other groups on campus, I’ve secured a scholarship fund for Macalester students to receive funding for summer internships starting this summer.

I also have extensive programming experience as a former member of Program Board (shout out to all my 2013 Winter Ball attendees!), as a current member of Lecture’s Coordination Board, and other on-campus groups. In my experience planning large-scale and high cost events, I know the logistical struggles and concerns of orgs and individuals working to bring great programming to Macalester students—something I always take into consideration when looking at Additional Allocations and other funding/budgeting questions.

Moreover, I also am familiar with leadership in the academic areas of campus. As an English Honor Society officer and Human Rights and Humanitarianism Worker, I am familiar coordinating with Departments, administration, staff, and faculty to advocate and program for Macalester students. In short, my on-campus leadership experience represents a holistic view of the needs and values of Macalester students, with an unparalleled understanding of the best way to get things done (from internship funding to large events) on campus.

3. What goals do you hope to achieve if elected?
As outlined in my platform, I have three main goals for MCSG as a whole next year.
1) Make MCSG work better for you, the Macalester community. This includes plans to restructure the executive roles on MCSG, establish compassionate leadership, and create transparent, informative communication between the student body and MCSG, especially on budgeting policies.
2) Reinvigorate org funding. From my substantial background in on-campus programming leadership, I understand the amount of resources (time and money) that is necessary to put on great events and other activities. As President, I would work hard to ensure additional allocations and other budgeting decisions are considered from the perspective of what will make them most successful, not cheapest.
3) Continue moving forward. In a leadership role on MCSG, I firmly believe I can continue making great strides for the Macalester community, especially in creating fully-funded internships for all Macalester students and fostering campus-wide dialogues on mental health and sexual assault.

4. How would you describe your leadership style?
I like to describe my leadership style as having two sides to the same coin: compassion and efficacy. I firmly believe that the tone set by leadership dictates the kind of decisions and level of success that will come to pass in that group. MCSG, in my years of experience, has lacked compassion and a desire to fully understand the needs of students. By setting an example of compassionate leadership, I am making a promise to listen first and judge second, to look at issues privileging the consideration of the rights and wishes of the students involved, and to foster inclusive dialogues in which everyone is able to fully participate. I also value efficacy and my history of making tangible, real progress in my leadership roles. With a clear vision, excellent communication skills, strong work ethic, I have been able to accomplish incredible things on this campus. This is the kind of attitude towards leadership that I plan to bring to MCSG.

5. Is there anything you would change about MCSG? If so, how would you seek to achieve that?
Like my leadership style, I believe MCSG often lacks compassion and efficacy in their leadership and decisions. Good leadership, as I mentioned earlier, must establish the tone of a group. As president of MCSG, I will ensure that MCSG becomes the kind of governing body that sees the propositions of its constituents as responsibilities, not simply decisions or dollar amounts. This includes ensuring that when the LB, FAC, or SSRC—the bodies of MCSG with the ability to designate funding—that they are considering the programming or other needs of the group. Moreover, I would also increase accountability of the presidential role and other executive positions in creating transparency and providing clear resources on MCSG policies and actions to the student body.

Photo courtesy of Ian Calaway '16
Photo courtesy of Ian Calaway ’16

Ian Calaway ’16
1. Why are you running for this position?
I am Ian Calaway (he/him/his) and I am running for MCSG President because I love Macalester and I want to empower the students within this community. I know that with my level of MCSG experience I will be able to create an environment where student ideas and concerns are central, where students are supported when navigating Macalester bureaucracy, where students’ rights and freedoms are protected by MCSG, and where Macalester students feel like Macalester truly belongs to them.

2. What experience do you bring to this position, and what do you think you could contribute to MCSG and the Macalester community if elected?
I have extensive MCSG and community building experience. Some positions I have held on campus include:
• MCSG Speaker of the Body (Spring ’15)
• MCSG Junior Rep. and SOC member (Spring ’15)
• MCSG Chief of Staff (13’-14’)
• PB On-Campus Coordinator (’13-’14)
• Orientation Leader (Fall ’13)
• MCSG First-Year Rep. and SOC member (’12-’13)
• Ice Rink Equipment Manager (’12-’13)
• PB First-Year Coordinator (‘12-’13)

I have also organized first-generation college student meet-ups on campus and I started a small mathematics group on campus called MACematics.

I know how to be an effective MCSG member and how to create productive conversations because of my experience. As MCSG Chief of Staff, I attended a year’s worth of Exec meetings, I prepared the agendas for the weekly Legislative Body meetings, and chaired the meetings as parliamentarian, which required intimate knowledge of college policy, the MCSG Constitution and Bylaws, and Robert’s Rules of Order. The later of these responsibilities I still have as Speaker of the Body. I will be bring consistency to MCSG through my knowledge of the constitution, bylaws, and MCSG precedence, I will help create an MCSG which is both productive and inviting, and, most importantly, I will be able to serve the students of Macalester effectively.

3. What goals do you hope to achieve if elected?
I plan to refocus MCSG. While I have been at Macalester, MCSG has been viewed primarily as the distributer of the student activity fee. I want to see MCSG return to its purpose as outlined in the MCSG Constitution. MCSG should be a champion of students’ rights and freedoms, while also ensuring that Macalester student voices have significant impact on college policy and it is my goal to lead an MCSG that lives out this purpose. Five of my more specific goals include:
• Establish a stronger Macalester community by hosting more student forums
• Increase accessibility to Health and Wellness services through direct collaboration
• Continue to push for equal study abroad opportunities for international students
• Consistently inform students of MCSG projects and discussions through The Mac Weekly, the Daily Piper, and other forms of media
• Provide students with more information on how they can influence Macalester directly and support student initiatives

4. How would you describe your leadership style?
A leader helps foster leadership in others.

My leadership style reflects this. I believe strongly in delegation within MCSG because it both instills personal accountability in MCSG members and provides students with the means to grow through experience, which helps MCSG in the long run. I model much of my leadership style off of my experience as MCSG parliamentarian. My goal as parliamentarian is to help the Legislative Body reach a conclusion without regard to my own views. As MCSG President, I would help the entire student body realize its ideas, goals, and leadership, in a similar fashion. To me, listening is much more important in leadership than speaking.

5. Is there anything you would change about MCSG? If so, how would you seek to achieve that?
I would like to see MCSG decisions be made more jointly with non-MCSG students. I would seek to achieve this by increasing the frequency of student assemblies and forums, while also publicizing the happenings of MCSG consistently. I believe that even small changes, such as having MCSG representatives bring non-MCSG members to meetings, would increase the transparency of MCSG and its overall ability to represent the Macalester community.

6. How would you bring a sense of leadership to MCSG and Macalester?
I would draw heavily from my experience on MCSG and my experience as a community builder at Macalester to bring a sense of leadership to the community. I would begin by holding a forum to establish a set of community guidelines for the student body in hopes of creating spaces on campus where students can become leaders themselves. With the help of the Legislative Body and the Exec Board I would then establish an agenda for the entire year where responsibilities are delegated to committees, classes, or directly to students. From there I would take on a role similar to parliamentarian, where I listen to the needs of the student body and help lead MCSG accordingly.

7. What do you consider to be the most important duty of the MCSG President?
The most important duty of the MCSG President is to create an environment within MCSG and at Macalester where students are empowered and feel safe to express themselves completely. Any discussion without such an environment would result in outcomes that do not accurately reflect ideas and values of Macalester students. Therefore, if you elect me as MCSG President I will host a forum this semester to discuss how such an environment can be realized.

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