Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) held a debate for executive committee candidates at Jack MaGee’s Pub and Grill on Tuesday night. 

Editor-in-Chief of the Orient Erica Berry ’14 and BSG Vice President for Academic Affairs Jordan Goldberg ’14 moderated the debate. Each candidate was allowed to give a two-minute-long introduction. In contested races (only three of the seven races are contested) candidates then each had two minutes to respond to three questions posed by the moderators—four questions in the case of the presidential debate—and then another minute for a conclusion.

Chris Breen ’15 and David Levine ’16 are competing for the position of president. 
Breen was the first to give his introduction. He highlighted his past experience as student representative to faculty meetings, vice president for BSG Affairs, and vice president of 2015 Class Council.

Breen said that he hopes to extend Thanksgiving break in order to make it more convenient for students who do not live close to Bowdoin, to improve SafeRide and the Credit/D/Fail policy, and to create a class syllabi database for students. 

Levine also said that he would like to improve the Credit/D/Fail policy. He stated that he would work to add a bus to New York City during breaks. He went on to highlight his experience in BSG over the past two years, noting that he has had the chance to work closely with current BSG president Sarah Nelson ’14 and past BSG president Dani Chediak ’13 to get a better understanding of what the position entails. Levine cited his efforts spearheading student resistance against  the rate hikes proposed by Central Maine Power as an example of his effective leadership skills. 

In response to a question on how they would represent the student body to outside organizations, both candidates focused on the importance of choosing what issues to take a stand on and recognizing which initiatives are unrelatable or alienating to students.

Levine said that the president should act primarily as a facilitator. 

Breen agreed, but he added that an important balance must be struck between facilitator and executive because the president may, at times, have access to information that BSG as a whole does not.

Breen concluded by saying that he believes that he has the three main characteristics of a BSG president: he has had exposure to many different aspects of Bowdoin, he understand what issues are important to fight for, and he has had ample management experience. 

Levine offered two important reasons that he feels he would make a capable president: he has the experience necessary for the role and he is a rising junior, so he will be on campus for the next two years. 

Levine said that solving issues like Credit/D/Fail reform will take time and effort, so the fact that he has two years left on campus makes him more likely to achieve his goals.

The debate for vice president for student organizations featured Harriet Fisher ’17 and Ryan Herman ’17. The Vice President for Student Organizations also chairs the Student Organizations Oversight Committee (SOOC). 

Fisher opened by stressing that she would like to strengthen the SOOC and continue to develop leadership training for members of clubs. Herman emphasized his belief in the importance of diversity when it comes to student involvement in clubs and the variety of clubs on campus.
The debate for vice president for academic affairs pitted Matt Goodrich ’15 against Chrissy Rujiraorchai ’17. 

Rujiraorchai said that though she is a first year, she is knowledgeable about academic affairs and is involved in many aspects of academic affairs on campus. 

She presented her plans for Credit/D/Fail reform and putting class syllabi on Polaris so students can see the details of a class before deciding whether or not to take it. 

Goodrich emphasized collaboration among students and promised to be a strong advocate for students at Bowdoin. He also expressed his plans to “reevaluate and reaffirm distribution requirements” at Bowdoin. 

Justin Pearson ’17 is running unopposed for vice president of student affairs.

Pearson delivered a rousing speech in which he pointed to his experience as president of the 2017 Class Council and emphasized the importance of continuing to try to improve the Bowdoin community because, as Pearson put it, “failure to move towards perfection leads to stagnation.”
Following Pearson was Charlotte McLaughry ’15, who is running for vice president for student government affairs.

McLaughry promised an online suggestion box that students could use to share their own opinions. The BSG website already features a “speak up” section that features such a suggestion box.

Bridgett McCoy ’15 is running uncontested for the position of vice president for facilities and sustainability.

Ryan Davis ’15 is running uncontested for the position of vice president for the treasury; the position also chairs the Student Activites Funding Committee. 

Davis highlighted the fact that he has served as treasurer for the 2015 Class Council for the last two years. He promised to be “fair, respectful and communicative to student leaders” and to work to ensure that every club gets the funding it deserves.

Logan Jackonis ’17 said that he was struck by how few students there were vying for the various positions.

“Definitely a weakness I thought was that there wasn’t more participation. Not that many candidates were running,” Jackonis said.

Jackonis did say that he was impressed by the debate for BSG president.

“It seemed like both guys were pretty passionate, and it seems like it will be a pretty even race, which was good,” Jackonis said. 

Voting will take place on BSG’s website, starting at 8 a.m. today and ending at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 13.