Candidates Forum Fall 2016
NOTE: The last 23 minutes is on stand by…
My name is Rachel Bruce, class of 2018, and I am running for SGA president. I use she/ her pronouns. Hello my name is Genesis Perez-Melara. I used to see/her pronouns, class of 2019, and I’m running for SGA president.
Sophia: class of 2020, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Rachel Bruce: Rachel Bruce class of 2018. I am a junior, and I am currently on the SGA e-board. I’m the secretary. so I am responsible for writing the minutes, writing the summaries, and sending everything out. I have held several SGA positions before. I was a member-at-large freshman year. Members of appointment committee sophomore year. I was a customs person. I am the secretary. It has really been a position that I was honored to have and working with the e-board has been a really great experience. I really care about SGA a lot. Having been on the E board for the last year I see a lot of things that work well and a lot of things that did not work well. I can point out different things that I would like to improve. I am excited to work with the rest of the executive board and representative council to make SGA as good as it can be In terms of working with different groups of people on campus.
Genesis Perez-Melara: Genesis Perez-Melara class of 2019. For the past year-and-a-half, I have been the head of the elections. For my freshman year I held the position alone and the second year I held the position with my roommate Mariana. It has been a great experience for me. This is the only position I have ever held but I think it was a great learning experience. I was into the job and the support that I found within the SGA committee was really great. I think that my experience with dealing with things that are unexpected, teaching myself the Constitutions especially the bylaws, going through the plenary resolutions ,and working closely with the e-board for a long time are really helpful .I am really excited to hopefully work with the e-board and hear the student body, not only taking my opinion on what I think should change but also listening to the student body because I know that there are a lot of opinions out there and there are a lot of desires to change things with SGA. It’s really intimidating for a lot of people and I don’t think it should be that way. We are students and we hold a lot of power at Bryn Mawr. Bryn Mawr advertises SGA as one of its biggest highlights, but it wasn’t like that for me and I really think that should change. I think that being the head of Elections, I had to receive a lot of criticisms and opinions. I didn’t back out because of the backlash. Instead, I saw where I could improve and what could I change. I really look forward to doing that as the SGA president.
Question: How do you plan to increase the transparency within the community as the SGA President?
Rachel Bruce: Rachel Bruce class of 2018. For the last year, something that I work to do as the secretary was to make sure that the minutes were accessible in terms of summarizing because no one wants to read through a 10-page Verbatim summary. Although there are some great things that people have said, people just see it and kind of want to be done. In terms of increasing transparency, I think that it’s extremely important for the e-board and SGA president to have a straight line of communication. When I was a customs person, something that always stays true was that even if I personally knew the person very well or didn’t, I was their Customs person first, and that was the role I could not take lightly. And one thing that I would do as president to increased transparency is by talking each week at the meeting about what happened each week. The SGA president meets with Kim Cassidy. And I’ll also take feedbacks from the student body, and that is something we did this year and worked really well. Some people were against getting feedbacks from people, because they do not like to hear what they are doing wrong, but I think it’s important. It takes a lot of strength to really admit that you’re doing something wrong and trying to improve that. So that is one thing that I’ll definitely do in terms of improving transparency. I will also try to improve furthermore SGA social media presence and to find other ways of communicating with students on campus.
Genesis Perez-Melara: Genesis Perez-Melara class of 2019. So in terms of transparency between Administrations and students, I think that specifically with the students, we are very casual people. I think that one of the things that as head of Elections that I did to make sure the elections were more accessible with transparency to the student body was by emailing the ballots directly to the students instead of having students to go through Moodle and scroll all the way down. It’s really confusing that way. I know that a lot of students do check their emails on a daily basis. That was one way SGA could be more transparent and accessible. To be honest, I have not worked with the administration a lot but as a member of the SGA representative council, I do not hear a lot about what happens within those meetings. Maybe they are private I do not know. I think that if it is allowed, the SGA community/Bryn Mawr community should really know the important details that is going on. I think like what Rachel have said, we need to increase social presence as well, making sure that the student body knows what’s going on in SGA and what they are trying to do. Also, making sure that SGA knows what the students want because we can be as transparent as we want but we also want to make sure that we know what the student body wants and needs. Maybe we can create more transparency in that way.
Question: How do you plan to manage your time as the SGA President
Rachel Bruce: Rachel Bruce class of 2018. Being on the e-board for the last year I understand the kind of time commitment that the SGA president requires. this past year unfortunately I dropped acapella and I cut my hours at work as much as I could to make sure that I can put in as much time as possible for this job. But in terms of being available and being accessible, I, as an uprising senior, understand the time that this requires. I already talked to my major advisor about this and how being SGA president would entail with writing with my thesis, and I’m doing my research over the summer so that can help me to cut down the time when I come back in September. I am familiar with the time requirement with this position. If I were the SGA president I would do more and put in more time. In short, I would do everything in my power to make sure I devote enough time into this position. I am a federally approved work-study recipient and I have my academics as well but SGA would come first.
Genesis Perez-Melara: Genesis Perez-Melara class of 2019. I’m currently the secretary of the UNA-USA Bryn Mawr Club chapter. With that I learned how to deal with many administrative tasks, especially with being the head of the elections as well. I know a lot of people and I know who to contact them if I need to book a room, make posters, or just to find out more information. I learned how to manage my time as the secretary of the UNA Club and also head of elections. I also tutor biochemistry through today’s office and volunteer on Saturdays. I managed to distribute my time equally. There are more things that I would dedicate more time to such as SGA. I think head of Elections is not an e-board position, but it takes a lot of time between me and Mariana. I think I definitely learned especially this semester how to know when it’s enough and when to cut back on things. I was about to take 5 classes this semester and it took a lot for me to just say I can’t do this, and so I only took 4 classes. That was a big learning experience for me to know when I cannot do something and how to prioritize things. I could have easily taken five classes and just cut back on my extracurricular but I knew that I made a commitment to SGA, the UNA-USA club, and my Saturday volunteering. I think I know how to prioritize my things. I would say that SGA is on the top of my priority list as well.
Time has elapsed→ speaking order
Question: Class of 2018, why do you guys want to run for SGA president but not the other positions?
Rachel Bruce: Rachel Bruce 2018. SGA is something that I really care about and it is something that I did as soon as I came to Bryn Mawr. I was a member at-large and I saw a lot of times people get disheartened by SGA because they think that their voice doesn’t matter, and they think that this is such a waste of time. It is just a bunch of college kids pretending to be politicians. I do not see it like that at all. I really want to make sure that other people don’t see it like that. I want to be SGA president because first, it is something that I set as a goal when I was a freshman. I want people to know at their voices really matter and that’s something that I am really trying my best to do this year as part of the e-board as secretary. We have things that worked really well and we have things did not work as well. We had turnout for plenary that was unbelievable because we listen to the student body and made it at night and got feedback in choosing this theme and make sure that their voices actually mattered. As SGA president, I want to take that same mindset further by reaching out to groups that feel like their voices don’t really matter or groups that are not really represented by the SGA such as international student. This year we had a very low turnout for the international student on the representative council. That was something that I was personally very disappointed about because I thought that they make up a decent part of the student body. Their interest should be represented just as other students. In short, I want to be the SGA president because I want people to know that their voice matters and I want people to know that I will be accessible and will always be there to listen.
Genesis Perez-Melara: Genesis Perez-Melara class of 2019. I am going to be very honest. When I first came to Bryn Mawr, I did not go to the SGA meeting first semester. I had no clue what it was consisted of. It wasn’t until I got an email saying that I was nominated for cop’s head that I came to the info session and they asked me to run for the head of Elections. As an eager freshman, I said yeah sure! why not? And then I realized it was so much work, but then I fell in love with the position and with SGA. I realized how much of a voice I have on campus. I’m not trying to pursue politics or anything. It is just something that I think it’s very unique and really amazing about Bryn Mawr because students really do have a say about what they would like to see on campus and what they would like to see in the administrators. I did not come to appreciate that and realize that until I became involved. I think having that kind of experience and having that kind of understanding can help me to reach out to students who are reluctant to getting more involved in SGA. I think being president I will have a place where I would say, “Hey, I was not into SGA. I did not think that I would really have a voice. I had no interest in it, but things changed and once you get involved and you see how much power you hold at the student.”
Question: Class of 2019, considering the political climate of the nation, how would you guys ensure that students are involved and different voices are heard?
Rachel Bruce: Rachel Bruce class of 2018. That’s a really important question. I believe that now more than ever SGA really needs to be a voice for the students considering the political climate of our government. SGA should make sure that the students are involved and aware. One thing that I would suggest is reaching out to different groups on campus, not just in a sense of tokenism, but actually finding people who genuinely are interested in SGA and finding ways to draw people in by reaching out to people and having food because people always come for food. We also have to ensure that that we give people a reason to want to be involved in SGA, and that also involves making sure that there is transparency within the administration, and that the Administration responses when something happens The e-board doesn’t have to say to the administration, “Cam you say something?” Because the administration should know. One idea that I have is to create a committee of student that can work to inform the administration if something happens because obviously we all come from different places, and the administrations don’t realize the magnitude of an event and the impact of an event on the student body and what students really want to hear from the school. Also, I want to maintain the sense of self-sufficiency in SGA. One really special thing that I love about SGA is that the students really do have the power to do what they want with the budget in terms of money for clubs and organizations as well as initiatives. I think that maintaining SGA’s role as a force for students and student alone is something that I as president would really make my top priority because that’s what SGA is here for.
Genesis Perez-Melara:Genesis Perez-Melara class of 2019. Really good question! That is something I have been really thinking a lot about. In social media you can read a lot about what students are saying about the administration. We can have the SGA to contact the administration. I think that as with what’s been going on politically, it is really important and critical that SGA reach out to students and ask what can we do as a community? Because the Bryn Mawr community is SGA. We need to make SGA and their representative council more involved in political protest if they feel comfortable enough to do in that. We need to listen to the student’s ideas about what they need and what they want from the administration and faculty. There are so much that we can do. We can make our own decisions and we can put in our own opinions but that is only our own opinion. I think that’s what’s most important is listening to what the students have to say and what they need, making sure that there’s a forum on the weekend to take questions and opinions student have about what we can do from them.
Question: Do you have any ideas for the student body to get involved in SGA?
Rachel Bruce: Rachel Bruce class of 2018. Yes, one thing that we tried to do this year more was reaching out to multiple affinity groups on campus and reaching out to people who we did not see represented at our meeting, people who we were not really speaking up and who are not coming forward and say what they feel. So I would say definitely creating different forums and ways for people to make their voices heard. For example, have an SGA dinner in the Dorothy Venom Room, just having people come in and talk and having a way that the representative council could get together and actually interact with people. People just elect people and they don’t really hear from them after that aside from the dorm president, and that’s a very valuable role that these people have. I know that they want to do more. Reaching out to Affinity groups, reaching out to students, reaching out to First Years, and engaging actively and a customs process and Customs week and making sure that freshman, transfers and especially for McBride’s are engaged. I really want to see what SGA can do for them and what they can do for SGA.
Genesis Perez-Melara: Genesis Perez-Melara class of 2019.I think that creating a personal touch for SGA is very important. From what I saw as head of Elections is that I could post as many posters and make as many Facebook groups as I can, but still that wouldn’t really affect the voter turnout or how many people come to candidate’s forum or how much people decide to nominate a certain people. From what I saw what’s most effective was direct communications such as seeing a person on the sidewalk and say “hey do you know it’s nominations?” I could also directly message the to come to the candidate’s forum. I think those are what’s most important. Bryn Mawr it’s a community and we have a lot of acquaintances on campus. You have to make sure that you implement that kind of personal touch within the representative council and anybody who comes to the SGA meeting.
Question: How do you think your identity can help you to be successful as the SGA President?
Rachel Bruce: Rachel Bruce class of 2018. Aside from identifying myself from the student and as a rising senior and as a member of several organizations on this campus, I identify as a religious minority: Jewish. That is something I definitely identifying lot as a person. I experienced bullying and a different treatment just because of who I am regardless of who I am as a person.
I also identify as white and low income; I think that those experiences can help me to better understand the people with two I am working with. There’s no one on this campus that can identify with every single group that is represented on this campus. It is just not possible. Trying to take experiences that you have had and put those forward as a person is really something that makes a lot to me. As SGA president, I would hope to create a very diverse representative council and diverse assembly to make sure that not only students on this campus are represented but also use my own experiences to try and reach out and be there as a person for my peers.
Genesis Perez-Melara: Genesis Perez-Melara class of 2019. I identified as Latina I’m a first generation student. I am a college student. I come from a low income background. I could keep on the listing things but I think that those are three things that I mainly identify with. I don’t want to be limited with what I identify as but with how I can help the student body and how I can reach out to different identity groups on campus. yes, I think it will help to relate to person but I think I can only go so far.
hi I am Delia Landers, class of 2019, I use she/her pronoun. Hi, I am Nanda Bushan, class of 2019, I use she/her pronounce.
Question: Nora Dell, why do you want to run for SGA vice president?
Delia Landers: I was a member-at-large freshman year and then myself what year I served on the appointments committee so I definitely have seen a real close up by the way Shana doing all the aspect of the appointments committee. I really enjoyed my time with SGA and I kind of feel like I want to…
DL ’19: I want to remain connected to campus Because I live in Batten it kind of makes me feel a little detached from campus so I definitely want to retain that connection that I have and I feel that I would be able to fulfil this role very well I feel that I have good organizational skills I’ve had a lot of chances where I’ve had to interview people not just in the appointments context but also in other aspects of my life is well and so I just feel like this would be a good opportunity to stay connected to campus and also utilize my skills
NB ’19: so my first year here I served on social and plenary committee and the second half of my first year and then this year I served on appointments with Shaina Delia Kamara and Anushka and that amazing experience really allowed me to realize how appointments can be used to implement change on campus and tell if the various committees on campus are even more publicized can give students even more of a voice and yeah that’s my main purpose running
DL ’19: so in regards to the appointment committee I know not this year we’ve had a lot and last year also had a lot of people come out and apply, and that was nice but there’s a lot of committees that are the less exciting ones like campus screening rep there’s no one that ever so I definitely would want to increase publicity for those particular ones that aren’t necessarily I’m feeling towards there’s a large group with you on campus and try to make them seem more appealing and fun and maybe am them toward certain majors that would kind of relate to those kind types of work Sony this screening cities people would be interested in that kind of wine for it I’m kind of work with that SGA at large I would really like to see the SGA become more politically active I was thinking about the review really interesting ways that we could host different workshops and training for people on campus and see what kind of things people be interested in in that regards and so people could better represent themselves
NB ’19: so one of my main ideas regarding my possible role as SGA vice president relate manly to how the main self-governing body that vice president is associated with is appointments so I had a few ideas regarding maybe an event similar to throw it but for the committee’s themselves so that first years really know what the Committees are about their purpose and how they can get involved as she I also thought about the office itself the Campus Center and how can be more accessible to students I think right now it seems exclusive and I think if we open up to the student body and open up the space in general just come or even their interest regarding what they want to do on campus great way to engage more of the student body and also a possible idea could be creating a bulletin board after various committees kind of similar to the bulletin boards in the dorms right now for DLT we have to which person in their DLT roll so you know if you can contact you have any problems and the same thing for the heads of committees we can take pictures of the heads of committees so that’s no and how they can get involved as Delia was saying as well I like to see SGA more politically active because what is personal is also political and weather that’s collaborating with ammo groups because I think that The work of ammo groups and SGA seem very separate right when they’re actually very intertwined so yeah just more collaborating various bodies on campus and publicizing
DL ’19: I believe that the candidates gay very full answers that they have her really comprehensive plan where what they want Bryn Mawr to look like next year and what they want SGA roll to be and I’d be really excited to work with either of them and to make SGA more accessible and make it more inclusive and to make it a better program than it is already
NB’19: I agree as well I think both Jen and Rachel are great candidates and if they are elected it would be very well deserved
DL’19: I was very excited I was nominated for another position but this one definitely felt just much more me and I felt like it really and what I see for myself
NB’19: I agree I was very excited because the work appointments have done I really enjoy being a part of it I was also a little nervous I think just knowing you kind of question your trust and in the way people trust you to implement change in the system and just knowing that considering that as ga has been around for so long weather group or people of people can really and will not change is nerve-racking but also something I’m willing to take on
DL 19: I know that in public spaces a lot of times it’s really difficult to have those conversations and so but I think they’re really important to have and so I think that first having spaces Western to feel comfortable speaking to members of a CA or how they feel and a smaller context and knowing that it wouldn’t be as face of judgement and Doris was a confrontation would be really important and then those conversations could move into a larger spear when those types of understand things are more so their opinions can kind of be more respected and heard because it’s important for us to hear other opinions so that we know what other people’s positions are because there’s no other way to grow and that’s kind of what the issue is at Bryn Mawr that a lot of times we we don’t get to hear this those opinions even though they would help us better formulate our own and to understand where people are coming from
NB: yeah it’s funny when you mention that dynamic I just remember when I first came from to Bryn Mawr so I am from Dallas Texas and differing opinions are inevitable especially and the state like Texas and growing up in that atmosphere I wasnt expecting the Northeast more hostile towards conservative views and I think it’s more about transferring those experiences that experience in high school just listening and hearing other people’s opinions and then having a respectful conversation regarding why the reasons behind those views and I think that I that’s something that we definitely has a campus we need more of and whether that’s SGA hosting more Hot Topic or just cohorts and general with conversations what predetermined guidelines as to how soon should listen to each other and respect fully engage and I kind of difficult conversation
MG: SGA Secretary
MP 20: I’m Meghan Pemberton 9 from the class of 2020
EL 20: I’m Eva Lou from the class of 2020
MP: I want to run for secretary because it’s kind of what I’ve done for my whole quasi professional life I was a secretary or probation office my sophomore year and High School which is responsible for drafting a lot of course Case descriptions and PSI warrants and all that stuff and also Im serving as a secretary on the E Board of our tedx initiative at Bryn Mawr where I coordinate with the presidents and the minutes and type summaries of the meetings
EL: I wanted to be secretary because I I’m confident in my organization skills and similarly or something I’ve done in my high school as well like I was the model un secretary and I have been a secretary for 3 different clubs in high school so I believe that something I’m good at and something I’m confident in that I can help SCA with with my skills so that’s why
MP: what we do for tedx right now that has been largely affected is reaching out to are organized are organizers and the keyboard is what a inside of putting everything in sight a Google doc and making that shareable to anyone who can access the document and I found that process people are more likely to even open it and it’s easily to disseminate your social media through the blocks that SGA utilizes and all that stuff
EL: so the way that I did it when I was in high school was we created a form online so students could leave their own opinions so we could see so we can post for all to see or the teachers all the stuff online it’s kind of it’s kind of like Google. Except you don’t have to look into it so it’s like thing that you can always see for my previous experience when I was in high school and not many people were interested in our work that was something son so I’m I would like to somehow make it more tractable to people so that people are more stuff people can understand how to participate in our work and make your life better
MP: I believe in the power of sit down to meetings and informal and formal so I get to know them on a regular basis that communication is easy and fluid and that regard I’m also a proponent of emails but not so excessively and it’s boring and annoying I would ensure that there is a lot of face-to-face contact with those people and possible and informally and formally
EL: so what I was thinking was that you should resource is away is a source of information they should be available when you are solving problems so I believe that any kind of question or problems can be converted into a question of uncertatiny with infromation when you have successfully you can help them or they can get your help if they need your help so like I was thinking to like face to face is a good conversation but personally I would prefer email because that’s the way that’s more efficient you don’t waste time with people talking and waiting around
MP: so I think a lot of people in this room voice frustration with the current political climate in this nation and how our community as a whole has been interacting with that within that frustration intention my frustration stems from the fact that I don’t really believe in the institution of the state any so much anymore and like all that stuff and I really believe in the power of individuals to effect change on a microscopic level which I think in effect turns into macroscopic change and as a freshman here in my second semester this is my home but it hasn’t become completely my home as it has for a lot of people here and I want to get involved at a local student government conversations that need to be had and continue to be developing and pushed out and be a part of something that I really do think that when it comes together is going to meet something in the face of what feels like political Armageddon
EL: so for me my reasons are personal I believe in the power of change so I believe that every individual has the power to change their surroundings according to what is best for herself and her peers and so SGA I believe is the best place for me to enlarge that power and for my previous experience secretary seems to be the most suitable job for me so that’s why
MP: I think Genesis made a really good point actually earlier on that people on like small levels like on the sidewalk or the street or in class just having conversation about hey what do you think of SGA like what would you do personally to get more involved in speaking to the importance of this only works on We’re In It Together and we can’t do that if we’re not involved in it encourage it on a small personal level and I think again that Facebook is a really good utility in this case and email and above all I really do believe in face-to-face person contact
EL: in order to applicate our work I think the best way is to get in touch let them will then personally and by that I mean ssga we should be able to get that information from the school about students and see who my feel that they are not representated enough and get in touch individually to ask what do they think about us SGA how would they like to change it and in that way I believe that it’s more likely to get them speaking speaking up because people that generally believed that there voices are not representativequiet down as well and when we send out mass emails saying people who what think they are not represented can just come they would not move so the thing is we have to get to them personally and that way we can make sure that their voices are heard
MP: I would say at this point I mean I mention this earlier but I am Secretary of tedx and we meet once a week and then I am responsible for like I have to compile a minutes and email them out which probably takes like an hour of my time at most in the evening after my classes which Disney especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays almost like eight hours do everything else so I would say that I am willing to put in whatever amount of time is again I am really interested becoming evolved in this Oregon it’s so important especially in this time and will do everything to the best of my ability whatevers asked of me
EL: because I have no idea what time commitment the SGA secretary would have but I’m assuming from my previous experience what about 10 hours a week so that’s for my previous experience and considering my current schedule as the time commitment that is something I can make but if there’s more time then I will adjust my schedule accordingly
MP: I think that’s a really good question so you’re right we’re both second semester freshman so what makes us qualifying in the past like I mentioned before I was the Secretary of probation office Wichita cab El which took about 12 hours of my life each week and I was responsible for handling quite a massive caseload to the point where it’s just like oh if I copy this docket number in correctly then justice is not served so like to that end I feel that has prepared me to give me so efficient organizational committing skills and taught me how to manage my time and how to coordinate the whole bureaucracy people that I feel like you’re right even though I’m a freshman and that this is a significant position at our College that I would be able to apply what I learned and that experience to govern now to be on the Eve board of tedx to be this commitment as well
EL: So like she said especially personally I have not worked nsga out so so I can only imagine that I’m qualified as a for this position based on my past experiences so I can only say as much that If there are people voting for me then people believe I’m qualified and there must be something in me that either see origin sea that will apply to this position because I really have no idea
GP 19: SGA Treasurer
AH 19:nhi my name is Anna Huang and I am in the class of 2019
AH19: because actually when I was a freshman the pressure of my cloud studied abroad so I so I just suddenly became the treasurer for the clown and at that time because I was sick I missed a budget interview which is really important I felt really frustrated and anxious and I cfied to my home Mom and I said I won’t get any money for my club but that makes me understand how important the money is to come across campus which makes me to apply for student finance committee I’m a member of soon finance committee now and I gradually learned a lot more about that responsibility as an sua treasure and I’ve seen a lot of that and I learned a lot about our budget so money is very important and the budget can never be perfect and I know that many students when they want her budgets it’s really anxious and they don’t know what to do and because I was really curious and I wanted to learn more about this so I join more than 15 clowns in my freshman years I know that’s kind of crazy so I know how most of the club Ron’s and I know how to summon the club they really need money then others don’t need much but they need to spend all their budget so they have to do an event which they don’t prepare about four so I want to change this
AH 19: I was treasure for the Tai Chi club for semester but I quit because you know you cant always being 15 clubs so I only have like five clubs actually maybe for so I’m not treasure and now but I’m on the student finance committee so I’m and in charge of about 17 clubs budget reimbursement and other stuff and so I also I’m the secretary house signing out so so I still have a leadership in clubs still kind of know how to leave them and I’m a math major so it might make me more sensitive to number
AH: I’ve been thinking about it for a long time because I always thought that our budget is not flexible enough but so probably I locals office hours every week because I know that as you transfer our current Treasurer Jocelyn always gets a lot of emails but maybe that’s not the most efficient way to communicate and I know for the budgets there’s a lot of details that you can’t have to make sure because you know money is important we can’t just give it to anyone so probably I will fold office hours every week so after clubs apply for Budget that usually don’t change their budget much we have mid-term review but I don’t really think that’s enough I know that the 17 clowns only two of them apply for adventure review so maybe I need to find a way to be more flexible about the budget so sometimes that really need budgets won’t get all they want and some clothes maybe they don’t have time for that much events or maybe they just don’t get an opportunity because it’s hard to find speakers and come up with events so maybe I just want to allocate their original budget across campus more efficiently by really communicating with the clubs and tracing their budgets backwards or something