April 23, 2011

Meet The Candidates: Sharon Onga '13

Here is our interview with Sharon Onga '13, candidate for VSA Vice President for Student Life.

Mads Vassar: What experience qualifies you for the position?
[Courtesy Onga]

Sharon Onga: I was one of the students involved in the "I Am Vassar" portion of orientation. That was a formative experience for me because we put in good work, we took this work home and tried our best to make it better than what had happened my freshmen year. Were we successful? Not necessarily, and hearing that broke me on different levels. But as a sophomore, I spent this year engaging in conversations with freshmen, upperclassmen and my peers,  faculty, administrators and a few alumae/alumni. I came to the following conclusion: there are organizations on campus that already address the issues that the Freshmen Orientation programing touch upon. We should seek them out throughout the year and encourage their help and support as we develop more practical alternatives that supplement the efforts other offices and departments have already made.
 
MV: What campus issue matters most to you?
SO: Workers' rights. We need to be more educated on the work practices at Vassar.  I will admit I myself just got wind of this issue from the panels I've briefly attended and the conversations I've had with some staff members and faculty. The sentiments circulating confirm that Vassar as a corporation isn't running things with integrity. Vassar needs to step up its game, give healthcare to all its employees...Treat all members of the Vassar community with a lil' more RESPECT. 

Sophomore slump, because I never thought it was real when I heard about it as a freshwoman. 
I saw friends go through it and the negative toll it took on their academic and social life. It would be a disservice to the rising sophomore class if we do not find ways to address this issue in the coming year.

MV: If anything, what do you want to see changed about the VSA?

SO: To be honest... Less tensions within the VSA itself. I think there is potential to do great work next year. If elected, I will encourage "UNITY" among our representatives. Why the divide between Exec and BOP?  How is that productive?

MV: Describe your platform in 140 characters.

SO: Getting students involved in:
-generating practical alternatives to the realities we face
-revising policies so that VSA addresses the fluctuating needs of the student body 
-putting alumni directly in conversation with current Vassar students
-helping the Dean of the College division "reckon" with the realities of a diverse campus

MV: Ok, now you can elaborate...

SO: There is something about that mission statement that seems so ideal, so unattainable. I think students should read and figure out if Vassar is living up to those standards. We are here for four years and these four years should be like "mindsex." 

MV: What is your favorite Vassar memory or moment?

SO: April 16th: This was a 12-hr day for me. It included: getting advice from Alumni during the On to the Next One conference, drinking Tree City Coffee and attending the Souls With Voices event. That will be a favorite memory of mine because four important elements came together that day: The generations before us, independent business venture, spoken art, prospective students. Given the fact that April 16th, 2011 is the 4th anniversary of the VTech Shootings, this was a very "uplifting" way to spend the day.   

MV: Anything you want to add?

SO: On PAR! ON PAR! ....(pause)... ON PAR?

I guess I just want to add that I do hope students read this.
I know Vassar students are not necessarily apathetic. I think we just have other priorities and VSA doesn't really seem relevant but it is. The VSA is implicated in almost everything we do on this campus and if it isn't, it can be. I am passionate and passion isn't afraid to demand, facilitate, apologize, revise, move on, and rejoice. Most importantly, passion isn't afraid to work for what is believes in. I believe in Vassar. I believe in my peers and I think we deserve better. To be honest,  I'm scared. I'm scared that I will spend another year watching all the resources VSA has access to, stay in that little bubble on the second floor of Main. But you know what, I'm glad I'm running because I ran my mouth for a while, criticizing left and right, but I think it is time to put my words to action: show what I mean by... Practical Alternatives and Revisions. Vote ONga.

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