Feb. 12th 2015
Start: 8:05 pm
Molly MacDougall ‘16: So you all know this is being recorded. Welcome to the 2015 Candidates Forum! We are going to get started with the position of head of the elections. board. Start by saying your name.
Joy Chan ‘17: My name is Joy Chan, Class of 2017
Delaney Williams ‘17: My name is Delaney Williams Class of 2017
Molly MacDougall ‘16: Are you running together?
Delaney Williams ‘17: Yeah, we are running together!
Anna Kalinsky ‘15: Elections and this position require you to have really good communication with each other. How do you expect to facilitate that?
Delaney Williams ‘17: We are roommates, so we live together, we talk on a daily basis and are generally pretty good at answering all of each others texts and other forms of communication.
Molly MacDougall ‘16 : How good are you at email? How quickly do you generally respond?
Joy Chan ‘17: We are fantastic with email e are on top of our emails.
Molly MacDougall ‘16: Why are you running for the position?
Joy Chan ‘17: We wrote in our bio which, I think, is posted tomorrow, it has a lot of what we want we think we’d be awesome at SGA. We want to be a bigger part of tSGA and we also love elections.
Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: How familiar are you with the elections cycle?
Delaney Williams 17: It would definitely be a learning process for us, we know all of the general information, like 3 elections per year, and that general information, but we definitely have a bit to learn, but I’m sure the former co-head would help us.
Namita Dwarakanath ‘15: So one of the things about the elections board is that unfortunately things don’t always go as planned. How do you feel like you’re prepared to handle stressful situations?
Joy Chan ‘17: I’ve got that down. Delaney and I have had to deal with a lot of scheduling conflicts, we’ve seen it happen, we can learn from those experiences.
Molly MacDougall ‘16: I’ve tried to hype of elections through advertising and themes, what are your ideas for getting people involved with elections?
Delaney Williams ‘17: I think “I voted” stickers and table toppers to advertise more and spread ideas to the general student population, plus Joy is hyper all the time.
Molly MacDougall ‘16: Any further questions? Okay, thank you. The next position we have is for president so please approach the mike.
Charlie Bruce ‘16: Charlie Bruce, class of 2016.
Syona Arora ‘15: How are you suited for this position?
Charlie Bruce ‘16: As secretary I worked closely with Syona, the current president of SGA, I learned a lot about what the position requires, both on and off the scenes. I think that what I really like about the role is that it’s like the facilitator of the student body. I think that over the course of the past year I have gained the skills to do that kind of facilitating role.
Anna Kalinsky ‘15: If you could change one thing about SGA what would it be?
Charlie Bruce ‘16: Right now one thing I’m working on is institutional memory. What I’ve seen is every year there are students who come and go and are more or less active in SGA, and the ideas they bring are really important and really interesting but aren’t remembered. So I’m working with Rachel Appel, in special collections, to come up with ways in which we can hopefully sediment those ideas and build upon them.
Syona Arora ‘15: What experience do you have to prepare you for this position?
Charlie Bruce ‘16: As secretary I took minutes for every SGA meeting and that has made me really familiar with the procedure and what I think I like about procedure One of the things I would like to build upon that Syona has started this past year, is making SGA more of a platform for change, I think part of that is in particular facilitation of SGA meetings. So I’d like to start instituting work that I’ve gleaned from anti-aggression facilitation workshops and start each meeting with particular guidelines so people people feel more encouraged to participate
Namita Dwarakanath ‘15: We have to strike a really careful balance between the amount we rely on guidelines and dabbling in the more abstract, thinking of things more conceptually. How do you think you would be able to strike that balance?
Charlie Bruce ‘16: Knowing how to have that balance requires personal reflection but it also requires discussion. I’m really excited to, if I am president, I would really rely on help of the board. Because one of the things I learned this year is that we all really relied on one another for growth and support, and we also relied on the greater representative counsel So just being aware of personal reflections and then community reflections is I think how we’ll create progress and negotiate the space between the abstract.
Melanie Bahti ‘15: One of the things we’ve had to think about in our roles on the E board is how to balance your own opinions as yourself versus yourself in this position with the role of SGA president, as a spokesperson for the student body at large. How do you think you’ll be able to balance those two things? How do you see yourself speaking for the student body?
Charlie Bruce ‘16: The facilitator needs to listen to the opinions of the group. I’ve learned how important it is to listen to others opinions, not reject my own, but by trying to listen to the needs of the community first, if necessary reflect and organize my own thoughts, not privileging my own ideas
Syona Aurora ‘15: This can be a full time job. how much time will you dedicate to your position as president?
Charlie Bruce ‘16: I can’t think of a better way of serving my community and will put in whatever hours necessary.
Namita Dwarakanath ‘15: You have to work with a lot of people. How do you feel equipped to deal with those conversations with people who may not share your same ideology?
Charlie Bruce ‘16: I’ve been in a lot of different situations. No matter our different ideologies we can still equip ourselves with the same form of communication.
Melanie Bahti ‘15: What are some of your initiatives? What would you like to do?
Charlie Bruce ‘15: I mentioned before: institutional memory. I’m also interested in how the faculty don’t feel as though their voices are being heard. I’d like to work with the faculty representative and communicate ways in which we can improve that. SGA represents the student body’s needs, but we can expand that to the faculty.
Molly MacDougall ‘16: Any further questions? Next position is Vice President
Marisa Rafsky 2016
Gabrielle Smith 2016
Angela Motte ‘17: What qualities do you have that you can bring to the table?
Gabrielle Smith: I have a positive outlook which is good because sometimes it gets rough.
Marisa Rafsky ‘16: first semester at bryn mawr, I was appointed to many committees. I also have a close relationship with the executive board through email and in person.
Charlie Bruce ‘16: Accountability has been one of the hardest things when it comes to appointments, how do you propose to remedy this problem?
Gabrielle Smith ‘17: Better communication with them, advertising the appointments, holding meetings instead of just email. So, just as we do with the representative council, having them come to SGA meetings.
Marisa Rafsky ‘16: Sometimes people have a hard time committing. I think it could be beneficial to have them indicate their time restraints on the application, as well as having a list of alternatives so we can all come together.
Alexis De la Rosa ‘15: Could you please talk about how you would work to increase interest in applicants?
Gabrielle Smith ‘17: Having the committees themselves advertise bc they know more than we do. Putting up flyers in the bathrooms because everyone uses those!
Marisa Rafsky ‘16: I agree with Gabby. On the outreach and communications committees I talked to all the committees. I also suggest each applicant have an intro video so that everyone will be able to ask questions online. Hopefully this with get everyone energized.
Alexis Del Rosa ‘15: Things don’t always run smoothly, how do you plan to mediate when situations arise?
Gabrielle Smith ‘17: I’d like to have a consensus on what we do, definitely having more collaborations.
Marisa Rafsky ‘16: In collaboration with committees, that way we can make everyone reach their highest potential. Greater partnership with faculty, it would be a great benefit to combine the research we have and bring it into the committees.
Molly MacDougall ‘16: Next up is treasurer.
Charlie Bruce ‘16: Why do you want to run for treasurer?
Linh Tran ‘16: In my opinion, being treasurer is not just a gate keeper for the student fund but is a finance advising resource. So I have 3 reasons why i am so passionate about becoming treasurer: I am passionate about empowering and helping people. As a club president I know the SGA fund is a great resource to help us achieve more from a lot of clubs and activities. Secondly, I am as a scientific person I am comfortable making sense of budgets and big amounts of data. Lastly I am an international student, I have diverse experience and exposure, so I can communicate effectively
Smitha Pallaki ‘17: As treasurer I want to provide students with the power to run their clubs as stress free as possible.
Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: I think this position is a very concrete example of what self-governance is, we have the ability to distribute money to clubs and address what we want to see on campus. On a more macro level: you work with the administration and the CFO budget officers, you are responsible for leading students finances and making sure the needs are filled
Namita Dwarakanath ‘15: A big part is working with the student finance committee and they aren’t always accountable, how will you gather them?
Linh Tran ‘16: From the start we need to set straight forward guidelines,do our best to have everyone agree and keep the communication line open. We must be flexible and sensible, they have a lot of things going on in their life and other responsibilities. It is important as treasurer at times to make sense of the situation and negotiate.
Smitha Pallaki ‘17: I think communication is very important in making sure people do their job. It isn’t our job to motivate them, but we should be aware of what’s going on and updated on everything.
Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: I’ve been a treasurer for 3 clubs for 2 years. In terms of mostly in budget meeting and review I would use them to see how much budget to give to SFCC, definitely go over receipts. It can be hard to motivate, but we need to share expectations and be part of appointments
Namita Dwarakanath ‘15: So, pretty apparently, people can be sensitive about the budget they receive. How are you equipped to deal with situations where you arent the favorite in the room?
Linh Tran ‘16: I think that knowing that is very important to really think very clearly about every decision. Make sure that for every decision made, I have concrete data, and will be able to explain my decisions objectively. But also take their feedback to see the full view and accomodate.
Smitha Pallaki ‘17: I’m a treasurer for 2 clubs so I know that feeling I think it’s important to be aware and remind people that we don’t have unlimited money, that it needs to be provided to everyone. We must keeps perspective on things and always double check. If you do make a mistake it’s important to admit it and make the best of the situation.
Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: I’ve had experience with this. I was the old election’s head and a custom’s person and I’ve been in uncomfortable situations where I’m not necessarily the favorite.The budget is a lot better than it has been, so I don’t anticipate a lot of those hard conversations, but i will distribute the budget as it serves the entire student body, and just go line by line, discussing everything and explaining each step.
Namita Dwarakanath ‘15: You have to work with the haverford treasurer. How do you feel equipped to work with the bi co relationship?
Linh Tran ‘16: I’m confident in working with haverford. I’ve taken a lot of classes at Haverford and one of my clubs is going bi co, so I have communication down. I’m comfortable and open, we both want to maximise the best outcome
Smitha Pallaki ‘17: Im a pretty good communicator. I think it’s good to have a different view of things and to have others to bounce different opinions off of.
Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: I think in situation where change is constantly happening, setting a plan and allowing it to be more flexible is important, as opposed to not having one and trying to adjust. Communication is really important. and talking with the SFC
Namita Dwarakanath ‘15: You function as a liason, how do you feel like you will best represent concerns of the student?
Linh Tran ‘16: I’m passionate about this job as well as different groups of students. I have a good sense of what the students needs are. I think it’s really important to have a two way communication channel, talk with the board, and bring information to the students. increase transparency and accessibility.
Smitha Pallaki ‘17: Communication is such a big factor, talking to as many people as possible, including students, board, faculty and staff, to get a view from all sides of how people feel about stuff. i want to reach out to the student body and get their opinions on things, ask questions and dig deeper to seek out issues.
Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: I have a good amount of experience from the various committees I have been on. I anticipate working with the seven sisters and representing Bryn Mawr to the wider community.
Swetha Narasimhan ‘15: How do you see yourself in a group dynamic? As part of the E board, or SFC or greater?
Linh Tran ‘16: I have lots of experience with collaboration, I’m really big on communication. I think a lot can be solved by listening to the viewpoint of others and opening up a =platform for change.
Smitha Pallaki ‘17:I think a lot can be better as a collaborative effort, I’m a big team player.The best way to bounce around ideas is to listen to others, keep things organized, and make sure that any issues that are happening can be worked out by talking it through.
Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: I learned a lot as a customs person and as election’s head. I think they really taught me how I work with people. I’ve gotten better at confronting people and being confronted.
Charlie Bruce ‘16: So you can pick to answer either question: why is self governance important to you or how does being the treasurer exemplify self governance?
Linh Tran ‘16: As an international student, did not think I was gonna do SGA, i always shied away from it. My junior year I got emergency elected as dorm president. Since then, I’ve changed a lot and have forced myself to become more involved. I’m passionate about learning more and empowering others. As SGA treasurer I want to bring this experience to a bigger student body as an international student representative, and a sort of role model to show how I became empowered.
Smitha Pallaki ‘17: Bryn Mawr can be very intense academically, the treasurer really contributes to non academic life on campus and can create an outside outlet in terms of activities and clubs. I view this as a strong connection between SGA and the students because we work so closely with clubs and monetary issues. Students get the most out of what Bryn Mawr provides.
Angela Motte ‘17 – Candidate for Secretary
Charlie Bruce ’16: How many words per minute can you type?
Angela Motte ‘17: I can type at 81 words per minute, with 413 keystrokes. According to the examination, I am a better typist than 90.35% of users who have taken this examination.
Charlie Bruce ’16: What do you bring to the role of secretary?
Angela Motte ‘17: I bring my knowledge of the SGA’s constitution, policies, bylaws and “Robert’s Rules of Order.” I also bring my experience as a member-at-large, and organizational skills. From my previous leadership roles on campus, I bring the ability to have a presence when public speaking. I am also easy to contact, and I have a fast turn around time with my responses.
Charlie Bruce ’16: What initiatives do you hope to bring to this position?
Angela Motte ‘17: I would like to continue and expand our digital outreaches. This year we have created weekly recap videos of SGA meetings. I think this is very important because we need to create a more inclusive space. Bryn Mawr students are all united under SGA, and some students may not be able to attend our weekly meetings. The first video we posted a week ago received 77 views, and the second video we posted three days ago received 66 views. This time-to-view ratio shows a positive increase in viewers, which implies that more students are becoming aware of this service, watching the videos, and allowing them to connect to SGA more directly by staying informed.
Syona Arora ’15: How good are you at proof reading?
Angela Motte ‘17: I am very good at proofreading! I have experience with sending out mass email messages, so I’m comfortable and familiar with the process.
Linn: Do you have any problems with the position as it currently stands? What would you like to change?
Angela Motte ‘17: I think that Charlie is doing a really good job at their role. I think that the constitution does a very good job outlining all the responsibilities that the secretary will need to handle. I would like to change the roles of members-at-large, who work with the secretary. I think that we should shape the position to be more utilized in a time effective manner. I think that they should handle more social media opportunities. They should be used to create a more inclusive environment, as well as mass distribution of information through various mediums.
Rebekah Gallop ’18: What is your favorite fruit and why?
Angela Motte ‘17: My favorite fruit is a pomegranate! It’s my favorite fruit because my freshmen year Anna Kalinsky and Katie Guye taught me how to open it properly without popping the seeds.
Rachel Bruce ’18: What does self governance mean to you?
Angela Motte ‘17: I would want to say “empowerment” because that’s a huge part of our association. However, I think that SGA brings the entire community together, and provides a platform where everyone can have their voices and opinions heard. I think that “unity” would be a better way to describe how I feel towards our system of government. We are all one student body, and we are unified through this shared experience.
Molly MacDougall ‘16: Next up is appointments committee.
Charlie Bruce ’16: Why do you want to run for this position?
Rachel Bruce ‘18: I want to run for this position because I think that Appointments is an imperative part of the Bryn Mawr Self-Governance experience. I think that I can make a big difference as far as not only streamlining the process but also making the Appointments Committee more accessible in general.
Sarah Awad ‘17: I am rerunning for the position because I really enjoyed the experience over the last year and I want to continue to be involved and work with the Vice President to reform the appointments process and change how committees work to make them more productive and efficient.
Namita Dwarakanth ’15: How would you recruit the broadest group of students for appointments?
Rachel Bruce ‘16: I think that it is important for the Appointments Committee to have more of a presence on campus. We can do this by holding teas targeted at specific groups – for example, International Students – speak to affinity groups, as well as have general interest teas. Additionally, I believe that an increased presence on social media would greatly help these efforts as well.
Sarah Awad ‘17: I think that more responsibility needs to be put on the current committees to broadcast the openings they have. People on those committees are more likely to know people interested in the that topic and would have a broader reach than the appointments committee alone would.
Angela Motte ’17: What is your biggest strength and your biggest weakness in terms of this position?
Rachel Bruce ‘18: I believe that biggest weakness, in regards to this position, is that I have the habit of overthinking things because I truly care about the wellbeing of the committee, the individual, etc. My biggest strengths, I believe, is that I am very honest as well as that I am willing to talk to people, both of which I think are extremely important when it comes to the wellbeing of the Appointments Committee.
Sarah Awad ‘17: Weakness is overthinking and becoming too involved in a project and wanting it to be perfect. Strength is communication and collaboration skills
Elizabeth Vandenberg ’16: What is your favorite committee?
Rachel Bruce ‘18: My favorite committee is the Customs Committee because I love what it stands for – making first-years feel as at home as possible. I also love what the Hell Week, Social, and Plenary Committees stand for because they truly emphasize what is unique about (as well as try to best adapt to the time) the Bryn Mawr experience.
Sarah Awad ‘17: hell week committee, I honestly think they have the hardest job on campus and they out in endless amounts of work to make hell week as flawless as possible every year.
Alexis De la Rosa ’15: One of the biggest issues is that appointments needs to be more efficient. Do you have any ideas on how to streamline?
Rachel Bruce ‘18: I think that the Appointments Committee’s use of Google Docs has benefitted not only the committee but student as well this year. I think that it would be best to move away from Moodle as much as possible because it can be extremely difficult/confusing to use at times.
Sarah Awad ‘17: Our switch to google docs last year was very important and successful, I think continuing to integrate that and other technology will help the process. I also think we should offer shorter segments of time for people to sign up for appointments so that it is easier for the committee and we are all more likely to be present for most of the interviews.
Charlie Bruce ’16: Why is self governance important?
Rachel Bruce ‘18: Self-governance is extremely important. It influences our curriculum, the way we govern ourselves, the way we govern one another. It teaches students to be more self sufficient and responsible. When we graduate and go out into the world, we will know how to take care of ourselves and those around us because of the lessons taught to us by self governance. I know this is a broad statement to make, but that is why I believe self-governance is so important.
Sarah Awad ‘17: Self governance is like a statement of personal responsibility and that we are all able govern ourselves, which leads to a special level of trust that we can have as a community.