Here is our second installment of "Meet Your Candidates." Below is our exclusive interview with VSA presidential candidate Maryrose Myrtetus '09.
Mads: What experience do you have that qualifies you for the position of president?
Maryrose: [I] have the experience and passion to hit the ground running as VSA President. I am currently the President of the Class of 2009, so I run Class Council meetings and sit on VSA Council. In addition, I sit on Student Life Committee, Master Planning Committee, Activities Committee, and a number of other college committees. Through my work as '09 President, I have attained an intimate understanding of the College Governance, the VSA Constitution and By-Laws and the countless policies in place throughout the college. Because I know the system so well, I know where it needs to be fixed and how to make your needs fit into the bigger picture of Vassar's operations. In addition, I will work to make the agenda of the college (which is often times unclear and compiled without enough student input) parallel the needs of the students. The college exists for us students and we can never let administrators and faculty lose sight of that fact!
[...] My most important preparation for being VSA President has simply been being a part of the student body. Many students aren't very aware of what the VSA government does or what many of the college committees do. That's because many people feel like committee actions lack relevance to student life. One of the biggest platforms of my campaign is making the actions of VSA government more RELEVANT to the students. Being in touch with the student body and staying aware of what really matters to students is the most important thing the VSA President can do.
Mads: What issues are most important to you?
MM: Because there are so many initiatives happening on multiple fronts of the college, it is practically impossible to narrow down the list of important issues. So I'll list a few I will be sure to work on from day one [...]
1) Security policy - [...] Many students don't understand the parameters of security's role on campus. And after reading the College Regulations Handbook, it is clear why. The handbook is vague and poorly organized with respect to this issue. [...] As '09 President, I've asked for input from my classmates, and I will solicit the entire student body for feedback as your President. The next steps are to 1) make a cohesive document that balances student concerns with the parameters of college policy, 2) work with administrators to solidify it's validity, and then 3) make it a public, living document.
*I'd like to point out the working to better understand security policies is not solely focused on parties/alcohol/drug issues. The incident in North Lot a few nights ago is very serious and discussions about the role of security will obviously include topics like campus safety as well.*
2) The VSA has to do a better job supporting and funding student organizations. As a SARC Intern and a member of student orgs, I know that the relationship between organizations, the Campus Activities Office, and the VPs for Finance and Activities is convoluted and needs to be reexamined. We need to streamline information on event planning, scheduling and funding by coordinating the resources of the VSA and the Campus Activities Office (CAO). These offices exist to serve the students and should collaborate to meet that purpose. I have already spoken to the Assistant Director of Campus Activities, Megan Habermann, about better coordinating the resources of the VSA and the CAO. As one of my first steps, I plan to work with Megan over the summer to streamline information through a new, more user-friendly, website for student organizations.
3) Moving the bookstore of the Juliet building is a controversial issue [...] While the administration seems to have made an irreversible decision, I think that it is imperative that students have as much input as possible on this change. Also, even though relocation the bookstore is part of the college's plan to foster better relations with our surrounding community, many people in Poughkeepsie feel like they are being pushed further away from Vassar. So, while making sure the new bookstore suits students' needs, I will also push to make sure the change treats the Poughkeepsie/Arlington community with the most respect and consideration.
4) ResLife is one of the most criticized offices on campus, and one that affects student life the most. For this reason, I will work to improve the relationship between elected leaders and ResLife, placing a premium on regular communication. By staying in contact with ResLife and making sure the office is continuously made aware of the issues facing students in their residences, I hope to cut down the bureaucratic boundaries between students and college offices and make sure ResLife is responding quickly and appropriately to student concerns.
Mads: If voters should know one thing about you or your platform, what should it be?
MM: I will work tirelessly to make sure every student feels like the VSA government is working for them. The VSA needs to make itself more RELEVANT to the student body. All students should have input in setting the VSA agenda, not just the elected student leaders. In essence, a vote for me is a vote to make the VSA work for you.
Mads: Will you bring any changes to the VSA?
MM: Now that the VSA has a set Constitution and refined set of by-laws, it is time to move beyond the process-oriented functions of the VSA government. It's time for substantive action, not bureaucratic maneuvering. With me, you will have a VSA President focused on inclusive, collaborative leadership. I want to work with as many people as possible in order to make sure the demands and needs of the students are met. I plan to cut through the bureaucracy that exists within the VSA government and streamline information to make student communication with various offices on campus more fluid and straightforward. Being VSA President is not a one-man or one-woman show - it requires collaboration, communication and genuine passion to get things done for the students. I am the right one for the job.