On Friday, Nick Fogel ’12 and Francesca Barrett ’12 won the College Council (CC) co-presidency over Mustafa Saadi ’12 and Liz Jimenez ’12 by a margin of 784 to 605 votes. Sixty-four percent of eligible students voted, comparable to last year’s turnout. The new co-presidents sat down with Opinions Editor Todd Brenner to reflect on the election and discuss their plans for the coming year.
How are you feeling about the election results?
Fogel: I would say that we’re really excited to get going. We had a retreat with the entire CC on Saturday, which went really well. I was very excited to hear all of their ideas. There’s a really positive vibe around CC and everyone is very excited to get down to work.
Barrett: There was a lot of motivation and drive with everyone. You could see how excited every single person was that they had won and was going to be able to work. During the retreat we spent some time talking about people’s ideas and there was a lot of support for Nick and my campaign, but there were also a lot of other really great ideas – smaller and larger ideas – that we will incorporate and that people were really passionate about pursuing themselves. I feel like we’re going to be very productive immediately.
What have you learned from the campaign process?
Fogel: I think we’ve learned a lot in going to different student groups and hearing their ideas, and I think that the biggest thing we want to do right now is to incorporate what we’ve heard and make CC an even more welcoming, proactive and outgoing place.
Barrett: Specifically, something that will hopefully be approved on Wednesday … we’re going to get new lights for Paresky Auditorium because it’s a very under-utilized space. When we went to Cap and Bells and other performance groups, they said that they wish that they had this space open, but there just weren’t the facilities necessary. And that’s something that we wouldn’t have thought of if we hadn’t gone to the groups. We had the idea of having members of CC, once every three weeks, actually going to groups’ meetings for the first five or 10 minutes and saying, “This is what we’re working on at CC. What obstacles are you encountering? Is there anything we can help with?” Also, I know that Zach Evans [’12], who’s the new campus diversity representative, is meeting with most boards related to the Minority Coalition (MinCo) and introducing himself and seeing what specific issues are going to be out there. So I think that we learned that we really need to get people’s ideas to CC, because groups feel that if they’re not on CC or related to CC, their ideas are not important to us.
This year’s close voting margin shows that a great deal of the community was interested in what your opponents had to say. What elements of their campaign will you incorporate into your future plans?
Barrett: A bunch of things that they talked about are actually things that we were talking about towards the end of [the outgoing] council. One thing in particular has to do with [All Campus Entertainment (ACE)] and bringing back the weekend. We, in some of the last meetings, met with ACE and talked to them about ideas for how to make sure that they could be as productive as possible, and one of ACE’s problems right now is they don’t have a space that is theirs. And so just making it so that there is an institutionalized way that ACE can always have events and be out there … that’s one way to make sure ACE stays proactive.
Fogel: I think we want to make sure that the bike share program is up. Also, I’m not sure if it would take the form of a day or not, but we definitely want to find ways to recognize the staff. In the past, staff appreciation days have not been super successful, but I think the sentiment is there, so we want to find a way to work with that.
Is the athlete/non-athlete divide something you plan on addressing and if yes, how so?
Fogel: I’m not sure if we would directly address the athlete/non-athlete divide because I think it’s gotten so much publicity this year that I’m not sure that bringing it up directly wouldn’t harm our goals of bringing the community together. I think that bringing the community together across all different divides is our biggest goal, so we’re not going to focus just on the student athlete divide. We want to make sure we create a united community that is free of any barriers on campus.
What is your partnership going to be like? What skills does each of you bring to the table?
Fogel: I think one of the reasons we decided to run together is that we are very different in our leadership styles and our strengths. Francesca’s had a ton of experience on CC getting a lot of nitty-gritty things passed and working with administrators closely. She’s very detail-oriented, and I’m more of a big picture kind of person. I try to find creative solutions to solve problems, and hopefully Francesca will be very adept at implementing them.
Barrett: And definitely being treasurer got me accustomed to thinking about every single detail and how those affect smaller issues.
What are your main goals for your term as co-presidents?
Fogel: I would say that a big goal is to continue the trend that Manny and If have started of making CC more credible on campus. They talked in their farewell e-mail about how, three years ago, people had no idea what CC did, and now people know and they bring ideas to CC … and those can be small ideas, they can be big ideas, but CC has really become much more of an advocate for people. So I think that, first and foremost, the goal is to continue that process and find ways to strengthen that role.
Barrett: Also, one of the big points in our campaign was trying to help with registration and over-enrollment problems. This will be a long discussion that Nick and I will start this week. We are meeting with the registrar’s office and trying to figure out what specific things can be done. Also, we are starting a peer-advising program, which hopefully would help with over-enrollment issues.
What’s the first thing on your to-do list?
Fogel: I think the first thing is implementing the things we talked about as far as making CC more transparent. We’re trying to have times where we’re going to be available in Paresky for people to come bring ideas to us. Also, along more practical lines, we’re meeting with the Head of Dining Services [Bob Volpi], the Outing Club Director [Scott Lewis], [Vice President for Operations] Steve Klass and the registrar’s office about some specific ideas that we had during the campaign like opening up Eco Café and having WOC-led trips for entry groups.
Barrett: I’m also meeting with a number of people on RASAN and the Women’s Center to start talking about what CC can do about rape and sexual assault.
What do you foresee your biggest challenges being this year?
Fogel: It’s tough to foresee. I’m sure something is going to come up, but I don’t know what it’s going to be.
Barrett: I think for now we have really good relationships with a lot of the administrators and a lot of the people we’re going to have to work with, as well as with people on CC. I really don’t see any problems going forward, especially because most of the ideas on our platform we spoke to administrators about beforehand, and they all seemed really excited to work with CC.
What do you want your CC term to be remembered for?
Fogel: In my mind it’s impossible to say because it’s so unpredictable. I think our biggest goal is bringing the community together in whatever way we can, and if we can do that and make some sort of lasting change, then I think that’s a successful term.
Barret: To start a lot of what Nick and I have talked about is starting the process to bring people together on campus.