Andrew Eaddy and Maurice Rippel ’19 know the ins and outs of Haverford. As seniors, they’ve accumulated an impressive set of experiences on campus and built a vast network of students and administrators. Now, they say they’re ready to take on a new challenge as this year’s Students’ Council (SC) co-presidents – and the tough balancing act that comes with it.
As leaders of the student body, Eaddy and Rippel, who ran uncontested in May, may have to deal with some of the lingering effects of last semester’s Special Plenary. Rippel noted some of the rifts that have remained on campus, namely between athletes and non-athletes, students and administrators, and students who identify as people of color and those who don’t. Looking forward, the co-presidents say they will have to find a way to juggle different interests on campus.
“I come in trying to see all sides and trying to really facilitate conversations where some circles of campus think that there’s a lack of trust,” Rippel said.
Eaddy and Rippel said that’s where their connections and experience will come in handy. The two have each served stints on Honor Council, are co-heads of SURGE, and were members of the Clerk’s Editorial Board. [Note: Rippel served as Editor-in-Chief of the Clerk last fall, and Eaddy served as director of special projects in the spring.] They also have held a myriad of other positions: Eaddy has served as co-head of Amnesty International, worked on the Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and was appointed a student liaison between SC and the Haverford Innovation Platform. Rippel has served as a representative to the Board of Managers, was a co-head of Sons of Africa, and currently is on the LIFTFAR Committee and the Presidential Search Committee. Now, they hope to get different parts of campus talking with one another.
“It felt like running for co-president with Maurice would be an apt culmination of all of those experiences,” Eaddy said.
He added that the relationships he has developed with administrators will go a long way in his new position. In particular, Eaddy said that it will be important to continue working with Kim Benston, who has one year left as president of the college.
“I think he will be a good resource to have this upcoming year,” Eaddy said of Benston, “especially as we want to do such ambitious things.”
When asked about the implications of working closely with the president in light of some concerns on campus about student agency, Eaddy added: “I think we are going to do the best job we can to advocate for the student body while also taking advantage of resources that are available to us to better serve the student body…It’s going to be an important line to walk next year.”
Among Eaddy and Rippel’s plans for the year are an assortment of proposed changes to the Students’ Constitution. According to Rippel, they want to “constitutionalize the connection between officers and offices,” meaning that members of SC would be required to meet with administrators or groups that have similar goals. It’s a move that they hope will make SC more accountable – members would have to schedule regular meetings with stakeholders outside of SC, and by looping outside groups into their work, projects could keep moving forward from year to year, even as SC membership turns over.
In addition, Eaddy and Rippel are considering ways to change the makeup of SC in the coming years, such as cutting sophomore, junior, and senior class representatives, as well as the number of students in paired positions. They might also add other positions, like a SC librarian, Rippel said.
“There’s already a number of sophomores [and juniors] and seniors on Council, so ‘what is unique about that perspective that representatives are bringing’ is the question,” Rippel said. He added that the first-year class representative would likely remain, since first-year students typically do not have the opportunity to hold any other positions on SC.
Eaddy and Rippel listed some other projects they have in mind, including strengthening the relationship between campus and Philadelphia, creating a speaker series, making travel for students more accessible between campus and the Philadelphia International Airport, hosting discussions between athletes and non-athletes, and doling out a significant sum to the crew team for new boats. They also plan to allocate funding towards gender-neutral bathrooms in the GIAC, contributing to a larger initiative that gained student support at Special Plenary last spring.
On top of that, Eaddy and Rippel are considering new ways to hold plenary.
“Going back to the whole idea of student governments auditing themselves, I think plenary is something that up until recently, at least it feels like, it’s been sort of a given and hasn’t really been challenged [on] a fundamental level,” Eaddy said. “I think that Maurice and I are definitely thinking about questions like ‘what is the purpose of plenary? Are there ways that we can achieve the same end through different means?’ Obviously ‘how can we make plenary more accessible for people?,” Eaddy said.
Though it will likely take some time to implement these projects, the two have already made some decisions this summer in their new presidential capacity. For example, they recently revised the poster policy – as required every two years – and have added a clause that incorporates chalking under the policy and another that clarifies the language groups have to use on political posters.
As the co-presidents look ahead, they said that they are eager to see what Eaddy calls their “community-driven governance” in action.
“I see the presidency as a continuation of a lot of good work that’s come before me,” Rippel wrote via email. “So I just hope to enter and continue this work in innovative ways, really rock the proverbial boat, do a lot of listening, and hopefully, as a result of the collaborations that come out of this, the outcome will be another positive step that the next presidents can build upon. With the team we have, any outcome I’ll say, will be positive because it’ll be what the students willed.”