April 30, 2011

Quote Of The Day

"This one event has paid me for every cent I have spent for the college."

- A tearful Matthew Vassar on the first ever Founder's Day on April 26, 1866. According to the V-Encyclopedia, the first event included piano solos, lectures, and poetry readings. My have times changed.

April 29, 2011

Meet Mrs. Vassar

[FLLAC]
This morning, in honor of Matthew Vassar's birthday we brought you a few facts about his life that you might not have known. What we didn't mention is his marriage to Catherine Vassar, who is largely unknown to most Vassar students also.

From the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center's blog:

"Little is known about Catherine Valentine Vassar, Matthew Vassar’s wife of fifty years. Mr. Vassar himself only mentions her twice in his diary...Unfortunately, Mrs. Vassar passed away in 1863 “after a lingering illness which she bore with great meekness and fortitude” so she never saw Vassar College completed. We are left to wonder about this woman and what she thought of her husband’s mission to found a female college."

Today Is Matthew Vassar's 219th Birthday

Today is Matthew Vassar's 219th birthday. In honor of our dear founder, without whom all of our lives would be much different, here are some fun facts about his life that you might not know:
  • He was born in England
  • He ran away at the age of 14 to become a brewer
  • His brewery was very successful and may have been the first to receive nationwide distribution to every state
  • He died in the middle of giving his farewell speech to the Board of Trustees

From an old Vassar song, "And so you see, to old V.C. / Our love shall never fail / Full well we know that all we owe / To Matthew Vassar's ale."

This Weekend On Campus...Brewers Edition

The Royal Wedding might be happening on the other side of the ocean, but this weekend is FOUNDER'S DAY, the biggest event ever. There will be carnival rides, games, outdoor film screenings, fireworks, concerts, local food vendors, and lots and lots of beer. It's the last weekend before classes end; let's raise our steins to Matthew Vassar for giving us this opportunity to party.

(P.S. Most people don't know this, but "Mads" is the Danish form of Matthew. Hence Mads Vassar.)

Friday
Artist in Residence's White Flags Reception, 2:30pm Chapel Lawn (Rain: Loeb)
Matthew's Follies, 6pm Martel (Drama & Film Bldg)

Saturday
FOUNDER'S DAY:
10:00AM: Fun Run, Ballantine Field
11:00 AM: Field opens (rides & games, music, vendors begin)
11:00 - 2:00: Kids' Hours
1:00: Cappy's toast, Beer truck opens
1:15: Buses leave from Ballantine for visit to Matthew Vassar's grave and Colton Johnson tour
5:00 Field closes - BBQ by Walker
9:00: Fireworks over Sunset Lake
9:15: Outdoor screening of "Sentimental Journey," Sunset Lake
9:30: Outdoor screening of "Mary Poppins," Sunset Lake

Music schedule:
11:00 AM: Body Electric (students)
11:40: The Chris O'Leary Band (alumna)
12:20: Waffle Stompers
1:10: Movement (students)
1:50: DJ Respire (alumnus)
2:50: DJ Ayres (alumnus)
4:00 TORO Y MOI

One Two Six Oh Four's Dream Comes True

Back in April after the AAVC put Meryl Streep in Matthew Vassar drag and stuck her in that famous portrait, campus blogger One Two Six Oh Four made a cartoon of herself as Matthew on an imagined Vassar homepage. She wrote, "This isn’t real, but it would make my day/semester/entire college career if it were."


Well today we opened up the Vassar homepage and there it was! Looks like someone's dream came true. It's even got the stolen kiwi bird that now only half of Vassar students will remember.

It's been a pretty good week for One Two Six Oh Four. Not only is the cartoon on the Vassar homepage, but the blog also got a significant mention in Dean Chenette's Convocation speech.

April 27, 2011

More Hate Graffiti On Campus

Following yesterday's story about a swastika found on a bench near Blodgett, a tipster just sent in these photographs of graffiti in the Town Houses. Someone wrote in black marker on an emergency blue light, "EMERGENCYs are gay." We're told that this has been there since at least the beginning of the semester.

Cappy Possibly Alludes To Alumna Scandal In Speech

In her speech for today's Convocation ceremony, Cappy may have alluded to the Colorado mayor scandal from last month in which Susan Osborne claimed to be a Vassar alumna even though she never graduated. The AAVC defended her, stating that anyone who attended Vassar can be considered an alumna or alumnus, although the original whistleblower disagreed.


In her speech, Cappy took the position of the AAVC in stating that anyone who matriculates is an alumnus or alumna, not just those who actually graduate.

P.S. Speaking of Convocation, thanks to now former VSA President Mat Leonard '11 for mentioning Mads in his speech!

The Numbers Are In For The VSA Elections

The statistics are in for the VSA Elections, the results of which were announced on Sunday at midnight. Below are some notable numbers.
  • Tanay Tatum won the VSA presidency by 890 votes (1,009 voted yes, 119 voted no).
  • Presidential candidates for the senior class each got 155 votes.
  • Lathrop president won by a single vote.
  • Lathrop sophomore reps each got 24 votes.
  • 43.7% of the student body voted (1,128 of 2,589).

April 26, 2011

Have Your Photos Exhibited In Palmer Gallery

Through the Student Lens, an upcoming exhibition in the Palmer Gallery, is seeking student photographs. The deadline to submit is May 2nd. Click on the image below to enlarge and see more information.

Third Semiannual Hugathon This Week

Here is a message from the Jhamaste Club about their third semiannual Hugathon.

"Jhamtse Club will be having its third semiannual Hugathon this week from 10am Wednesday morning through 4pm Thursday afternoon. We'll be in the College Center all 30 hours, so swing by whatever the time of the day or night. We'll also be selling baked goods and taking donations to raise money for Jhamtse Gatsal school in India (but hugs are free, and unlimited!). We also definitely encourage everyone to adopt the role of rogue hugger, to whatever extent you please, if you see friends or acquaintances or enemies or wompwomps around campus. Have a wonderful day =)"

VSA Elections Sponsored By Sprint

Security Finds Swastika Graffiti On Bench

In an all-campus email sent moments ago, Cappy informed students that last Friday a Safety & Security officer found swastika graffiti on a bench near Blodgett.

"This kind of graffiti is anti-Semitic in nature, offensive, and intolerable within our community," Cappy wrote. "The strength of our community demands that we respect the diverse beliefs and traditions our students, faculty, and staff value.  To step away from that respect in any way diminishes the community for everyone."

This is not the first scandal involving a hate symbol on campus. In Fall 2008, the ALANA center sign was vandalized. In October 2007, a miniature noose was found in Jewett.

Predictably, Tanay Tatum Will Be Next VSA President

[VSA website]
Ever since Julia "Bug Doctor" Eicher '11 dropped out of the race for VSA President, it was pretty clear that Tanay Tatum '12 would win unless people really, really didn't like her.

According to the Elections Committee at tonight's results party, Tatum won with more votes than any other VSA presidential candidate ever. That begs the question - has a candidate ever run unopposed in that position?

Tatum did not respond to our request for an interview.

Senior Class Presidential Election Results In Tie

[AskBanner]
[AskBanner]
 One of the more dramatic results announced tonight is that the Senior Class presidential race resulted in a tie between Zan Schmidt '12 and Pam Vogel '12. The decision will be made in a vote at this Sunday's VSA Council meeting.

The sophomore representative position for Lathrop also resulted in a tie.

Zan was spotted after the results party in good spirits, but expressed to a friend disappointment that the process would be prolonged. 

April 25, 2011

*Live-Blogging The VSA Election Results Party*

For the second year, we'll be live-blogging the VSA Election Results party in the Retreat. Keep refreshing the page for the latest results! You can also see the results unfolding on our Twitter page. Scroll down for latest update!


We apologize in advance in a name is misspelled or we left out a position. We did the best we could!

11:56 p.m. Here we go, people! The Retreat is filling up quickly with candidates, friends, and gawkers.

11:58 Spotted: Current VSA President Mat Leonard '11, candidate for Jewett president Clayton Masterman '13, VSA VP candidate Charlie Dobb '12.

12:00 Candidate Matt Wheeler '12 also here. VSA Exec. Board is gathering with the Elections Committee.


12:01 Leonard speaking, flanked by elections committee.

12:02 Aaron Grober '11 speaking about All School Gift.

12:03 The results are beginning:

Campus Investor Resp. Com. Travis Edwards, Kelly Shortridge. CCL: Madeline Zappala, Jon Lee, Rebecca Bower. Food: Rachel Kate Ringo Shore. Master Planning. Carlos, Amanda Wiggum, Lindsey Haggerdy. Sustain: Tess Dernbak

12:05 Com on Inclu and Excellence: Michael Hedridge. Advisory: Meg Levine. Aid: Cassidy Hollinger, Lauren McKlane, Seth Werner.

Judicial board....

Cushing:
Treasurer - Vera Lee
Secretary - Thomas Hochla
Vice President - Lilian Doyle
President - Daniel Shaw

12:08 Noyes:
Treasurer - Lizzie Tepler
Secretary - Olivia McGiff
Vice President - Kelly Harrington
President - Debrorah Steinberg

12:09 Joss
Treasurer -  Matthew Choe
Secretary - Alexander Gros
Vice President - James Quigg
President - Michael Kiel

12:10 Jewett
Treasurer - Claire Grosel
Secretary - Sarah Warmbein
Vice President - Kiet Phun
President - Clayton Masterman

12:10 Raymond - President Sam Brucker

12:11 Davison -
Secretary - Emma Daniels
Vice President - Sarah Spitz
President - Doug Gree

12:12 Strong - President Manning Wu

Lathrop:  TIE for sophomore rep (Aoife Feighery, Erina Kii). Leonard clarifying process for ties.
 Treasurer - Connor Martini
Secretary - Nicolette Harley
Vice President - Robbie Trocchia
President - Dallas Robinson

Main:
Treasurer - Isabelle Zee
Secretary - Kim Benenhaley
Vice President - Jack Mullan
President - Sienna Brown

THs:  Jon Wood, Daryl Duran, president Alejandro Montoya

TAs: Lauren Maclean, Carolina Iosso, April Cha president.

SoCos: president Matt Wheeler

2014 president Michael Moore

2013:
Treasurer -Amy Corenswet
Secretary- John Lee
Vice President -Amanda Crommett
President- Vincent Marchetta

2012 Gabriel Kelly-Ramirez treas, VP Raymon Azcona, President tie! Zan Schmidt and Pam Vogel

EXEC BOARD:
VP for Finance - Jason Rubin
VP Activities - Michael Thottam
VP Academics - Kate Dolson
VP for Operations - Jenna Konstantine...tears!
VP for Student Life - Charlie Dobb
President - TANAY TATUM - received highest number of votes in history of VSA.

Live Blogging The Election Results Tonight

As we've done in years past, tonight we'll be live blogging the VSA election results party. Check the blog and our Twitter page at midnight!

And if you still need help making your decisions, check out our interviews with the candidates for VSA Executive Board. Voting ends in one hour.

April 24, 2011

Celeb Sighting At Of Montreal...SNL's Nasim Pedrad

[LA Times]
Multiple sources have told us that Saturday Night Live's Nasim Pedrad was in attendance at last night's of Montreal concert.

The Knocks Played Beer Pong After Performing

An hour after their performance last night, The Knocks tweeted a picture of themselves playing beer pong in the green room and the message, "Beer pong backstage is a first. Vassar College rage tonight."

[Twitter]
For the record, ViCE doesn't provide alcohol for their performers, and it was the performers who released the picture.

Your Complete Of Montreal Round-Up

The annual Spring Concert was last night and while it's tough to beat last year's Flaming Lips at the Civic Center, last night's event was the first of its kind. The Knocks and of Montreal performed in Walker, which hasn't been used as a concert venue since 2007. Ticket prices were rather steep, but concertgoers got a lot of bang for their buck, including freebies like slap bracelets. ViCE estimates that over 1,000 people were in attendance, including a fair share of non-Vassar students.


The Knocks opened at 10:15 p.m. and got the crowd going with a combination of original music and mash-up remixes, to which they added live instrumentation. By the time of Montreal took the stage, the venue was completely full. While the group had lots of costumes and props on stage, students took the opportunity to dress up also.


 Backstage, both groups had some interesting warm up activities. Three guys from of Montreal tried unsuccessfully to jump rope, while the guys from the Knocks sang some of Britney Spears "Til the World Ends."

Students may have been surprised by the strong presence of an outside security team. After several events in the past few years of Vassar Safety and Security being unable to control the crowds at large-scale events like this one, ViCE hired outside security for the first time in at least four years. While some students may have been annoyed at the wands and bag checks at the venue entrance, the additional security took the pressure off of Vassar's employees, who took on roles like watching the backdoors, and also off of the student volunteers.



Off-stage, the event was relatively drama free. An ambulance and two police cars were called for one student who refused to be searched upon entrance. There was at least one EMS incident in the venue. At one point, EMS had to treat Alejandro Calcano '11, the event's organizer, after he was hit in the head with a water cooler. (Don't worry he was fine and even smiled for the cameras.)

Sexual Assault Awareness Week Starts Tomorrow

[via]
This week is Sexual Assault Awareness Week and CARES and SAVP are sponsoring events. "Join us in taking action to end all sexual violence," the schedule states.

Monday, April 25 
-Celebrating the White Ribbon Campaign: come pledge to end violence against women! 
-Pick up your 1-in-4 and 1-in-7 shirts to be worn on Thursday in the College Center 
-SpeakOut in the Mug (7:00-9:00): Join us as we reclaim the Mug as a safe space and talk about issues of interpersonal violence and personal violation. Snacks will be provided. 

Tuesday, April 26 
-Pick up your 1-in-4 and 1-in-7 shirts to be worn on Thursday in the Retreat 
-Screening of Rape on the Reservation, followed by discussion with Professor Molly McGlennen (8:00 in the 3rd Floor Main MPR). Snacks will be provided! 

Wednesday, April 27 
- Pick up your 1-in-4 and 1-in-7 shirts to be worn on Thursday in the College Center 
-Lecture by Michael Kimmel ’72 (7:30 in Rocky 300): Mr. Kimmel is the author of Guyland and will be speaking about masculinity in young men and rape culture. 

Thursday, April 28 
-Wear your 1-in-4 and 1-in-7 shirts to raise awareness about sexual assault! You can still pick up shirts at our table in the College Center. 

Friday, April 29 
-Come to our table in the Retreat to return your shirts, do some interactive activities, and get candy! Shirts can be returned on Monday also.

Voting Is Open! Read Our Interviews

Voting is underway for this semester's VSA elections.

Be sure to check out our interviews with eight of the ten candidates for VSA Executive Board. (We extended the interview invitation to all candidates. For the first time in three years, a presidential candidate did not respond to our invitation.)

In case you missed them, click below to see the interviews:

Vice President for Student Life:
Sharon Onga '13
Charlie Dobb '12

Vice President for Operations:
Jenna Konstantine '13
Michael Mestitz 12

Vice President for Academics:
Kate Dolson '13
Mariah Minigan '13
Jordan Tower '13

Vice President for Finance:
Jason Rubin '13

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.

April 22, 2011

Meet The Candidates: Charlie Dobb '12

Here is our interview with Charlie Dobb '12, candidate for VSA Vice President for Student Life.
 
Mads Vassar: What experience qualifies you for the position? 
 
Charlie Dobb: In some ways, any student that’s been here a while is qualified to be the Vice President for Student Life. That’s because we all have the experience of being part of this campus and have ideas for improvement. What sets me apart is 3 years of experience in positions that have taught me how to take ideas and make them happen. I’ve been a CARES listener since my freshmen year, a position that makes me uniquely qualified to address the addition of the relationship abuse charge to the campus regulations (something I’ll talk more about below). In addition, I was a student fellow last year and this year I’m currently the student advisor for Jewett. After 2 years on house teams, I’m very familiar with critical elements of the VP for Student Life’s job including the residential life experience, student leader training, and freshman orientation and I’ve become very familiar with the administrative resources I’d be working closely with.

MV: What campus issue matters most to you?

CD: If I had to pick just one, I’d say the addition of a relationship abuse charge to the college regulations. Relationship abuse is happening on this campus, and on college campuses across the country. Right now, by prosecuting these situations as “disturbances” or other inadequate charges, the college is sending a message to individuals affected by all kinds of inter-personal violence on this campus that their issues aren’t serious or don’t warrant specific charges with severe consequences. I know that policy isn’t reflective of the concern and compassion most students on this campus feel. This year, we came very close to getting this charge on the books. The administration is not convinced this is something students are passionate about. I’m confident we can prove them wrong and get this regulation passed in the coming year. 

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

CD: Right now, the attitude on the VSA is “we’re available, our meetings are open, come talk to us.” It’s a step towards transparency and inclusion, but it doesn’t seem to be working. That’s why I want to push the VSA to become more active in going out and collecting opinions. One specific idea I have is to create an Advisory Council on Inclusion, which would consist of the heads of all of the student life orgs, including, for example, ALANA, queer, and spiritual life orgs. This Council would convene regularly and provide input on VSA policy, as well as put forth its own agenda.

MV: Describe your platform in 140 characters.

CD: Student input on student life issues, starting with 4 major challenges: the meal plan, VSA restructuring, inclusion, and relationship abuse.

MV: Ok, now you can elaborate...

CD: I’ve said a lot above. There are just two more critical things in addition to the Advisory Council on Inclusion and the relationship abuse charge: the meal plan and VSA restructuring. Next year, Vassar’s contract with Aramark is finally up and open to real serious renegotiation. This means our opportunity to make real change in how we eat on this campus. I know that there are a lot of important student voices on this issue, including individuals with allergies, athletes, vegans, vegetarians, and student dedicated to eating locally and sustainably. I know these students are passionate enough to make their voices heard on the issue, and I intend to listen to them and every student on this campus through forums, surveys, and invitations to council and committee meetings.

The VSA restructuring is a very similar issue in a lot of ways. Students were angry this year because they didn’t get a say in changing the constitution. That mistake doesn’t need to be made again. Next year we can make positive changes in the VSA’s structure that emphasize an active, engaged, and diverse council, while getting at large input every step of the way. Students have shown they’re passionate, and it’s elected representatives’ job to listen.

MV: What is your favorite Vassar memory or moment?

CD: If I had to pick just one, probably Founder’s Day freshman year. It’s just one of those many moments when you stop, take a look around campus, and ask “do I really go here?” You just instantly realize how incredible Vassar is. I think that really summarized my freshmen year, just a series of events that impressed on me every day how unique and amazing this campus is!

MV: Anything you want to add?

CD: I’ve covered a lot. But I think I’ve made my main point pretty clear: I want to here from you! If you have anything to add, send me an e-mail at chdobb[at]vassar.edu

Full Founder's Day Schedule Now Online

Sure, this weekend has some pretty big events, but next weekend is Founder's Day! The event organizers just posted a Facebook event with the full schedule for the day, including the music lineup.

Ballantine field will open at 11 a.m. with rides, games, music, and food vendors. Beer starts at 1pm. Everything goes until 5pm, when the field closes and the BBQ starts in front of Walker. The festivities continue at 9 p.m. with fireworks over Sunset Lake and outdoor screenings of Vassar's "Sentimental Journey" and Mary Poppins.

As we previously posted, the much buzzed about Toro y Moi will be headlining. There will also be performances by the Body Electric and Movement, two student groups, as well as DJ Respire and DJ Ayres (both alumni) and more.

Check it out here.

P.S. In the five minutes it took us to write this post, the list of attendees went from 3 to 84.

ACT OUT! Presents InQUEERies Into Activism

Here is a message from ACT OUT! about their conference tomorrow, InQUEERies into Activism.

"ACT OUT! is hosting our first intercollegiate conference during the morning and afternoon of Saturday, April 23rd (don't worry, you won't miss any Of Montreal!). There will be a series of lectures and workshops that focus on issues related to the LGBTQ community.

You can attend for the whole day, or come to only one or two events... Whatever works best with your schedule or fits your interests. FREE lunch will be provided.

10:00-10:30 - Conference registration starts

10:30-11:00 - Icebreakers, introductions, and a general overview of the conference schedule

11:00-12:00 Victoria Ferrara speaks followed by an question and answer session. Victoria Ferrara is a lawyer who deals largely with legal issues affecting the LGBTQ community. You can find out more information here: http://www.victoriaferrara.com/

12:00-1:00 Lunch - We will be providing lunch for free with vegetarian and vegan options.

Workshops will take place on a rotating basis:
1:00-1:45 - 1st Workshop
1:45-2:30 - 2nd Workshop
2:30-3:15 - 3rd Workshop

Workshops:
- Beyond the L and G: Talking about Identity, Labels, and Community
- The Future of the LGBTQ Movement: radicalization vs. assimilation
- Strategies For Activism: Brainstorming strategies for direct action

3:15 - 3:40 - Break

3:40 - Nick Cooney speaks followed by a question and answer session. Nick Cooney is the founder of two non-profits and an author. He speaks to college activists about how they can be more effective at creating the change they want to see on their campus and in the world.

5:00 - End"

Meet The Candidates: Jenna Konstantine '13

Here is our interview with Jenna Konstantine '13, candidate for VSA Vice President for Operations.

Mads Vassar: What experience qualifies you for the position?

[AskBanner]
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.

This Weekend On Campus...Music And More Edition

[Flickr]
Unless you're living under a rock (or in Noyes) then you know that this is a big weekend for music. Tonight, the annual Throwback jam is bringing legendary Slick Rick and tomorrow is of course is of Montreal. But there are other big events too, like the annual Relay for Life. Here is our weekly list of everything worth checking out. Email madsvassar[at]gmail.com for publicity. (Just kidding, Noyes!)

Friday
Earth Day Celebration, 2pm Noyes Circle
Throwback Jam, 5pm Res Quad
FlyPeople Final Show, 8pm Kenyon
VSBU Singer-Songwriter Showcase, 8:30pm CC MPR

Saturday
Relay for Life, 10am Noyes Circle
InQUEERies into Activism, 10am CC MPR
Of Montreal with the Knocks, 9pm Walker

April 21, 2011

It's Confirmed: CCL Wants Party Kegs Gone

Within minutes of posting an email from a concerned student regarding the possible banning of kegs on campus, a rep for the Committee for College Life confirmed that the group is in fact looking into a proposal that will disallow students from having kegs at registered parties.

[Flickr]
The rep says the committee has already drafted language for the proposal. Again, this will not affect kegs at campus events, just those listed as alcohol for registered student parties.

"Apparently Vassar is one of the only schools that still 'allows' students to have kegs," the rep exclusively tells Mads. "There's some concern that having ResLife approve students to serve alcohol from a common container opens the school up to a lot of liability."

In fact, the proposal will also include the ban of punch bowls and other communal drinks.

Dean Roellke, who has been vocal this year against the current level of alcohol use on campus, is chair of the committee.

Update: We just spoke to Dean Roellke who clarified that 22 people will be voting on the proposal, ten faculty members/administration, twelve students. 60% need to vote yes in order for it to pass. Roellke says this recommendation came from the drug and alcohol education sub-committee of CCL and has been a long standing recommendation. "As in all cases of college regulations, we proceed through shared governance and student input is highly important in this process," he says.

Meet The Candidates: Jordan Tower '13

Next up is Jordan Tower '13, running for VSA Vice President for Academics.

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

Jordan Tower: Although I do not have experience on VSA council, I love getting things done and feeling like I've actually made a difference. This is especially true when I am not just representing myself. If I'm elected and can accomplish something major (e.g. lab credit), I will be able to see how happy it will make the student body, and that is amazing to me. I believe that this drive qualifies me for the position; if I don't know how to do something, I will figure it out and make it happen.

MV: What campus issue matters most to you?

JT: The most important issues to me are those that are mentioned in my candidate statement: lab credit and course offerings. I am a biology major, and I am currently taking orgo, so I understand all of the work that goes into a lab. Lab classes require 2.6 times the class hours of a lecture class; it just doesn't seem right that they equal the same amount of credit. I also feel that drama students should get more than a half credit for being in a show. I see my friends going off to rehearsal 4 hours per night for weeks, and I truly believe they deserve a full credit for all the work that they do. Another important issue is the consistency of course offerings from year to year. I admittedly do not know how the system works for when classes will be offered and when they will not. However, I do know that whenever pre-registration rolls around, I hear people complaining that they wanted (or needed) to take a certain class, and it is not offered the next semester. This completely throws off planning, especially for people who are going abroad and planned around when they would be away. I do not yet know how this situation can be fixed, but I believe it needs to be.

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

JT: The main thing that I would like to see changed about VSA council is its relationship with the student body. I also mention this in my candidate statement, that there is an "us and them" mentality surrounding council. I think this is awful, considering council is supposed to represent the student body. I think that we need to improve communication so that the student body feels like council is a group of people representing the entire student body, with its interests at heart. In my statement I proposed regular town hall events in the dorms to discuss what is going on in the VSA and allow people to ask questions.

MV: Describe your platform in 140 characters.

JT: Lab credit. Transparency. Consistency. Representation. Communication. Feeling of community. Honesty. Student body input. Crazy fun times forever. Happy Vassar

MV: Ok, now you can elaborate...

JT: I essentially just want to make people feel more satisfied with the Vassar experience in general. If there is a problem, I want to fix it.

MV: What is your favorite Vassar memory or moment?

JT: My favorite memory is getting ready for Halloween last year. A group of friends and I were Stepford wives. I'm not big on the whole makeup thing, so my friend, Cass Hollinger, was doing my makeup for me. My top eyelid tends to freak out and twitch a lot when someone puts eyeliner on me. Hilarity ensued. (see attached picture)

MV: What is your favorite Vassar memory or moment?

JT: I'm actually super shy, so this campaign is terrifying. I think that fact really indicates how important this is to me. I overcome my shyness for things that really matter, and this is one of those things.

Sent In By You: Is Vassar Banning Kegs?

Every now and then we'll get an email from a concerned student about a campus issue. We just heard from a senior who believes that the Committee for College Life is looking into the possibility of banning kegs from campus. Here is what the student has to say:

"It's come to my attention from more than one student member of CCL that a proposal was put on the table recently and is coming to a vote soon about banning kegs from campus. (Students would be unable to register parties with kegs.) Obviously there are a lot of safety implications that the administration is completely ignoring accompanying this decision. Underclassmen would pregame harder in the dorms, there would be more open bucket liquor drinks like jungle juice, etc. One of the reasons the administration is citing is that kegs allow students to walk around with open containers which could be dangerous with lacing drinks. Should we ban kegs god forbid someone could lace the entire drink supply of a gin bucket or whatever it is. Also dipping a cup in an open bucket takes a lot less time than filling up drinks at a keg meaning students will have more access to the drink supply at quicker intervals and compounding that with the strength of the drink it's a recipe for disaster.

There will be an online vote for members of CCL and there are more faculty voting to begin with, not to mention the two VSA exeutive board members who are on board with this. CCL has made it an online vote so everyone feels 'comfortable,' which is code for 'so students can vote for it without other students knowing.' They keep citing all these 'empirical studies,' but those are not conducted using schools or students similar to ourselves and we are not frat brothers at West Virginia, so I'm at a loss as to how that data applies to us or informs decisions about how to handle us. This is all being kept very hush hush from the students and we want them to know."

We have an email in to a rep for CCL to find out what's going on. Stay tuned.

April 20, 2011

Meet The Candidates: Kate Dolson '13

Our fourth interview with with Kate Dolson '13, candidate for VSA Vice President for Academics.

Mads Vassar: What experience qualifies you for the position?

[Facebook]
Kate Dolson: Over the past year, I have sat on VSA council as Ferry Haus Rep and, within the VSA, I have served on Academics and Finance committees. Externally, I have sat on CLRG (Campus Life Resource Group) as the VSA representative. This is a committee headed by administration which puts on All College Day as well as multiple conversation dinners throughout the year, working to cultivate a space where all members of the Vassar community (students, faculty, administration, and staff) feel welcome and safe discussing issues on campus. This has to be one of the most interesting committees I have had the fortune to sit on, full of the most amazing people (seriously, next year people should check it out, it is open to the entire campus and has been one of the most fulfilling things I have done at Vassar). Basically, I know the issues, I have experience working with administration, but more than that, I am passionate about this position and really think I could improve the academic experience at Vassar.

MV: What campus issue matters most to you?

KD: If you have read my campaign statement, you have seen the huge list of things I would like to do, and it is hard to pick out one issue that matters most. If I had to say, the issue I would like to focus on would be increasing accessibility for students with disabilities in Academics. It is something that needs a lot of work, but, with that dedicated effort, could really show positive change in the upcoming year.

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


KD: With the recent referendum, this is a bit of a throw away question. It is clear that the VSA needs to be more transparent and inclusive, but how can this happen? I, personally, would like to see the discussions about restructuring continue, but within the entire student body. It is imperative that next year's VSA ask you all as Vassar students what you want your student government to look like and create the forums to have these discussions.

MV: Describe your platform in 140 characters.

KD: I could talk about lab credits or preprofessional advising, but more importantly, I want to promote greater student input in shaping the agenda of both myself and the VSA. (I am three characters over, please don't sue me!)

MV: Ok, now you can elaborate...

KD: Academics is why we are all here, and so it is key that the student voice be represented. That is the whole purpose of this position, and so it would be unfair you all if I were to focus solely on issues which interested and effected me as an individual student. So while I do want to work on issues such as:
* improving accessibility for students with disabilities
* getting credits for labs
* researching the possibility of a social consciousness requirement
* develop a better pre-professional advising department

I would want to make sure I was focusing on the things that students were concerned about. This is something I feel really passionate about and would be willing to make this position as open and transparent as possible to encourage this communication.

MV: What is your favorite Vassar memory or moment?

KD: So this might sound a little corny, and perhaps it is, but my favorite Vassar moment was coming back to school this year. Move-in day freshman year was not the idyllic first day portrayed in all the movies; the weather was too hot, my room was a mess of boxes and bags, and my mom cried. This year (I am a sophomore), I saw Main gate and it was as if I was coming home.
 
MV: Anything you want to add?

KD: Something more I would like to add? I am a Greek and Roman Studies major with a passion for dead languages. I love to cook and baking goodies is my go-to method of procrastination. I am a leo with green eyes and (dyed!) blond hair. I am really rather friendly (except when I am stressing out about dead languages) so feel free to talk to me if you have any questions or email me at kadolson[at]vassar.edu. Thank you for your time, and remember to vote!

Events To Get You Through The Day (4/20)

Here is a list of some conveniently scheduled events to get you through the day. You know, April 20th.

The Daisy Chain and African Violets Spring Auction. The event description mentions "more baked goods than you can possible handle." 5:30pm, Retreat.

Around the World: Africa. Eat free food and talk about how you feel about the world. 3:30pm, Rose Parlor.

VSBU Presents Electric-Paisley-Blacklight-Dayglo-Garden Show. If the event title alone doesn't stimulate you, the blacklights, lightshow, or psychedelic music will. 8:30pm, Mug.

Update: Is it only a coincidence that Luis Inoa just sent out an all-campus email reminding students of the smoking policy?

Davison Presents "Chill On The Hill"

Join Davison House tomorrow (Thursday) at 5:30pm on Graduation Hill for Chill on the Hill. The event will feature the jazz ensemble, Sol and The Body Electric and a free Mediterranean dinner will be provided. "It will be a great opportunity to lay out on the hill and watch the sunset with friends," one of the event organizers tells Mads.

More info here.

Meet The Candidates: Mariah Minigan '13

Our third interview is with Mariah Minigan '13, who is running for VSA Vice President for Academics. She is the current Jewett House President.

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

Mariah Minigan: I've been the president of Jewett this year, which is an experience that I've absolutely loved. Working with a house team has been incredibly rewarding in and of itself, but my presidency also brought me into our student government in a way I never expected to be involved. I was totally captivated by it. I joined every committee I could and never missed a meeting. I'm currently on the Academics, Operations, and Finance committees (which are all internal VSA committees) as well as the Library committee, where I am one of two student reps along with Laura, the current VP for Academics. As a result of this, I have a lot of experience working both within VSA Council and with faculty and administrators in the pursuit of student interests. On the Academics committee, I've been a part of event-planning and the student seminar selection process. On the Library committee, I have pushed for an extension of the loan period for both feature films and documentaries, as well as browsable shelving of our DVD/film collection. On the Academics end, I'm very academically invested. I'm a philosophy major and I'm reviving the majors committee in my department. I want to be a teacher or possibly a college librarian when I'm older. Academics are and have always been a huge part of my life. I also understand what it's like to be a student with other time-consuming commitments. Being Jewett president this year has of course been hugely demanding, but I've also stage managed and production managed a number of student theater shows over the past two years. I am in the position of many Vassar student; juggling a hefty academic workload along with a handful of extracurriculars.

MV: What campus issue matters most to you?


MM: I've been thinking a lot lately about the apathy issue, but as Jason has already addressed that, I have to say that another major problem is the accessibility of existing resources for students. What I mean is that there are an enormous number of resources that all students technically have available to them that have not been used or can not be used because they have not been made accessible. Much of this is the result, I think, of a VSA that can always work to be more transparent. For example, almost all of the internal committees of the VSA are and should be open to the entire student body, but no one knows when or where they happen because the VSA never publicizes it. Similarly, the VSA website page of organization meeting times is in a state of disarray. Peer advising is another resource with huge potential, but its recency means that many people don't know about it yet. As VP for Academics, I would work to change that. I also see a lot of potential in the majors committees. As it stands, many departments don't have them, but those that do could be using them as a way to bring department issues to light--some already are. Majors committees also have a number of privileges, all of which are described in the faculty handbook. It doesn't make sense for us as students not to make the most of that opportunity.

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


MM: I want to see more involvement from students who are not members of VSA Council. I see structural change as a part of this process, and I see this process as a part of structural change. This year, there were a few very committed students who stepped up and participated in the effort to change the structure of our student government. However, the process was ultimately limited to the people who were already student leaders in a way that was clearly unfair to the student body as a whole. I think that some of the changes had merit, but the process was all wrong. One of the goals of the changes was actually to get more student involvement with the VSA, by turning VSA Council into an issue-driven body. The idea had been that if Council was made up of people who ran on issues, other students who had a passion for those same issues would be able to be a part of Council's initiatives. I hope that as the conversation about structural change continues next year, it will include multiple town halls and meetings that involve not just VSA Council members or members of VSA Exec, but also any and all interested students.

MV: Describe your platform in 140 characters.

MM: I want to create a system for mediation between faculty and students, utilize majors committees, and work together to make a better VSA.

MV: Ok, now you can elaborate...

MM: Something that I've noticed in my academic experience, in the stories my friends tell me and now, as I'm campaigning, from people I've just met, is that students and faculty are often not on the same page. We want to get grades back in each of our classes before the NRO deadline, but may not get a single one until weeks later. We want to use our study period to study, but we end up with classes scheduled in the middle of it. When things like this happen, we have no choice but to either confront the teacher (and risk a strange or hostile interaction that we feel could impact our grade) or to just cope. I want to develop a system for mediation between faculty and students when issues like these come up. There should be a single person we can turn to who can handle these problems delicately and clear up miscommunications between faculty and students, or enforce policy set forth in the faculty handbook. This position exists at many larger instituions, and it seems clear to me from the sheer volume of concerns like these that exist that we need one, too.

As I discuss in my candidate statement, I would also want to create a committee made up of representatives from each of the majors committees. This committee would meet several times each year with the VP for Academics. Students would be able to bring their academic concerns to the majors committees, who would in turn bring them to this larger body. The VP for Academics would then be able to work with the faculty and administration to effect change in the relevant departments or divisions. Majors committees are supposed to have the power to help choose faculty and to bring the majors closer together. I think they also deserve the power to be a part of making changes to Vassar's academics as a whole.

As I discussed before, I think many of us can see that VSA needs change. I agree wholeheartedly, and while I am committed to being a part of this change myself, I also want every student to have the opportunity to be as much a part of this process as any member of VSA Council.

Something else that I'm passionate about is accessibility in the classroom. As a someone with a relatively significant hearing loss, I'm aware from personal experience of the difference it makes when a professor goes beyond a simple lecture and uses multiple methods of conveying information. There have already been efforts to prioritize accessibility in this way, and I would work to discover how the needs of students both with and without disabilities could be better met in the classroom. I have met with the president of ACCESS, a new student group, to discuss these issues and begin the proces of figuring out exactly what can and should be done. I would, if elected, continue to meet with the students and faculty who have already begun working to solve the many problems present in this area.

There are a number of other things that the VP for Academics will inevitably address, such as pushing to finally get credit for labs, continuing to run student seminars, and promoting peer advising. As VP for Academics, I would of course work to ensure the success of all of these initiates, as well as any that come up as students come forward with more concerns about our academics. I would be committed to doing whatever it takes to address these issues and to overcome any challenges they pose.

MV: What is your favorite Vassar memory or moment?

MM: Wow. It's really hard to pick just one. I think I'll side with Jason and say freshman move-in this year, but I think I actually liked the night and morning right before everyone got here the best. My house team and I were all so excited and all so close, and we had been working for so long to make that day perfect. All the last minute decorations, buying umbrellas in case it rained, putting out coffee and muffins for the parents and generally freaking out together because we were so excited to welcome them in to our home; that was awesome. I had never been more excited about my house team and about my house than I was at that moment.

MV: Anything you want to add?

MM: I'm completely prepared to throw everything I have into this position, if I'm elected. I want to work as hard as I possibly can to make next year's VSA Council do what the students want it to do, and be what the students want it to be. My experience on Council this past year means that I know how to get things done, and I will be absolutely committed to representing the needs of all students both in our academics and in our governance. Please email me at maminigan[at]vassar.edu with any questions or comments!

April 19, 2011

Meet The Candidates: Jason Rubin '13

Our second candidate interview is with Jason Rubin '13, who is running for VSA Vice President for Finance. He's running unopposed, but it's still important to stay in the know!

Mads Vassar: What experience qualifies you for the position?

[AskBanner]
Jason Rubin: I have been a treasurer since shortly after arriving on campus- my freshman year for the class of 2013 and this past year for Lathrop house. Both of these experiences have been valuable to me but in very different ways. Freshman year I learned what being a treasurer really entailed and the ins and outs of navigating the Vassar finance department. Coming into sophomore year with this understanding allowed me to widen my perspective. I was able to determine which areas I thought worked and which areas were in need of improvement. If elected, I plan on working towards these improvements to make the job of treasurer as easy as possible.

MV: What campus issue matters most to you?

JR: This has been discussed at length, particularly this year, but I am going to have to say campus apathy. This extends beyond VSA apathy and into the wider political and social context. This can be frustrating given the intelligence and competence of Vassar students. When students get behind an issue, they really can have an impact and it is a shame this does not happen more often. I think the VSA definitely has a role to play here. Students should be able to bring issues to council and receive support and assistance. Council exists to get behind the issues that matter most to students and to press the administration to do the same. It should be an efficient and accessible entity that will allow for this to happen and not an inefficient bureaucracy that students feel the need to work outside of.

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

JR: I want to leave the 2012-2013 council with a better VSA structure than the one we inherit and I firmly believe that next year is the year that this can happen. This year’s council laid the groundwork for this to occur, and if elected I plan on being a part of the effort to finish this process. However, this effort must extend beyond those who are elected to next year’s council. Student voice must be heard. Town Halls and open discussions must occur during which the question is posed to students: “What do you want your VSA to look like?” It is only through dialogue such as this that we will achieve the efficient, accessible, inclusive, and transparent VSA that we all deserve.

MV: Describe your platform in 140 characters.

JR: My platform consists of 5 focuses: Efficiency, Transparency, Quality over Quantity, Fundraising and Collaboration, and VSA Restructuring

MV: Ok, now you can elaborate...


JR: Efficiency is a little tricky as most of the finance structure is under administration control. However, if elected I plan on pushing to extend credit card privileges to organizations that would most benefit from them. In addition, I will explore alternatives to the current treasurer form system, such as online forms.

Transparency refers to both the position of VP for Finance and to VSA council as a whole. Fund levels should be public knowledge as it is a factor for organizations in determining which fund to select for their application. If elected I plan on posting this information on the VSA website and updating it weekly. In addition, I will look to make alterations to the capital and supplementary budgeting process. Currently, the finance committee makes determinations on applications to these funds without ever explaining to those who are rejected, why this occurred. While it is an unfortunate reality that some applications must be rejected, these applicants have a right to know why and if elected I plan on making sure this occurs. Finally, I will look to make VSA committees more transparent. Information as to what committees are working on and when they meet should be made more accessible.

Quality over Quantity and Fundraising and Collaboration go hand in hand. It is important the VSA encourages a fully booked campus activities calendar but at the same time it is important that the VSA encourage creative events that make a positive contribution to the campus and to student life. These two goals are certainly not mutually exclusive. The calendar felt overbooked at certain points this year. If elected, I plan on working with the VP for Activities to encourage organizations to collaborate in order to produce a creative and an enhanced event. My focus will be on quality events and creative collaborations rather than on having the most programming possible.

I discussed VSA restructuring above but just to reiterate, I think the process and the product are both extremely important. If elected I will work towards a process that is as transparent and accessible as I want our product to be.
MV: What is your favorite Vassar memory or moment?

JR: If I had to pick just one it would probably be move-in day, this past year. I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy it but it ended up being a ton of fun and a really rewarding experience. There’s so much spirit and excitement that day and it’s just really great to be a part of it. Training week is basically endless but seeing all of the freshmen arrive and how quickly they became a part of the spirit of Vassar and our dorm, really made it worthwhile for me.

MV: Anything you want to add?

JR: I think that covers it. I’m extremely excited about the prospect of being next year’s VP for Finance and bringing some real change to the VSA. Thanks for your support!

Meet The Candidates: Michael Mestitz '12

For the third year, we will be bringing you interviews with the candidates for VSA Executive Board. We've updated our questions from the previous years (2008, 2009) and have opened the interviews up to more positions so that students can have a better idea of who to vote for. Continue to check back to see more interviews as the voting period gets closer.

Our first interview is with Michael Mestitz '12 who is running for Vice President of Operations.

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

Michael Mestitz: I've been an participant in Vassar's committee structure, which gives me a sense of how our sometimes-arcane system works: I've sat on the Campus Master Planning Committee for two years, and the Committee on Inclusion and Excellence for two years, working with other students, faculty, and staff. I'm also one of the student co-chairs of the Sesquicentennial, and that experience working with the development office and all sorts of other college offices has really helped to familiarize me with the offices and people the VP for Operation works with in the course of his or her duties.

MV: What campus issue matters most to you?

MM: If I had to choose a single issue, I'd say I'm most concerned with student support at Vassar. Now, granted, that's a very broad issue-when I say "student support," I mean that it's important to me that ALL Vassar students feel as if they're supported, and that the college is their home. I'm a tour guide, so I genuinely want everyone to find a great experience here. As VP for Operations, a big part of my interest in students' belonging is how the VSA communicates to students, and draws interested students into a discussion of its weekly activity.

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

MM: Building on the above, I'd like to see more transparency and communication from the VSA. The "VSA Today" website is a great idea, but it's not updated that frequently; I would make sure that it has regular reports not just on VSA Exec's projects, but also from the various student committee representatives. I also want to make sure that students can get the information they want, without filling the inboxes of students who don't care about weekly agendas. It seems to me that some sort of weekly newsletter in an email list with additional information on VSA activities like committee schedules, polls, and minutes from the previous week's meeting would be an easy and effective solution.

MV: Describe your platform in 140 characters.

MM: My three main platform points are enhancing transparency in the VSA, education about the process, and efficiency in the work. I described the transparency part above: It goes hand-in-hand with education (making sure that the students who want to participate know how) and efficiency (making sure that when people participate, things actually happen).

MV: Ok, now you can elaborate...

MM: There are some projects I'm interested in undertaking in order to improve all three of these. For transparency, keeping the VSA website current and getting out information on meeting times and agendas, as well as what proposals the VSA is working on. The proposed restructuring this year was "unveiled" to students, and that more than anything else led to the ensuing chaos: With such large proposals, I firmly believe the best thing to do is involve the larger student body in the planning stages, and try to include as many voices as possible.

Education just takes a lot of work on the VPOP's part: Offering town hall meetings maybe once a semester on the constitution and bylaws, and pulling together a comprehensive list of all student representatives on the VSA and joint committees, as well a clear list of all the responsibilities of each office of the college so that students know who to consult or contact with an issue.

Efficiency is also a communication issue, and another set of work, but the first step is regularly contacting student committee members to check to see what projects a given committee is working on. The staff and faculty on the joint committees talk across committees and organize with each other-many of them sit on more than one committee at a time. As a student representative sitting on more than one committee, I've seen how much that extra communication can streamline things, and we can enhance it by making sure that students representatives keep each other informed, too.

MV: What is your favorite Vassar memory or moment?

MM: That's a hard question... A really nerdy answer is the semesterly finals' week tradition my friends and I have of staking out a library table from open to close for the entire week and just spending it together, goofing off and trying to keep from writing the million-and-a-half papers we have due. It goes to show that good company is everything, I guess.

MV: Anything you want to add?


MM: This candidacy is a little tricky because I'm abroad in England right now! Don't hesitate to email or Facebook me with questions if you have any; I'm looking forward to getting back to campus in the fall, and I'd be honored if I could spend my last year at Vassar working for the student body as the VP for Operations.