CC presidential platforms offer divergent views on change

Two tickets are running for College Council (CC) co-presidency this spring. With polls opening tonight at 10 p.m. and closing Friday evening, voters will choose between the pairs of Lizzy Brickley ’10 and Mike Tcheyan ’10, and Nick Daen ’10 and Marc Pulde ’10.  In interviews this past weekend, the candidates discussed their campaign platforms.

Daen and Pulde

Daen and Pulde are running on a platform of concrete changes to student life. The main initiatives they plan to pursue include revamping the meal points system to increase flexibility in when and where students eat, and establishing a self-sustaining bicycle-sharing program across campus. “We want campus-wide change that affects every student’s life,” Daen said. “Not just one student group or one set of concerns, but widespread impact with immediate effect.”

Other campaign focuses include expanding the online Spring Street Books program, amending the neighborhood system to increase housing options and interactions between students, increasing the number of temporary parking spots for students at academic centers and dorms, raising student wages for on-campus jobs and increasing library hours in the period preceding finals. “These programs are well-researched, and we have models from other colleges to base our own actions on,” Daen said.

Pulde cited successful meal plan reform at Wesleyan, Duke and Tufts as examples. “We want to make it so that students don’t have to pay for meals that they don’t eat, and to incorporate off-campus dining options into the points system.” While recognizing the complexity of dining services operations and finances, they noted that Ephporium owners have expressed enthusiasm for an alternative, sustainable meal plan.

Sustainability, both economic and environmental, is the impetus for Eph Rides, the bike sharing program that they intend to implement “by the beginning of the next academic year,” Pulde said. Like the Zipcar system, this scheme will allow students to access a fleet of bicycles across campus for a nominal annual fee and has proven popular on a number of other campuses.

While a main thrust of their campaign is financial sustainability, two of their initiatives, extending library hours and raising student wages, will require additional expenditure. “With library hours, we feel that it’s important that financial constraints don’t affect the learning experience,” Pulde said, adding that measures such as raising late fees for library laptops could help offset the cost of late-night staff. Both candidates also stressed the need for more campus jobs and higher wage rates to assist students in difficult financial times.

Both are varsity athletes – Daen in baseball and Pulde in ice hockey – and both have participated in community service on and off campus. “We know people have questions about our lack of experience with CC, but the reason we are running is that during our three years here CC has had great long-term goals, but has not focused on improving everyday life,” Daen said. “We have a different approach that we think will be effective.”

They highlighted the Stand With Us movement as a unified campus action that achieved a common goal though Claiming Williams Day. “If we get elected, we will hit the ground running from day one,” Pulde said. “We will bring administrators’ [response to our proposals] to the student body, and gather support from student voices through petitions and events. If the administration says ‘no’ the first time, we’re not going to concede to that.”

Brickley and Tcheyan

Brickley and Tcheyan bring considerable experience to their CC ticket. “We have great knowledge of the administration and how the administration works,” Brickley said. Among other positions, Brickley serves as the Class of 2010 CC representative, the Junior Advisor (JA) of Sage D and as a representative on the Presidential Search Committee, Gargoyle Society and WOC Board, in addition to rowing crew. Tcheyan, a member of the water polo team and the Gargoyle Society and the Africana Studies Student Committee, has served as WOOLF director for the past two years and is a tour guide for Admission. If elected, Brickley and Tcheyan plan to “preserve essential Williams values and programs during the presidential transition process, advocate for students’ financial interests and limit the impact of budget cuts, promote campus-wide communication and improve residential life.”

Brickley and Tcheyan cite the need to advocate for the continuation of key Williams institutions such as Mountain Day, Winter Study and JA autonomy. They plan on establishing a student committee to work with the senior staff in deciding how to enforce budgets. “We want to be realistic and really smart about the way we are handling the budget, shifting money rather than spending more money,” Brickley said. 
Brickley and Tcheyan also argue for increasing support for club sports, including better access to sports medicine and field time. “We don’t want to take away from varsity athletes,” Brickley said. “But we also need to respect club athletes, who are Williams students like everyone else.”

One of the key issues of the Brickley and Tcheyan campaign is academic advising reform. Brickley and Tcheyan envision four or five faculty members associated with each entry engaging in activities more frequently rather than “checking in once each year. Effective academic advising looks at the student in the context of their entire Williams life,” Tcheyan said.

In addition, the pair plans to expand the Lyceum Dinner program and establish a “take your professor out to dinner program.” The two cite the Nutting Family Fund for Student Enrichment and the Gaudino cooking program as potential sources of funding. “We want to use funds that already exist more effectively – focus on what works and what needs to be fixed,” Brickley said. 

Brickley and Tcheyan also want to increase co-op housing by reclaiming small, unused houses on campus such as Kellogg and Siskind. “We will have 15 to 20 more students next year, and demand is just going to increase,” Tcheyan said. “Every junior knows how hard it is to get into a co-op. This process needs to be made easier for the underclassmen.”