Middlebury Student Government Association

The Middlebury Student Government Association is the primary channel through which students participate in college policy making and represent the Middlebury student body. In the interest of transparency and increased participation, members of the Middlebury community may use this site to raise any issues that they wish the SGA to address. The questions, comments and concerns received through this blog will be read and considered at weekly Senate and Cabinet meetings.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Candidate Letters of Intent

Max Nardini- Candidate for President
The SGA president has two principle responsibilities. The first, as the title implies, is to manage and administrate meetings of the student government. This includes setting the agenda of the senate and appointing committee heads (such as the heads of the finance committee or constitution committee). Therefore, the president plays a large role in determining what issues the SGA addresses. As both a member of the Middlebury community and a candidate for SGA president, I will continue to work toward the following:

1. Facilitating open and informed debate on campus

This semester, I participated in a student panel on Iran, in which the panelists discussed varying views on the future of US-Iranian relations. After presenting our opinions, we opened up the floor to questions or comments. What emerged was a compelling discussion. Building on this model, I will organize events in which several speakers present different perspectives on the same topic (for example, the Arab-Israeli conflict or school vouchers). The goal will be to challenge previously held opinions and stimulate wider debate amongst the college community.

2. Improving campus social life
As a founding member of Xanadu, I will continue to support this fully student run (and awesome!) nightclub.

3. Making our campus carbon neutral
Addressing climate change may well be the defining challenge of our generation. As SGA president, I will support Middshift’s campaign to reduce the college’s net carbon emissions to zero.

4. Continuing to raise awareness and support for the victims of genocide in the Sudan
Paul Rusesabagina’s personal account of the genocide in Rwanda served as a chilling reminder that similarly horrific acts are occurring in the Sudan. As members of the Middlebury community, we are in a strong position to assist in education and fundraising efforts to halt these vile acts.

5. Eliminating hydrogenated oil (transfats) from the dining halls
Studies have shown transfat to be significantly more harmful than either regular or saturated fat. I will work with dining services to find healthier alternatives to transfat products. After all, we should be able to enjoy the Ross pizza or green sandwich wraps guilt free (both contain hydrogenated oil).

The second responsibility of the SGA president is to be the liaison between the student body and the administration. The president attends community council and trustee meetings. What’s more, the administration often consults the SGA president on matters that emerge over the course of the year. As SGA president, I will ensure that the administration has a clear understanding of student priorities. Above all else, I promise to be active, engaged, and always open to the thoughts and concerns of all members of the Middlebury community.

Dean Atyia- Candidate for SCCOCC
I have never regretted being at Middlebury; in fact, I’m not sure if I would have been happy at many other schools. What I have come to regret, however, are the ways in which the school, as a whole, has not taken the initiative to affect obvious improvements. The improvements I’m referring to, the ones for which I feel responsible, are those that are aimed at maximizing your quality of life. I have served for two semesters on Community Council, and in that time, I have not done many things that have directly helped you the students. I have supported and attempted to further the program for a campus-wide wireless network, and as far as I can tell, it’s on the way. Other than that, it has been business as usual. I want that to change. The ideas I have, some would say, are beyond the scope of possibility. Maybe, but I do not think so.

One of Middlebury’s stark inadequacies, some call it the Guster Syndrome, is the lack of an entertainment venue directed at the entire campus. MCAB did bring Wyclef and J5, and I had a great time at those shows, but let’s be honest, they fell a bit short. While schools like Brown and Colgate are enjoying two-day concert events with bands like the Flaming Lips and the Roots, we see a mediocre show once a year. Sure, there are plenty of Gamut room specials and McCullough extravaganzas, but please give me a concert I can’t say no to. How can we fix this? I would like to form a concert committee with two members of MCAB, two board members from WRMC, six other college students, and Money. This committee will enjoy the financial freedom to host a concert series without infringing oversight but instead, a minimal degree of administrative supervision. Imagine a two spring days (if it ever warms up) on Battell Beach with music, food, and tiki torches. Their final proposal will require SGA and CC approval, and Wyclef can only come back on the condition that he opens for the Rolling Stones.

I know the campus charge cards were phased out. They were problematic and students were getting away without paying the bill, but can we please try again? What if your access card not only opened doors for you, but it also allowed you to buy your books, get food at the grill, pick up some cold medicine at MiddExpress, and do your laundry? The only thing standing between the return of these convenience cards is a tiring pessimism that I would really like to rethink.

There are so many other things I wish I could delve into as I compose this short statement, but permit me to simply mention them. I’ve heard many students ask why we cannot continue Thursday night candlelit dinners. We can. Why doesn’t Xanadu serve liquor? I think it should. Will the library ever been open late, excluding the concession made during exams? I think this is an imperative. What will become of the social house system? This is an ongoing debate that needs more attention. I cannot guarantee everything, but I do promise that there will be a website through which you can suggest topics that we will address. Community Council must tackle certain issues every year, other than that, it is your forum for improvement.

Most importantly, however, Middlebury is one of the premier NESCAC institutions. Some go as far as to call it a “little ivy.” It is time to institute the kind of changes that such an academic institution needs in order to remain competitive in the field of higher education.

Eric Hoest- Candidate for SCCOCC
I am pleased to announce my candidacy for Student Co-Chair of Community Council. If elected, I will ensure that the Community Council effectively tackles issues that arise throughout the year and makes meaningful policy recommendations to the Administration.

The Community Council is unique in that all groups within the greater College Community – Faculty, Staff, Students, and Administrators – have equal voices in discussing and solving problems that affect us all. As Co-Chair, I will facilitate open discussion between all members of Community Council to ensure that our recommendations truly reflect the best interest of everyone. I will be a thoughtful listener, and will not let my own opinions dominate group discussion.

There are a few key issues that we will likely tackle on the Council: social houses, smoking policy, alcohol, environmentalism, and diversity. If elected, I will see that the Council takes all views concerning these issues into consideration and that we come up with decisions that benefit everyone.

Please vote for me on April 26th, knowing that I will work hard to build consensus and strive to continue Middlebury’s reputation as an engaged and supportive community.



  • At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why is it Middlebury President of SGA's role to raise awareness and support for the victims of genocide in the Sudan? A truely noble cause, yes-- but doesn't this fall into some other jurisdiction? Shouldn't social policy and foreign policy be a little bit separate from the changes we hope to see on campus next year? Give me a break.

  • At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Raising awareness and support on campus for international issues is not separate from campus life or "social policy." If the SGA president can successfully do this, we may see a politically active campus with students who do care about the world outside of Middlebury. The overall apathy and passivity of students on campus right now is disturbing, especially given the opportunities and luxuries available to us right now. I applaud those who are already active on a wide variety of issues, and I applaud Max Nardini for confronting the issue of political and social apathy.


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