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BSG Candidacy Statements

April 17, 2020

This piece represents the opinion of the author.

In addition to written statements, which the Orient traditionally publishes, we asked each candidate to tell us what they care about in a video statement.

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

Marcus Williams ’21

Dear fellow classmates,

From speaking to many of you on your first night during Perspectives to sharing Real Talks on Race in the bricks and serving as a representative of the student body, I have immersed myself in our campus community. My involvement at Bowdoin has allowed me to see the value our college has to offer and the ways it can improve. For these reasons, I am running for BSG president.

While at Bowdoin, I have identified two major factors that I believe to be the core of representing and improving our school: expanding access and interconnectivity. If elected, they will serve as the basis of next year’s assembly.

These two themes ran central to my work as a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, where I gained valuable experience working with senior administrators to launch Bowdoin’s first-ever network for students and alumni of color. My committee also established Mixing Beyond the Mixer, which brings teams and affinity groups together for a catered dinner followed by a mixer at a social house. These initiatives are important first steps in increasing alumni and student interconnectivity as well as healing the athlete/non-athlete divide.

During these troubling times, it is the responsibility of our leaders to connect and engage with our students by responding to their needs and valuing their perspectives. If elected, I would commit to accomplishing the following while remaining open to supporting student-led initiatives:

  1. Increase access to counseling by expanding virtual services like remote appointments and scheduling.
  2. Partner with Academic Affairs to institute double minors, virtual LSAT, GRE and MCAT courses and make syllabi available during course registration.
  3. Expand programming that promotes interconnectivity like Mixing Beyond the Mixer and B.I.N.D.
  4. Increase student engagement in BSG through speakers and online question submissions.

I believe my leadership experience working with clubs and organizing events, such as No Hate November and the Multicultural Center Ski Trip, has prepared me to effectively lead next year’s assembly. With your support and engagement, it would be an honor to take these next steps with you.

Stay safe and stay inside,

Marcus

Steven Xu ’22

Hello everybody,

I wish you well wherever you may be. I know we all wish circumstances were better, but we can still make the most of what we have. That said, I’m Steven, and I’m currently the Class of 2022 President and a member of the Facilities and Sustainability committee. Outside of BSG, I’m the Web Director for the Orient and helped co-found Ping Pong Club and Minecraft Club this year, where we brought together passionate players from all around campus.

Now, I am running for BSG president because I love this community and want to keep it centered around ideals we all stand for. I am asking for your vote because I have two big ideas for BSG and our school:

  1. Modernize the BSG: continue to build an institution that is more representative, equitable and friendly
  2. Streamline our Bowdoin experience: with school life already busy enough as is, I’ll take steps to solve everyday problems and work out the kinks in our routine

Specifically, here are my goals for next year:

  • Set up a committee that regularly reviews hourly workers’ wages
  • Increase accessibility to existing BSG services
  • Continue to invite administrators to BSG meetings
  • Build credit for laundry into tuition
  • Create an accountability tracker for BSG goals
  • Have every first-year plant a tree during Orientation
  • Provide airport shuttle service before/after breaks
  • Establish a feedback system to improve communication between students and BSG

With these changes and your help, I hope to make BSG an institution that is better suited to address student problems, so we can spend more time where it truly matters. Alongside these goals, I will actively work with the executive team to make sure that our year—remote or not—goes smoothly. Lastly, I will hear out your comments and concerns and make them count. I want to make our community stronger and keep our college experience uninterrupted.

Having served on both the Facilities and Sustainability committee and the 2022 Class Council, I believe I’m now in a position to drive change. I hope you will join me in working toward a better Bowdoin. Thank you for your time and consideration!

Sincerely,
Steven

VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

Harry Sherman ’21

Hi everyone! I’m Harry Sherman, and I’m thrilled to be running to serve as your vice president. I am constantly inspired by the kindness and resilience of our student body—both of which are on full display during these bizarre times.

At Bowdoin, I’ve tried to fully participate in this great community and enrich the experiences of other students. I’ve worked as a first-year proctor, lived in Quinby House and served on BSG executive team as last year’s Chair of the Treasury. In this role, I oversaw the allocation of over $700,000 to all of our fantastic student organizations. I also joined the men’s ice hockey team this season after two years of working as the team’s manager.

These experiences have allowed me to meet many of the amazing people that make Bowdoin so special and have also helped me gain perspectives on a variety of student needs. My agenda improves upon student life as we’ve always known it, while also addressing anxieties that have arisen amid the coronavirus outbreak.

As vice president, I will:

1. Advocate for the needs of students who have been financially or otherwise burdened by the coronavirus. This includes the Class of 2020 before they return next spring.

2. Pursue a staggered Credit/D/Fail deadline so that students can receive one paper/exam grade before selecting their grade mode.

3. Bring back the “Good Ideas Fund” so the BSG can pursue ideas pitched by students.

4. Continue BSG efforts to push for more counselors and increase Counseling Center accessibility.

5. Publish a schedule of team workouts so students know the most convenient times to use the gym.

6. Work with professors to continue the use of tools like Zoom so students can use recorded lectures as a resource.

See my Facebook event for much more!

I’m running for vice president because I am a true believer in the positive impact that BSG can have on our lives. I’ll continue to work for your interests regardless of the challenges that lay ahead for our great community. Thank you for your consideration, and stay safe!

Wilder Short ’22

Hey all! My name is Wilder Fray Short, and I am running to be the next vice president of BSG for the 2020-2021 academic year. My time on BSG Assembly as both Class of 2022 President and now Chair of Facilities & Sustainability has been incredibly productive, informative and perfect preparation for running for vice president. Having the opportunity to closely work with the current Vice President of BSG Arein Nguyen ’21 this past year has been inspiring for my own work, and I feel more ready than ever to better serve the community in this upcoming academic year. My platform rests on work I’ve already begun; work dealing with issues that can be tackled realistically.

As vice president, I commit to:

1. Assuring that the Class of 2020 gets the celebration, acknowledgment and final time together that they deserve.

2. Coordinating assembly-wide trainings for mental health response preparedness, OutAllies training, Safe Space training and Peer Health training. The assembly is elected by students and thus should represent them as such.

3. Examining Orientation week programming, with a focus on addressing mental health and financial aid services in a clearer and more accessible way.

4. Continuing Alex Banbury ’20’s work in developing a proposal for more and better-placed bike racks.

5. Continuing work to develop and release the green light, yellow light and red light dining line system. Think Google Maps’ “popular times” feature but for Thorne, Moulton and the Pub.

6. Greater accessibility to assembly meetings through the streaming and recording of meetings.

7. Greater foresight to meeting planning, with assembly meeting details available a month at a time.

8. Weekly dialogue with club and community leaders to better stay on top of community issues and concerns.

9. Guaranteeing time for any and all to come into assembly with plans and proposals to better our community. I will work with you to ensure that your voice is heard.

This campus has the potential to be even better than it already is, and with the support of my peers, I will fight to get it above and beyond our goals.

CANDIDATES FOR THE CHAIR OF STUDENT AFFAIRS

Ala’a Alattiyat ’23

Hey, y’all! My name is Ala’a Alattiyat, and I am eager to announce my candidacy for chair of student affairs!

I am running because I believe we need more voices representing those of us who are not afraid to speak out for all. I have seen and experienced common challenges that we, Bowdoin students, face, which fail to be addressed time and time again. It’s time for some change. This position fits my passions and can allow me to expedite the change that I hope to (and have been) making.

To provide some background—as chair of student affairs, your representative will work closely with deans, the athletic department, ResLife and Counseling and Wellness Services. My platform addresses each role in this position, for which my qualifications prepare me well.

My platform is as follows:

Deans:

  • Book fund for first generation and low-income students.
  • No-loan emergency funding.
  • Streamlined communication with students to find solutions (no more “think creatively!”).

Athletic Department:

  • More equitable spending for all teams, especially women’s teams.
  • Required inclusivity and Title IX training expanded to coaches as well as students.

ResLife:

  • Remodeling Orientation Trips in order to give students more time with families and roommates on move-in day.
  • Eliminate “real talks” that rely on the minority of a floor to educate all.
  • Make all buildings physically accessible!

Counseling and Wellness Services:

  • More accessible and expanded counseling services, including same-day appointments.
  • Direct communication between wellness services and academic deans in order to mitigate students falling behind due to mental health issues.

Lily Tedford ’22

Hello everyone! I’m so excited to be running for chair of student affairs this election. I’m deeply passionate about my goals for the position and have the experience and dedication needed to make them a reality. As this year’s chair of academic affairs, I led long-term, high impact projects like drafting a double minor proposal, advocating for changing the ESD distribution requirement and making significant headway on BSG’s course syllabi initiative. If elected, I will bring the same energy, leadership and ability to the Student Affairs Committee to create positive change at Bowdoin.

I will focus on:

  • Ensuring that all students receive a comprehensive and inclusive Bowdoin experience regardless of what physical form campus life takes next year.
  • Listening to the study body more effectively via a yearly BSG survey soliciting student opinions, suggestions and ideas.
  • Organizing a weekly amateur hour and women’s hour at the gym so that wellness services can be accessed in the most comfortable setting possible for all students.
  • Continuing previous BSG work to expand access to mental health services, especially over breaks.
  • Reexamining first year orientation week and creating time for follow-up conversations, especially about gender violence prevention and harassment.
  • Working with CXD to implement an interview and professional clothing fund.
  • Establishing a laundry money allocation.

I hope you will consider voting for me to be your next chair of student affairs! I look forward to trying to make this school a better place for all students.

Solana Torres ’23

Hey everyone! My name is Solana Torres-Pepito and I would be thrilled to represent all of you as the chair of student affairs. I am coming to this position with experience working with diverse nonprofits and organizations that fight for minority rights in California. This ideology of strength in unity, hope and kindness is one that I will bring to BSG. I understand how challenging and stressful life at Bowdoin, and life in general, is, so my hope is to bridge divides between the needs of students and the resources in various groups across campus. My main goal is to ensure that all students have access to the resources that they need to thrive at Bowdoin or virtually from home, and that, in doing so, their backgrounds and individualities are celebrated. For example, developing yoga, meditation and other exercise classes specifically targeted towards students of color and queer students, and creating safe spaces for marginalized groups. In addition, I hope to celebrate individual student stories through art, such as making spaces for students to share art and poetry in dorms, spoken word events and other forms of bringing together and showcasing artistic talent outside of a classroom setting. I will also focus on maintaining and expanding the goal of sustainability on campus by developing a Food Closet and winter clothing swaps.

In addition to these, I will build upon BSG’s work from previous years by cultivating dynamic relationships between administrators of the many groups on campus and students from all different social circles and interests. I believe in Bowdoin,  and I believe in our ability to make Bowdoin a safe and comfortable space for all, and to empower each other in the process. Through unity, through celebration of individuality and through hope, we can thrive. <3

CANDIDATES FOR THE CHAIR OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Brandon Cartagena ’21

My name is Brandon Cartagena, and I want to be your next chair of diversity and inclusion. As a rising senior at Bowdoin, I have been afforded a multitude of experiences. Whether it be through my experience as a first generation student of color or my experience as a member of the track team, I have viewed Bowdoin through many different lenses. With my experience comes my understanding of how we can improve as a community. There are plenty of Bowdoin students that feel marginalized or not heard by the administration; those students deserve to have a voice too. The administration’s efforts in fostering a diverse student body have been commendable, but the retention of those diverse students is what we need to focus on.

Here are some of the initiatives I plan to take:

Engage students from historically marginalized groups with the CXD office early in their undergraduate career.
Establish a program where newly admitted first-generation, low-income students are paired up with experienced Bowdoin students from similar backgrounds.
Promote conversations surrounding mental health for student-athletes through different forums.
Initiate the first NESCAC conference for students of color to discuss issues affecting POCs in PWIs through discussions, panels and social gatherings.
Provide opportunities for students to interact with the BSG and provide their input.
I hope to be considered; stay safe and good luck with the rest of the semester!

Christiana Okafor ’23

Hello Fellow Bowdoin Students,

With the time that I’ve had at Bowdoin so far, I have tapped into the pulse of our student community and have become attuned to strengths and areas of need, especially those in our community without an equitable voice. I’ve had the honor of serving in many roles which make me an ideal candidate to sit as chair of diversity and inclusion. I am currently a member of the BSG, sitting on the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. I work for the Office of Sustainability as an Eco-Rep. I am a college preparatory coordinator for Upward Bound, a college access program for low-income students, and a board member for the Black Student Union, serving as one of the directors of public relations. Before Bowdoin, I was also heavily involved in fresh food access and public policy by advocating for equitable resources in marginalized communities.

Bowdoin needs an experienced leader who is not afraid to advocate for those who are systematically unheard. As chair, my priorities are:

· Trauma Action Plan: COVID-19 has caused tremendous impacts. I will ensure that all students are supported by the administration. You won’t be left behind.

· Transparency matters: The big decisions that are being made affect us all in everyday life. You should have a say in it.

· Equitable resources: From the Multicultural Coalition, the International Students Association, SWAG, DASA and CXD, ensuring that staff are equipped and culturally and socially aware of diverse needs. This is of utmost priority.

Beyond Bowdoin as an institution, I care about the most important part of it—the students. When you care for someone, they’re worth fighting for. So, my fellow Bowdoin students, I’m ready to stand and represent you.

Please reach out to me via email or my social media @its.christianao for more information.

CANDIDATES FOR THE CHAIR OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

Patrick Bloniasz ’22

Hi everyone! I’m excited to be announcing my candidacy for chair of academic affairs. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been deeply concerned with improving education both at Bowdoin and beyond. I’m currently finishing my year of service as a student representative on the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee, where I worked with my co-representative to continue the push for the proposed “Difference, Power and Inequity” graduation requirement. I have spent two years as an educational consultant and researcher for America’s Service Commissions, critiquing the “Every Student Succeeds Act” as not properly addressing educational disparities. I’ve also spent time researching and advocating the need for social-emotional support for students living with developmental challenges. For roughly a year, I’ve served as the Director of Education at a small non-profit called Aeon for Ocean. As I continue to grow during my time at Bowdoin, I would enjoy the opportunity to contribute to this lovely community using my accrued experience!

As chair, I commit to:

  1. Continuing the fight for adoption of “DPI” over “ESD.”
  2. Pushing for an intensive look at “IP” in the context of contemporary scholarship.
  3. Advocating for an “opt-in” open-syllabi registration process by 2022.
  4. Connecting some peer health projects with the academic needs of students.
  5. Conducting an in-depth report of Bowdoin’s current grading policies in relation to best practices by December, with recommendations accompanying the review.

Send me an email at “pblonias” for full details or see my instagram bio @patrickfbloniasz. Best of luck to everyone! 🙂

Susu Gharib ’23

My name is Susu Gharib, and I am running for chair of academic affairs. I am passionate about making our student body’s voice heard and a priority in the College’s decision-making. The current situation the College is facing has highlighted several areas for growth. With the intensity of Bowdoin, I believe certain resources should be made available to students to ease their stress and make academic plans tailored to each student.

First, I am advocating for the release of syllabi prior to course registration. Knowing course expectations before registering will give us more clarity about potential workloads. Along with that, I would like to move Credit/D/Fail and Add/Drop deadlines back. This will give us time to receive enough graded work to be able to make more informed decisions. Furthermore, I want to expand the minor program. In particular, I would like to add the option for a double minor and make more minor options available. I also plan on pushing for more post-graduate resources to be made available, such as free access to programs for post-graduate entrance exam preparation.

Bowdoin has the potential to support our academic endeavors in a way that reduces our overall stress and supports our mental health. My objective is to create change which improves our student life through academics. I am dedicated to committing the time and energy needed to fulfill these ideas. As chair of academic affairs, I will advocate for our shared goals to create a better Bowdoin for everyone.

CANDIDATES FOR THE CHAIR OF FACILITIES AND SUSTAINABILITY

Nothando Khumalo ’23

Hi! My name is Thando Khumalo, and I would be honored to represent all Bowdoin students as the chair of facilities and sustainability. While student-security relationships are already very positive, as safety and security liaison this past semester, I developed a “Get to Know Bowdoin Security Initiative with Randy Nichols” that was expected to roll out sometime after Spring Break. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this did not happen, but I am excited to get it running next year.

My goals for the next two semesters fall into these three categories: improvement, integration and inclusivity.

Improvement refers to making genuine efforts to improve the quality of life for Bowdoin students. First year dorms are places that students still acclimating to a new environment recline after a long day. I’d like to add bean bag chairs to each common space, so that students can have more places to relax in their dorms besides their rooms.

Integration refers to the integration of student input into major decisions that I make throughout the year. The best way to know if I am succeeding is to hear from the people that elected me, so student voices will be my favorite tool to fall back on throughout the year.

Inclusivity acknowledges that our campus has so many great places and resources that not all students know about or have access to. This has to change. I’d like to highlight a different resource or location on campus each month, like the dance practice rooms in Pickard Theater and the study rooms in the libraries, to make sure that all students feel included in all of the spaces that make our campus such a wonderful place.

As safety and security liaison, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Wilder Short ’22, the current chair of facilities and sustainability, to make Bowdoin a safer place for everyone who calls this beautiful place home—faculty and students alike. In our committee meetings, we discussed different building and transportation changes that could make our campus more sustainable and accessible as well as changes that could make spaces more compatible with student life. My experience on BSG has shown me just how necessary student input is to enacting meaningful change and has taught me how to collaborate with administrators.

Ryan Kovarovics ’23

My name is Ryan Kovarovics, and I am running to be your BSG chair of facilities and sustainability. As chair, I would represent the whole student body to the sustainability office to keep Bowdoin green and polar bear friendly. I would also work closely with Facility Management and its various offices, from the Mail Center to dining to campus construction. I have firsthand experience working with these offices, as I served as a development representative on the Facilities and Sustainability Committee this year. This enabled me to work closely with the current chair of facilities and sustainability, Wilder Short ’22, and learn how the position works. This past year, I worked on getting the Mail Center to go paper-free and switch to an electronic package pickup system as well as getting more bike racks where they are needed. Some of my goals as chair would be to install covered bike racks around campus, make our buildings more accessible and reduce the number of trees cut down on campus to make way for new construction. Additionally, I will work to reduce the cost of laundry, and I hope to incorporate laundry swipes into the room and board plan. Finally, I will do everything in my power to ensure that every possible option and perspective is considered to make possible our return to campus in the fall. I hope you will vote Ryan Kovarovics for Chair of Facilities and Sustainability to make me your advocate for facilities on and off campus.

CANDIDATES FOR THE CHAIR OF THE TREASURY

Prithvi Gunturu ’22

Hi everybody! Having served on the SAFC, I understand the importance of managing and allocating funds for student clubs and organizations. However, I also believe the values on which those decisions are being made are equally important. It is more important now than ever that we focus on three values.

1. Community: In times of adversity, we look to our community for strength and support. Unfortunately, we cannot all be together in this situation, and it is still unclear if we will return to Bowdoin in the fall. Regardless, I will review the SAFC guidelines to add a clause on funding remote activities to ensure that you get the resources you need to succeed in the Bowdoin community.

2. Social Responsibility: As Bowdoin students, we have a responsibility to promote the common good in all of its forms. Whether it presents itself as environmental sustainability, academic enrichment or health initiatives, it is of paramount importance that we support this type of programming. I will hold myself and others to the highest standard in order to promote the common good.

3. Transparency: In this time of financial uncertainty, it is extremely important you are aware of the current state of the Student Activities budget. Therefore, as chair of the treasury, I will provide regular updates regarding the budget so you are informed on the proceedings of the SAFC.

As chair of the treasury, these are the values I will always keep in mind when working on projects that affect our community.

CANDIDATES FOR THE CHAIR OF STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

Katie Filiakova ’22

Hello everyone! My name is Katie Filiakova, and I am honored to be running for chair of student organizations. Being a current co-leader of the Bowdoin Minecraft Club, Refresh Dance Club and Avant-Garb Magazine Club, I have gained invaluable experience in club leadership and been able to learn all the specifics and challenges of club organization. Additionally, over my two years at Bowdoin, I have worked closely with the Office of Student Activities, serving as a campus event manager and building strong trustworthy relationships with the officers. These experiences provided me with valuable insights into the processes behind club management, and this knowledge, along with your meaningful feedback, will guide me on my position.

As chair of student organizations, I plan to focus on bringing clubs and the community together to enhance students’ extracurricular experience. My vision includes:

-Supporting, organizing and advertising clubs’ campus-wide events and club collaborations.

-Advancing club leadership training and working with the IT department to take the leadership training to an online self-paced platform.

-Creating an online support system that provides clubs with means to connect with the community virtually.

-Continue updating the SOOC chartering guidelines for increased transparency in the chartering process.

I am striving to do everything in my power to support Bowdoin’s student organizations and help bring our community together. With your support, I will be able to ensure that clubs on campus have all the resources to thrive and enrich students’ experience. Thank you.

Khushi Patel ’23

Hello, I hope you’re safe and healthy. I’m Khushi Patel, and I want to be your chair of student organizations. I currently serve on BSG assembly as ResLife Representative, where I was working to make BSG more transparent and accessible. If elected for this position, I pledge to work on the following:

  • Create more opportunities for collaborations between organizations both within and outside of Bowdoin.
  • Create a platform to allow club members to speak about any problems they have within their clubs.
  • Work with the chair of diversity and inclusion and chair of the multicultural coalition (MC) to get the MC to be a more prevalent part of campus life.
  • Create SOOC office hours to answer questions about chartering clubs and other club-specific questions.
  • Be an advocate for clubs in the Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC).
  • Prioritize checking in on clubs to see how the SOOC can support them.
  • Update the SOOC guidelines in order to increase transparency and understanding of the committee.
  • Make sure all clubs and organizations on campus are welcoming, inviting and inclusive.

If fall 2020 remains virtual, I’ll work to keep club activities and participation alive by having virtual club nights, for example collaborative trivia nights and raffles, over Zoom. This will maintain interactions between clubs and members. With the support of BSG, clubs can do BSG instagram takeovers to advertise and keep club interest alive.

I’d be honored to be your chair of the SOOC and would greatly appreciate your vote. Thank you!

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