CC presidential candidates emphasize communication

Three pairs of candidates are running for College Council (CC) co-presidency this year. Voters will choose between Jeremy Goldstein ’09 and Peter Nurnberg ’09, Matt Beatus ’09 and Matt Koven ’09, and Toni Kraeva ’09 and Rashid Duroseau ’09.

Goldstein and Nurnberg

Goldstein and Nurnberg are emphasizing outreach from CC to the student body. “The idea is, you don’t wait for people to come to you and tell you what they want, you have to go to people,” Nurnberg said. “Every student on this campus is an unbelievably busy person.” Building on past CC efforts such as office hours and forums, Goldstein and Nurnberg plan on visiting house common rooms and encouraging CC members to attend student organization meetings.

The running mates also place a priority on building closer relations with the administration. “There are a lot of great ideas but you need to know how to present them to the administration,” Nurnberg said. “We see ourselves as a channel through which any student on the campus can express him or herself to the administration.” The two added that they will also push for more binding votes and referendums and arrange more standing meetings with important administrators.

As the current CC treasurer, Nurnberg has several proposals for funding changes, among them the possibility of earmarking alumni funds for individual groups. “We think there are a lot of people who aren’t donating now because they’re not interested in throwing money into a general endowment, but they really feel loyalty [to] some of the groups on campus and would love to donate to [them],” Nurnberg said. The pair also brought up the possibility of establishing a concerts endowment. According to Nurnberg, CC lacks the resources to “bring the caliber of performers this campus wants.”

In addition, Goldstein and Nurnberg would like to work towards a College-subsidized convenience store that would be operated by Dining Services in the basement of Paresky and sell supplies and groceries at cost price. The project would involve examining the College’s current subsidization policy for Spring St. businesses and how they could better serve students.

Although Goldstein has never served on CC, he has been actively involved as the Junior Advisor of Williams B and as a member of the editorial board at the Record. Nurnberg has served on CC during the past three years. He is also president of Dodd Neighborhood.

“What we have going for us best is that between the two of us, we have a lot of things on campus covered,” Goldstein said. Nurnberg added that their ticket combined both extensive CC experience and a fresh perspective.

Beatus and Koven

Pointing to a loss of campus community and a faltering social scene, Beatus and Koven concluded that their first three years of college were “mediocre.”

“I feel like I do a pretty good job of getting out to meet people,” Koven said, “and I feel like I really don’t know everyone here. And I think that’s a by-product of maybe not enough events, maybe not enough high-quality events.”

The theme of Beatus and Koven’s campaign is social revitalization. In light of the recent campus mobilization over racism, the two discussed the lack of integration that makes students feel peripheral to college life. “We have a pretty enlightened and liberal community, and we figured if people have these [intolerant] opinions, it’s because they haven’t been immersed enough in the community,” Beatus said.

Beatus and Koven cited the shake-up created by the neighborhood cluster system as a possible cause of the diminished traditional party scene, particularly at the row houses. Mentioning the difficulties of hosting events and concerns of liability, Koven said, “There were certain houses this year that said that they just weren’t going to throw events.” To encourage Baxter Fellows and other students to organize and host more events, Beatus and Koven hope to implement a variety of incentives from clean-up help to extra funding.

Along these lines is a plan to minimize red tape and consolidate campus funding for events. “There are all these committees and funds, and there are a lot of funds to give out, but they’re kind of scattered around,” Beatus said. “Granted, there [are], in theory, different reasons for these funds and why you’d get these funds, but you have to fill out a variety of different forms.” Koven added that the process is complicated and time-consuming.

While Beatus and Koven do not have a timetable for their goals, they hope to work “organically,” effecting gradual but lasting cultural change. Rather than spread themselves around a number of specific proposals, the two “see a single failing” – the College’s social environment – that they are determined to fix.

Beatus was a representative for Williams Hall during his freshman year, serving on the finance committee. Although Koven has no prior CC experience, he is currently captain of the sailing team, president of the investment club, Purple Bull and business manager of the Record.

Duroseau and Kraeva

Connections and communication are the major issues for Duroseau and Kraeva. They see CC’s strength as a network of administrators, faculty and students. “College Council has a very unique sort of opportunity to affect student politics and campus culture [and] community standards,” Duroseau said. “We have the opportunity to speak to both the administration and to the student body and serve as a link to those two organizations.”

To make this happen, Duroseau and Kraeva plan on creating new forums and venues as well as using the current structure to initiate dialogue and reach out to more students. They also would like to see discussions of the roles of different organizations on campus. “Essentially what we want to do is better is the communication between the different organizations, basically setting up some sort of system where they can talk to each other, whether for scheduling or defining their roles,” Kraeva said. Duroseau added that CC would prioritize talking to the neighborhood governing boards.

In addition, Duroseau and Kraeva cited plans to promote access to student-faculty committee reports. Communication, moreover, will not just be limited to the College. Duroseau and Kraeva would like to establish a network of communication with student governance organizations at other schools.

Kraeva, as an international student from Bulgaria, is particularly interested in the idea of an international center. The two hope to establish a place to offer greater support for study-abroad students, as well as a general area for multicultural and international interaction.

Duroseau and Kraeva also mentioned examining textbook prices and the role of Water St. Books. Kraeva was instrumental in creating the textbook exchange fair last semester and hopes to attract more students to similar events in the future.

Both candidates stress their wide involvement in campus activities as a crucial advantage. “Doing so many things on campus [allows] you to learn how organizations work and how much effort goes into each one of them,” Kraeva said. “You have the connections with people who are in those organizations so you can easily approach them when there’s [an] idea you want to implement.”

Kraeva is currently co-president of Spencer Neighborhood. She has also been a member of CC for the past three years. In addition to serving on the frosh council, Duroseau was the president and co-founder of sophomore council. He is currently the fall Class of 2009 representative in CC.