Four Candidates Will Vie for Student Senate Presidency, Three for Vice Presidency
By Gauri Mangala, Managing Editor
The petition period for candidacy in the Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections has officially ended.
Vying for the position of President are Kurtis Grey ’21, Nadine Snyder ’21, Rock Swartz ’22, and Hassan Williams-Kone ’21. Running for the position of Vice President are Lauren Browning ’22, Matthew James ’21, and Katherine Troy ’21.
The Gettysburgian will host a candidate forum on Monday, Apr. 13 at 7 PM EDT. During this forum, candidates will be answer questions posed by Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Pontz ‘20.
Listed below are the candidates’ unedited Statements of Purpose:
Kurtis Grey ’21
I wish to serve as the Student Senate President because I wish to make a positive impact on our campus, leaving it in a better position than we found it. I hope to present real options for change to all members of our community in regards to the issues that they see as prevalent on their campus. During my time as Public Relations Committee Chair, I witnessed a struggle to connect to the campus our Senate is supposed to serve. In my time working with the Center for Public Service and serving as the President of a fraternity on our campus, I have been fortunate enough to interact with many different dialogues around campus from the perspective of a leader. I hope to unite these many dialogues in Senate and unite our campus community further by encouraging respect and care for all.
Nadine Snyder ’21
Throughout my time at Gettysburg College, I have been deeply invested in the work that Student Senate has done to improve the lives of students on campus. I was a resident of Hanson basement my freshman year, and had to move out midyear due the mold problem. When the school would not provide us with the priority housing lottery numbers that they had previously promised us, student Senators defended our cause and worked until we regained our priority numbers. The activist spirit of Senate inspired me to run for a position so that I could help other students if they experienced similar circumstances. My sophomore year I had the privilege of being a Senator at large, and of being the co-chair of the Safety and Sustainability Committee. Through my committee I was able to meet with Mike Bishop, the director of Bullet, to discuss with him ways that dining services at Gettysburg College can become more sustainable. I also worked with the Opinions Committee to pass an Opinion that the school should discontinue the use of plastic bags at all dining facilities. This Opinion, along with the actions of other Gettysburg College students inspired Bullet to start charging 10 cents per plastic bag. This action has decreased the number of plastic bags used from almost 500 per day to 10-20 per day. My experience shows that students can make a difference through Student Senate; however, not all students are aware of the effect their ideas can have. The best way to improve involvement in Senate would be to increase the quality of Senate discussions. I have noticed that students who raise concerns about campus culture or administrative action during Senate meetings are often told to bring their concerns to a committee. This prevents important discussions from taking place, and makes students feel unheard. In order to solve this issue, I would designate one meeting a month to hear student concerns. We could hold a discussion on a specific topic, be it sustainability, inclusion, etc., so students with concerns on that particular issue could come and voice their opinions. I would also invite clubs to host discussions on issues pertinent to them, so that they could reach a wider audience than they typically would at their weekly meetings. I also would encourage Senate to consider turning the former Clubs Liaison position into a Diversity and Inclusion Officer. This way students would have someone on the Senate Executive Board to go to if they ever experienced discrimination on campus. I would work to promote national political engagement as well, by providing information on voter registration, so students would be prepared to vote in the 2020 election. Student Senate is an important platform as it gives students a chance to be heard by the administration, and as president I would work to make sure that all students have an equal opportunity to change the school for the better.
Rock Swartz ’22
I am running for the position of student senate president because I wholeheartedly believe that I am the most equipped to successfully facilitate a new era of productivity and inclusivity within the student senate. I hold this opinion not only because of my extensive experience within the organization, which I have cultivated through my role as senator and through my 3 semester involvement as the chair to the College Life Advisory Committee, but because of my perspective as a deeply empathetic and capable Gettysburgian.
Within my various involvements around campus my enthusiastic, outgoing nature has continually facilitated environments that are both inclusive and welcoming while fostering meaningful relationships with much of the student body. It was with this enthusiasm that I have become an ear to the problems that afflict our student body, and a force endeavored to their resolution.
In my two years at Gettysburg I have accomplished, with the help of many, the installation of campus wide menstrual care product dispensers, the creation of the first annual Wellness Fair, the de-gendering of bathroom signs in Weidensall, the implementation of an annual “Nut-Free Ice Cream Week” to accommodate the students with nut allergies, an investigation into the broken handicap buttons across campus, and the furthering of QPR suicide prevention techniques.
If I am elected president I will make it my mission to turn the student senate into a more inclusive, real representation of the student body. I will facilitate discussion amongst the various groups on campus, finding real solutions to the problems that face our campus community as I have in the past, and bring to this position the same level of commitment and authenticity that I have brought to every other aspect of my life.
Hassan Williams-Kone ’21
Over my past three years at Gettysburg College, I have built a lot of relationships and gained numerous connections. As president, my hope is that I will be able to bring these connections together, making the student body more connected. I hope to address the concerns of represented and underrepresented students, working for all. I would also like to diversify Senate more, as this might help make students who do not usually come to Senate more comfortable in doing so. This would allow more issues and concerns to be discussed. I have been involved in Senate since my first year and have held the positions of Class Treasurer and Senator. As Senator, one of my greatest achievements was drafting a proposal that would make a $5,000 donation to the Myra T. Herron Fund. Thankfully it passed!
I am qualified for this position because I know how Senate works as I have been involved with this organization for the past three years. I understand the responsibility of representing and respecting different student perspectives as that should be a priority of the President. In addition, I have leadership skills that I have developed in my roles of Treasurer of the Black Student Union and Vice President of The Fellaship. Through these positions I have learned to lead by example, a skill I plan to use as President of the Student Senate.
Vice Presidential Candidates
Lauren Browning ’22
I think that the position of Vice President is uniquely versatile. Since the largest part of the Vice Presidential role is during election season, that leaves the rest of the year for the position to provide their expertise to the senate. This year the executive board decided that the best role for the Vice President would be focused on the internal workings of the student senate, whereas the president would be the face for external relations. I think this separation is a valuable distinction but, like all good preliminary ideas, can be built upon. The student senate is composed of senators, club representatives, committee chairs, and affinity group leaders who would all be considered the internal workings that the VP would need to communicate with. The concept is that each of these positions brings in new ideas from their constituents, and also invaluable expertise, but I believe the VP should do more to follow those channels backwards and perform outreach directly to the clubs and organizations we represent, especially as we lose the technocratic position of clubs liaison. I think that the VP should work from the inside out to make sure senate works for you.
During the 2019-2020 academic year I maintained the position of social affinity group leader, Ski Club representative, and Model United Nations representative. Through this position I became fully involved with the senate. At the beginning of the year I only represented one of the clubs and was not familiar with all that senate does for the students of Gettysburg College. Although I was an involved member of campus, and valued activities that involved the senate process, I had no idea how valuable of a tool senate could be. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a voting member, and I hope to make the power of senate–whether though formulated opinions, granted funding, or simply information gained while sitting in session–visible to others on campus.
I value the clubs, teams, and activities that I am a part of. This year I am the president of both Ski Club and Model United Nations and have learned a lot about flexibility, persuasion, working with what we have, and most importantly, leadership. Although I thought I was a sufficient leader going into the positions, the amount of skills I gained from the experience of actually conducting activities around the moving parts of student’s values is vast. I feel that I am more ready than ever to perform leadership on the next level.
Finally, I value team efforts. Senate is a small team working for a large body of constituents and must value every person at the table. Each perspective is different but equally representative of a part of campus life. If I were to be elected, I look forward to working with the new senate class and believe that together we can be more involved than ever. This year we reach the to the ends of the campus by using the assets we already have and working from the inside out to show every student how senate works for you.
Matthew James ’21
Hey guys! My name is Matt James, and I am running for Vice President of the Student Senate. This past year, I served as a Senator for the Fall 2019 semester. I primarily served on the Opinions Committee as a member, and then the Vice-Chair, and on the Budget Management Committee as a member. On the Opinions Committee, I worked with students from a variety of backgrounds on issues across the campus, discussing medical amnesty, diversity, library hours, and more. On the Budget Management Committee, I did my best to advocate for a responsible, but generous, use of the nearly $100,000 fund that all students entrust to the Senate. I am also one of a handful of students that sits on the Gettysburg College Council. This council, chaired by President Iuliano, is a group of students, administrators, and faculty who come together to discuss and address life on Gettysburg College. This can include planning upcoming events, thinking of new ways of communication, or how to encourage students to come out to a new experience. All of these experiences have given me a unique perspective at how the Senate influences the lives of those around me at Gettysburg College, while also providing me the opportunity to serve students.
What does that mean, though? To serve? What kind of Vice-President will I be, and most importantly, why? For me, those are very simple questions. I want to provide the members in Senate with someone who will listen to them and work with them. The Senate is the group that is supposed to represent the campus and, really, to look after their fellow students and their friends in a unique way. The people in Senate are often in leadership positions and positions of trust amongst their peers, and that can be difficult. When they face a struggle, a difficult choice, a bright idea, and a great success, I want to be a Vice-President that the members in Senate feel comfortable coming to and talking with. The same way that a club President or Vice-President is supposed to look after a fellow member in a club, I want to look after the members of the Senate, to encourage them, to have their back. And why? Because I care. I care about them, and I care about the work. For me, that’s the bottom line.
That is the promise I will make as Vice-President: through the ups and downs, the thick and thin, I promise to care about the people and to commit myself to the work. That is all I can give: my heart, mind, time, and energy. So that is what they’ll get. With that, I hope you’ll consider voting for me as the Student Senate’s Vice-President.
Katherine Troy ’21
I wish to serve as the Vice President of Student Senate because I am passionate about bringing attention to the voices of all student concerns on this campus, and I believe that through this leadership role I can help create a more positive experience for all students throughout their time at Gettysburg College.
When I first joined Student Senate, I would not have guessed that I would be running for the position of Vice President during my junior year. However, serving as a Senator for the past two years has given me the courage, confidence, and strength to believe that I can make a change on this campus. I am running for the Vice President of Senate because I want to create a similar experience for all current and future members of the Student Senate. I promise to execute this goal by organizing fair elections, encouraging the student body to run for leadership positions within Senate, and helping create a positive and impactful experience for these student leaders during their time here.
Since I joined Greek Life, I have been passionate about improving the relationship between the Greek community and the entire campus community. Since serving as President of my sorority, I have collaborated with members of my organization to create necessary change and have tried to make the Greek community more inclusive and welcoming to the entire campus. If elected as the Vice President of Student Senate, I would similarly lead the student body in a way that created lasting change that improved the climate of the campus. I believe that each individual on this campus has the ability to leave a lasting impact on this College, and I want to instill this same belief in all students here at Gettysburg. I promise to be an attentive listener who will express genuine interest in all of your questions and concerns, and I will actively strive to find solutions that will make this campus a more welcoming and positive environment for all students to grow. I would be so proud to serve as the Vice President of such a vibrant, energetic, driven, and intelligent student body, and I sincerely hope that you are able to place your trust in me during this election. Thank you!