Name two goals that you will have accomplished by the end of your Senate term. Please be specific with your policy recommendations.
There are several things I want to work on during my Senate career. I want to maintain openness to students for their voices to be heard. Three tangible things that I want to accomplish by the end of my Senate term are increasing the number of STEM-related events for women, increasing support for events that encourage discussion on class and economic differences, and encouraging programs that address student mental health and the duck syndrome. This requires open communication with several communities and groups on campus, and the ability to support groups by publicizing and coordination.
*Which two current ASSU initiatives or programs would you push to eliminate? Why? *
One of the issues that the ASSU needs to address is what happens to the excess money that comes out of student activities fee every quarter. I don’t think the recent rejected amendment to the Constitution is the solution, but it has the right goal: the money that students pay in often goes unused during that year. Perhaps there is a better way to utilize that money. Another idea I want to install is that of a voting/polling option on the Senate website where the petition option is currently. That way, the University would be able to gather input on student opinion before making huge university decisions (like 8:30 class start times or the Suites Dining changes).
*In what ways would you seek to work on the following policy areas within the Senate? *
Free speech is an essential part of democracy. The new petition format on the Senate’s website is a wonderful tool for getting student voices heard. Installing a voting/polling or even a survey option on the Senate’s website would allow University officials to gather significant student feedback on any proposed changes before they happen. That way, the reactionary student response would not be so strong, if students knew about major changes ahead of time. And this does not have to apply to only major changes, either, but applying it to major changes is a good start.
One of the things I want to confront while in office is the so-called duck syndrome. I believe developing safe places and environments for students to feel comfortable talking about their feelings would help ease the stress that students face and endure. I want to encourage programs that address mental and emotional health. If more people felt comfortable enough to express their feelings, perhaps the burden of the duck syndrome will be eased enough to allow people to talk openly one days that aren’t necessarily their best day possible.
Appropriating funds to student groups is an important part of what Senate does. I think making sure groups get the appropriate funding, while still balancing our budget, is a main priority. Student groups rely on funding for events; they couldn’t put on many of the things they do for the greater Stanford community if not for the Appropriations committee. Making sure this stays intact, and that our funding policy is consistent for all groups, is something to stand by.
One of the projects I hope to work on is bringing more STEM-related events for women to campus, or advocating for women to attend such events at other campuses. I went to a Women in Physics Conference back in January, and it was really empowering to see women from across the west coast present all different kinds of research. I hope to encourage other events like this one in other STEM fields for women here.
One of the projects I am working on right now as a Senate Associate involves a resource guide for incoming first-gen and low-income freshmen. We are working with both the financial aid office and the Diversity and First-Gen Office. As a senator, I hope to continue working on issues that help this sub-group of Stanford students. I also anticipate working with our community centers in order to encourage open communication and event coordinating.