Portraits by Kate Silber. Cover photograph by Maxwell Cox.
The new school year means a new set of representatives on Students’ Council (SC). The Clerk has asked all elected SC members for the candidacy statements they circulated when they ran for their positions last spring (or, in the case of the First-Year Representative, a couple of weeks ago.) Though SC members may have changed their focuses for their positions since election, these statements are as close as possible to the versions that the student body saw when they voted. Read on to get to know your representatives and the ideas they campaigned with:
Mariana Ramirez ’20 and Katie Leiferman ’20, Co-Presidents
We are the people who hit up your inbox with the Weekly Consensus! Through this weekly update, the Ford Form, and publishing the Students’ Council Minutes, we have led initiatives to increase transparency between StuCo and the community. In our two years on StuCo, we have coordinated 5 Plenaries, 2 Town Halls, and a “How-To-Plenary” Workshop.
We entered Haverford through the Chesick Scholar and Horizon programs. We quickly recognized how difficult Haverford is to navigate, and how inaccessible the classroom environment can be. This past year, we surveyed the student body on how classroom participation is impacted by identities such as race, gender, class, and ability and presented the compiled data across faculty departments. Our work directly led to the formation of the Task Force on Classroom Climate, which Mariana currently serves on.
Our two years on StuCo have shown us that we must be more proactive. We need to come to you. This means showing up to campus events, attending affinity group meetings, and working with you. With a new president arriving this summer, there is great possibility for change. We’ve seen that students take initiative: you show up for each other and you fight for issues that affect not only yourselves but those that you love. We are thankful for your hard work, and want to be your Co-Presidents to continue to do our part in building a better community.
Evan Moon ’21 and Noorie Chowdhury ‘21, Co-Vice Presidents
Hi! This is Noorie and Evan, and we are excited to run for Co-VP!
While working hands-on with various student organizations, we’ve felt the frustration of a lot of you who work for change/action on campus. It can be a longwind-ing, time-consuming process, often involving a lot of emotional labor. Serving on Clearness Committee together, we have been identifying where students need support, as well as the gap between what we need and what the institution thinks we need.
What it comes down to is: how can we better support students working to make Change? We believe that the Co-VP position has the power to improve this. Being in charge of appointing committees, we hope to make participation much more accessible to students who have the passion for change, but are often lost in vague procedures. We want to make clear from the start what different committees there are, and how you can participate. On council, we hope to help in restructuring plenary and town-halls to create inclusive spaces conducive to actionable so-lutions, and that acknowledge the hard work we all do for this community!
We have explored numerous avenues (including Clearness Committee, Community Outreach Multicultural Liaison, International Student’s Center, Student Council 1st-year-rep, Customs Committee and task force for Customs compensation, Student Leadership Advisory Committee, Office of Multicultural Affairs…) for change and leadership, and we feel prepared to take on the challenge. We really hope to bring the lessons we learned from the community back to all of you!
Sydney Churchill ’20 and Devi Namboodiri ’21, Co-Secretaries
Hey friends!! We are Sydney Churchill ‘20 (she/her/hers) and Devi Namboodiri (she/her/hers) and we’re running for SC-Secs!! We believe that the role of the Co-Secs is integral to making the conversation between SC and the student body as transparent and accessible as possible! We are invested in continuing our current projects: increasing all-gender restrooms, addressing issues of student wages and labor on campus, and prioritizing environmental responsibility initiatives.
As SC-VP, Sydney co-chaired the appointments committee and worked on projects including the Task Force on Student Work and Service in an effort to address and communicate to administrators, issues of student labor and service including low minimum wage, the potential compensation of Customs folks as well as the unrealistic earnings expectations in financial aid packages.
As Sophomore Representative, Devi created more study spaces for winter finals, facilitated the relationship between SC and the Committee for Environmental Responsibility to advance the environmental initiatives and also coordinated ideas with Sophomore House. Devi helped facilitate a workshop to make writing Plenary resolutions more accessible.
As Co-Secs we are committed to continuing the work of the current Co-Secs, which aimed at increasing transparency between the student body and SC through Town Hall events and the Ford Forum. We plan to send out the Ford Forum before every SC meeting as well as with the Weekly Consensus to allow for ongoing student concerns to be part of the SC weekly agenda.
Please reach out if you have any questions for us!
Eliza Koren ’21 and Dex Coen Gilbert ’21, Co-Treasurers
Hello, everyone! We are Eliza (she/her/hers) and Dex (he/him/his), two rising juniors running to be your co-treasurers for next year. As the treasurers for the Jewish Student Union and FAB, respectively, we recognize that the role of treasurer of a club can be intimidating and overwhelming for many on campus. Our main goal is simply to make this job more accessible, so that any individual can self-advocate for their club’s needs through a transparent and equitable process. We recognize that questions about budgeting will inevitably be raised throughout the year, despite our best efforts to make this process as clear and straight-forward as possible, but we are committed to working with you to problem-solve and to listening and responding to your concerns in an open and timely way.
In furthering our main agenda of accessibility, we will introduce office hours that take place in both Stokes and in the apartments, so that we can be conveniently reached by as many students as possible. Additionally, we intend to be flexible with clubs who are struggling to work within the established budgeting process and to be as helpful as possible to those who may need extra assistance in crafting their budget, going through the grievances process, or simply getting regular fronts or reimbursements.
Brian Hu ’21, Junior Representative
Hello Class of 2021! My name is Brian Hu and I use He/Him pronouns. I am a student worker who has conducted research on mass incarceration in Philadelphia and on political participation. After conducting interviews with many members of the greater Philadelphia community, I think I have some idea of how individuals interact with their respective political institutions. Furthermore, I am currently on Customs Committee and the Task Force for Student Work and Service. Let’s cut right to the chase.
What will I do as your junior class representative? Well, I will:
1) Facilitate discussion between the different student groups in our class
2) Be as accessible as possible when you need advice on student activism
3) Tackle student apathy
4) Challenge the position to provide future class representatives with more authority to drive change within our community
Additionally, I want to work for the most vulnerable members of the community, for the issues you have raised must, at the very least, be addressed with transparency.
I believe that the lack of transparency in the institution has hindered student activism. So, I promise all of you that I will, as a junior representative, work to build transparency within Students’ Council, the administrators, the Board of Managers, and the Haverford Corporation.
Lastly, I don’t want to be a demagogue. Therefore, I am only creating realistic goals that I know I will meet by the end of next year.
Thank you very much and be sure to fight the apathy, Haverford!
Rodrigo Zuniga Mouret ’20, Officer of Athletics
Hello! I’m Digo, he/him/his, class of 2020, Biology Major/Fine Arts Minor, and a current member of the Haverford Men’s Varsity Soccer Team. My priorities as Officer of Athletics are to further promote inclusivity in athletic spaces and increase support for People of Color from the athletic community. As a Latinx student, I have often felt that the POC perspective on the athlete non-athlete divide is lacking, and I want to relay those voices to the administration. The past 3 years, I have made it a point to have conversations regarding the divide with various people in and outside of athletics, especially on a hall as a Customs Person my sophomore year. I believe that a wide range of perspectives is needed to address these issues, and it’s my goal to make sure everyone is heard.
Katie Chung ’21, Officer of Campus Life
Hi friends! My name is Katie Chung, and I’m honored to be the Officer of Campus Life! In the past two years here, I’ve been able to meet incredible people, learn about how the campus works though interning in the Student Life Office, serve on a Customs team, and lead a range of groups that target increasing diversity both on campus and off. These experiences have encouraged me to see Haverford’s potential to be a more unified campus but also to recognize that the path to true inclusivity will be challenging and demanding. I envision my role to be an advocate and liaison for students, to ensure their voices are heard in efforts to improve their own campus experiences, and to collaborate with other Student Council Officers to bring these hopes and needs into reality. I want to coordinate/centralize the important work of student committees and groups with the administration and the range of Haverford’s (sometimes less known) resources to accomplish shared goals. Whether it be through revamping spaces in the HCAs, restructuring party spaces to be safer and more welcoming, creating avenues for sustainability, I hope to enhance the campus’ physical and lived social environment.
Lev Greenstein ’20, Officer of Academics
Lev Greenstein ’20 enjoys taking long walks on the beach. Since Haverford doesn’t have an actual beach, he has instead tried to spend his time collaborating to make the community more compassionate, inclusive, and transformative. Valuing honest, growth-oriented conversations, he served as a PAF his sophomore and senior year as well as an Honor Council representative his sophomore spring. With community as a primary focus, he lives and organizes in Quaker House to provide a space for reflection, brunch, and value-based living for those looking for it. He recognizes many pains and joys that currently make up the Haverford experience and advocates for all steps necessary to make more just, accessible community real. Beyond that, he wants to support students thrive in the midst of it all.
MacK Somers ’20, Officer of the Arts
As Officer of the Arts, I plan to identify pre-existing programs and spaces on campus which could be utilized more effectively and work towards making those resources more widely known and accessible to the entire Haverford community. We have so many systems in place to support creativity at Haverford; it’s just about cleaning up spaces like James House, spreading the word about funding opportunities at the Hurford Center, and opening up spaces for theater and music groups to practice and perform. By tweaking these systems, I think that we can make space through artistic practice for a closer and more supportive community at Haverford.
Saket Sekhsaria ’20, International Student Representative
Saket Sekhsaria ’20 has worked in various international student and art-focused spaces. On the arts side, he served as a member of the Hurford Center Advisory Board of 2018/19, where he was in charge of allocating funds for the Student Arts Fund and making sure diverse forms of art were chosen and represented. He’s worked as a T.A for Intro Documentary, Advanced Documentary, and Post-War Japanese Cinema, with the goal of fostering collaborative environments. He’s also been a VCAM Production Mentor for about two years, where he works with students on issues of equipment, software, and film-in-general. On the international student side, Saket serves as the publicity coordinator for the International Student Center, where he works to make sure everyone has access to the various resources ISC offers. He also works as the lead for Haverford’s SenseMaker project, where he focuses on issues of inclusion and belonging at the college. In addition to these roles, Saket has worked as a Tour Guide, Host, Phonathon Caller, College Photographer, and Hurford Center Research Fellow.
Emily Lin ’20, Senior Representative
I’m Emily (she/they), and I’m thrilled to be running for Senior Class Rep! Having had the opportunity to serve on many campus committees, I understand the importance of opening channels of communication and being a strong advocate for student needs. I look forward to continuing my involvement on campus in a new capacity on Students’ Council to positively impact the Haverford community.
In the past three years, I have been engaged in diverse aspects of campus life, from participating in club sports to performing in music and dance groups. As a member of the Customs Compensation Task Force, I have been collaborating with students and staff to address student concerns regarding the Customs program. In addition, I have helped the College exceed our goal of 20% real food by 2020 as a member of the Food Systems Working Group (FSWG). A hallmark of my Haverford experience has been serving as one of two students on the Presidential Search Committee and helping to select Wendy Raymond as Haverford’s first female President.
As Senior Class Rep, I have a number of goals and plans, including:
- Collaborating with various resource centers on campus to host events for seniors
- Identifying gaps in support for students (compensation, counseling, etc.) and providing actionable solutions to achieve greater equity
- Building transparency with SC, the Board of Managers, and the administration to address the student body’s questions and concerns
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or ideas! 🙂
Brittany Robinson ’20, Officer of Multiculturalism
My name is Brittany Robinson ’20 and I am majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Health Studies. I am an intern in the Office of Multicultural Affairs and I have dedicated the past year to initiatives that will unite mental health and wellness resources on campus and that will pay particular attention to the intersection of student mental health in relation to student’s marginalization.
In both my academic and extracurricular projects, I am attentive to highlighting the experiences of marginalized students at Haverford. Earlier this year, I attended the White Privilege Conference where a keynote speaker talked about diversity at colleges and universities. The speaker detailed the importance of colleges and universities around the country striving towards diversity, inclusion, and particularly, belonging. I walked away evaluating what belonging means and looks like on this campus. Inclusion cannot happen without diversity but belonging takes inclusion, diversity, and a willingness from the greater community.
We must commit to creating an environment where everyone on this campus feels as if they belong. While there is no clear path to achieve belonging, the willingness to try is an important initiative. My work in mental health and wellness has been indicative of my commitment to achieve belonging on this campus. I once took a class where we started each session with a share-out activity, in this activity we recited, “I hear you,” after every person spoke. While this is not virtually possible, it is my goal to be in this role, with the intent of hearing, seeing, and above all understanding the experiences of marginalized students on campus be it gender, race, sexual orientation or otherwise.
Natalia Cordon ‘22, Sophomore Rep
Hi friends! I’m Natalia. From my photo, you may recognize me on campus as the girl with sparkly shoes who really likes the color pink. I come from the San Francisco Bay Area where I enjoy running, hiking, and eating strawberries. Now that you’ve made it this far into my introduction, you probably want to know why I’m qualified to be a sophomore representative.
So, here we go:
- I am an active participant in the Haverford community as a student athlete, Admissions Office fellow, peer Spanish tutor, and former member of the First Year Dean’s Council. My variety of interests are sure to intersect with your own and because of this, I can passionately represent your concerns or enthusiasm about different aspects of campus life.
- I will listen. Although I may not agree with your opinions, I will honor them. Our class is made up of 350+ people with different attitudes, backgrounds, and beliefs– your opinions are valid. Therefore, I promise to address it during student council meetings, after I have contacted you to gain further insight into your perspective so that I represent you accurately.
- I’m friendly. Let’s be real, I’m a 19 year old woman openly acknowledging her love for sparkles. I hope you can feel comfortable approaching me. In fact, I’d love it you would! Let’s drink some “Sun and Moon” coffee, talk about life, school…whatever is on your mind.
I’m excited to get to know you and collaborate for change.
Rasaaq Shittu ’23, First-Year Representative
Hello Class of 2023! My name is Rasaaq, and I am running to be your Student Council Representative. One of the drawing factors that brought me to Haverford was the trust bestowed in its students concerning self-government. Unified by a guiding Honor Code, Haverford is unique in the amount of responsibility it places on students to take charge in the affairs that concern them. I want to be the person that will take charge for you, and do my best to represent the interests of all first-year students, not just a select few. I pride myself on being approachable, and place a priority on listening attentively to the ideas of others. The opinions of each and every single one of you matter, and I will take it upon me that your concerns do not go unheard. As a class representative, I would play a role in selecting students to be placed into various committees that affect widespread areas of student life, including the Council on Sustainability and Social Responsibility and the Student Health Advisory Committees just to name a few. When making decisions regarding appointments, I will prioritize placing qualified and motivated first-years in these committee as to make our presence felt immediately on campus. Finally, in my capacity on the budgeting committee, I will strongly advocate for substantial funding for organizations started by first years, stimulating those in the class to bring a new dynamic to student life here at Haverford. Thank you, and let’s make progress together!