The clock is ticking—we've got until Sunday night at 8 p.m. to vote in the 2011 Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) election, and who we pick could lead to an improvement in the quality of student governance and student life at Bowdoin. We are often skeptical of the proposition that student government can achieve so much. But BSG has real potential, and so do this year's candidates. Derek Brooks '12 is the right choice to lead BSG next year.
Most certainly, Brooks and his opponent, Jack Hilzinger '12, are similar candidates running on similar platforms. But a focus of Hilzinger's is to raise BSG's leverage on campus, a noble cause but one that is unlikely to succeed or have much impact on students. Brooks' ideas are more outward looking—he seeks to reach out to Brunswick to draw the town closer to the College, and vice versa. He has already begun attending town meetings and genuinely wants to try any solution thrown his way.
As for secondary ideas, Brooks' suggestion to implement a formatting change for distribution requirements—making professors explain why a course should not count toward a requirement—is far more tangible than Hilzinger's hope for change in the College House System. Here, we magnify the differences. Either candidate might be the right choice, but Brooks appears to be the best at this time. Our decision to endorse Brooks for the presidency lies in our conviction that he is committed to having an open mind, a quality that is necessary for the BSG presidency.
Dani Chediak '13 claims the vice president for Student Organizations is the job on BSG that most requires experience. It is a convenient statement for her—she has a significant track record to speak of—but she is probably right. Student activities can be a horrible maze of red tape, pink forms and lost receipts, and the Student Organizations Oversight Committee (SOOC) is there to help. It takes someone that knows the system to truly guide club leaders through it all.
Though the self-proclaimed "recklessness" Michael Yang '14 undoubtedly shows his passion, his candidacy has been marred by his lack of knowledge. He surrendered on every question at the debate, stating that he did not have the necessary experience to answer. Not something a club leader will want to hear come September.
For treasurer and SAFC chair, the table is turned. Alex Takata '12, who has never served on the SAFC, immediately silenced critics at the debate when he made it quickly apparent he was as well-versed as anyone in the finer points of student funding rules. He has even proposed changes—like the elimination of the two-week rule—that show a well-thought out plan toward improving the funding committee.
He took the debate more seriously than his opponent, Brian Kim '13, and has demonstrated a true desire to distribute the SAFC's funds fairly. The Orient has seen this first hand—we currently are in budgetary negotiations and Takata has come forward with his thoughts on viable solutions for both the Orient and the SAFC. Should Takata be elected, club leaders will find an SAFC chair that is working with them, not against them, to assist in all of their needs.
We cannot ask you to mark these names in the contested races this weekend, but we can tell you how easy it will be to go and vote. At the very least, read up on the candidates, and head to bowdoin.edu/vote to cast your ballot for someone whose platform you agree with.
The editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which comprises Nick Daniels, Piper Grosswendt, Linda Kinstler and Seth Walder.