Here is our interview with Jenna Konstantine '13, candidate for VSA Vice President for Operations.
Mads Vassar: What experience qualifies you for the position?
Jenna Konstantine: Being the President of Noyes this year has most qualified me to be VP of Operations. In addition to becoming familiar with the ResLife side of campus life, I have had the opportunity to participate in VSA Council and committees firsthand. I was a member of the Operations and Student Life Committees and worked on projects such as streamlining the language of our governing documents and exploring the idea of an Advisory Council for inclusion, which led to discussions of a Council restructure. I also had experience with the class council system last year, as Freshman Rep of Noyes for 2013. Also, though this may seem irrelevant, I have had a lot of experience with stage management, which has made me very competent in the fields of organization, communication, and consoling stressed people.
MV: What campus issue matters most to you?
JK: Accessibility to the VSA! I know that Mariah addressed this in her interview, but it’s definitely worth saying again. I care about people understanding the potential of the VSA as a resource for action; I think that people would be more active in this student government if we were clearer about how it works. Simple measures like keeping the website updated and promoting more contact with students at large could make such a difference in how people view and use the VSA.
MV: If anything, what do you want to see changed about the VSA?
JK: I want communication between the VSA Council and students at large to be more effective and consistent. I don’t want anyone to be confused about where to go or who to contact about how to get something done. I want initiatives to be carried through, not just by Council members, but by students at large.
I would like to see our governing documents and Council structure adjust to fit the needs of the student body. The Misc stated it very nicely in one of their staff editorials – hopefully “this greater understanding will inform discussions on improving the structure of the VSA as they extend into next year and beyond.” We need to use what we’ve learned from these proposals, debates, and the referendum to create a relevant, effective structure via an open, accessible process.
I would love to see the college committee structure become more efficient, not only in the VSA but within the larger Vassar governance. I think that with just a bit more communication and collaboration on projects, committees could be much more productive.
I would like to get away from the idea that the VSA is confusing or scary. I would like to see meetings more widely attended and would like the VSA Office to be a more bustling place! If people don’t know when meetings are held, or even where the VSA Office is located, we are clearly doing something wrong.
MV: Describe your platform in 140 characters.
JK: Accessibility! Less confusion, more effective communication! Making the VSA easier to understand and getting students what they need to make things happen.
MV: Ok, now you can elaborate...
JK: Next year’s projects would focus on making the VSA a more active, engaging, and effective body. I would like to improve communication and clarity by keeping the VSA website and blog informative and consistently updated with meeting times, minutes, and agendas, as well as reports from the Exec Board about ongoing and upcoming projects. I would like to make the VSA Council and Exec Board a more consistent presence on campus.
The VSA should be easier to understand, particularly through a continued effort to clean up our governing documents. I have received a suggestion that I think would prove effective –collaborating the Operations Committee and Judicial Board to revise our Constitution and Bylaws. This would put more relevant voices into the policy conversation and shorten the distance between Council and Judicial Board activity.
MV: What is your favorite Vassar memory or moment?
JK: Chili Wednesday is always my favorite moment. Also, the day Noyes won Serenading was one of the best days of my life.
MV: Anything you want to add?
JK: I have the time, the energy, the experience, and I own 6 different kinds of Post–It notes. If you have any questions, please email me! jekonstantine[at]vassar.edu.