Due to his vision and experience within and without the Student Government Association (SGA), the Wheel endorses College sophomore and current Vice President of Communications Jon Darby for SGA president.
The SGA President has an obligation to represent the student body in its entirety — it should not be an organization that solely dictates the actions of student groups. Darby proves fit for this position through his vision of SGA, a transparent and efficient organization that incorporates the voices of all students on campus, regardless of race, gender, religion or socioeconomic status.
Darby has proven through his platform, interview with the Wheel and candidate debates that he will do everything in his power to ensure that minority groups are being represented and heard. He hopes to create and expand spaces for all marginalized groups on campus, and we believe that he is capable of following through on this promise.
As current VP of Communications, Darby’s platform centers on technology, and he has the appropriate experience to turn his ideas into practice. More specifically, Darby assisted with launching the new SGA and College Council (CC) websites, depicting his ability to concretely enact changes.
Furthermore, his ideas to use technology as a means to increase communication between SGA and the students is a great first step to increase transparency and understanding of SGA. He wants to bring SGA to the people by creating a feedback box on SGA’s website, where students can view others’ ideas and choose to upvote or downvote them. This allows SGA to get diverse opinions from all pockets on campus — integrating student opinions with productive decision-making.
Darby also hopes to make it easier and less intimidating for students to draft a bill by creating a guide catered to students. This will foster dialogue between the student body and SGA, facilitating his vision of all inclusivity and increasing student engagement with SGA.
Additionally, Darby wants to use technology to increase SGA-to-person interaction. For example, he plans to take recording the SGA sessions a step further and introduce live-streaming so students who can’t physically make it to the meetings are still able to stay actively engaged with decisions that directly impact them or, at the very least, decisions that use their money from the student activities fee.
Darby has a very specific vision of the SGA — one that is all-inclusive and technologically efficient. We do, however, encourage Darby to adopt his opponent, College sophomore Kimberly Varadi’s, idea of changing the speaking order at SGA meetings in order to prioritize the students who want to speak and bridge the gap between the legislature and the students.
Additionally, we hope to see Darby advocate for printing stipends, another idea his candidate proposed. This will give students who are financially stressed a small yet important relief. We feel as if these initiatives will be effective additions that will help reach his goals.
Due to his current role as VP of Communications, we feel that Darby will be a potent and productive leader, using a variety of means to connect and inform the student body and therefore better representing the students that elect him.
Based on his outward-looking vision for SGA, his previous experience within student government as SGA Representative-at-Large and his tangible ideas regarding communication with Emory’s student body, the Wheel confidently endorses Raj Tilwa for the position of SGA Vice President.
A current SGA representative-at-large and a College sophomore, Tilwa’s platform includes a focus on advocacy for underrepresented groups on campus, including students with disabilities. We feel that Tilwa’s attention to minority groups on campus is important to a student government whose aim is to represent the entire student body and goes hand-in-hand with Darby’s focus on marginalized groups on campus.
To increase communication with the student body, Tilwa has proposed a series of town hall meetings each semester to address important issues in the Emory community. We recognize the value of increased open dialogue with administrators and community leaders about social and political issues relevant to the Emory student body.
Tilwa’s previous experience within SGA has shown a consistent dedication to students’ interests. During December’s discussion over the controversial fee split bill, Tilwa co-proposed to table the conversation about the changes in order to allow more debate and education about the issue. While the bill passed anyway, Tilwa’s efforts to increase debate and deliberation both inside and outside of SGA is notable.
Tilwa has stated an interest in improving the value of an Emory degree by strengthening networking connections between Emory’s undergraduates, graduates and alumni. We feel that this could be a valuable effort, if successful, since such networks can improve educational opportunities and job placement after college as well as alumni donations and interaction with the University.
The Wheel believes that Tilwa’s concrete, feasible ideas and steady advocacy work for students make him a very capable and exciting candidate for the vice presidency of SGA.
The Wheel reluctantly endorses College junior and current College Council (CC) Treasurer Omair Kazi for CC President. While we feel he is the most fit to lead CC in a productive direction, we are concerned about his lack of experience and ideas outside of fiscal policy. We hope that, if elected, Kazi will work closely with CC Vice Presidential Candidate Alyssa Weinstein to develop more concrete ideas.
Although Kazi’s ideas may be limited in scope, they are more concrete and constructive than his opponent, College junior and current CC vice president Adam Chan. Furthermore, Kazi’s leadership style, which, he described, focuses on personal relationships with his colleagues, makes him a comparatively better candidate.
Kazi wants CC members to understand their primary role of serving and supporting student organizations through funding. As current CC treasurer, Kazi’s strength is monetary policy. Additionally, as the former treasurer of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and the Pakistani Student Association (PSA), he has experienced the budget processing from the side of student organizations. As president, he intends to make this budget process friendlier to these organizations.
Kazi wants to shift CC’s mentality of seeing the funds they allocate as CC’s money to viewing it as the students’ money. Consequently, Kazi believes they should treat members of student organizations with greater respect.
Despite our concern about Kazi’s failure to address issues outside of finances, we nonetheless acknowledge the importance of strong fiscal policies. Through the allocation of funds, CC has the power to impact the lives of many students. We therefore recognize the value of Kazi’s experience as treasurer.
While the Wheel endorses Kazi as the better of the two CC presidential candidates, we do so with great hesitation. Though Kazi has strong fiscal ideas, we feel that the CC president must be knowledgeable about all issues that affect the Emory community.
We strongly encourage Kazi, if elected, to work closely with potential CC vice president Alyssa Weinstein to implement many of her concrete and innovative ideas.
College sophomore and current sophomore legislator Alyssa Weinstein is organized and committed to making a change on the College Council (CC) executive board. In the year that she has served, Weinstein has increased the social media presence of CC and is working toward a bike share program with the help of Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair. Due to her commitment and initiative, the Wheel endorses Weinstein as a qualified candidate for CC vice president.
In Weinstein’s short time as sophomore legislator, she has already identified the structural problems of CC, such as the inefficiency of the general body meetings (GBMs) as well as the communication between student organizations and legislators. She plans to improve efficiency and communication as CC vice president, and we are confident in her ability to do so.
Weinstein intends to increase communication and collaboration between the executives and legislators of CC. She plans to send the minutes from meetings to the entire CC body. We feel that with her experience as a legislator, this opportunity affords Weinstein a unique position to identify with other student legislators and to better communicate their concerns and desires to the executive board.
Weinstein proposes a number of unique initiatives and concrete ideas, which she plans to implement, if elected. The bike share program and her plans to address problems with SafeRide provide a few of the many examples of her determination and leadership that we at the Wheel believe she will bring to CC.
Additionally, she wants to increase communication between CC and all students through social media and online promotion. Weinstein already has a strong grasp upon the communication problems that CC has been experiencing and is prepared to address those issues if elected.
We feel that Weinstein has proven to be a worthy candidate for the role of CC vice president because she realizes the potential CC has to address the concerns of the student body. Her focus on listening to student concerns and acting upon them combined with her experience as a legislator gives the Wheel confidence in endorsing Weinstein for the position of CC vice president.
For her focus on concrete programming ideas and increasing the impact the Student Programming Council (SPC) has on the Emory experience, the Wheel endorses Niyeti Shah for the position of SPC President. Due to her experience, energy and ability to turn her vision and ideas into a reality, Shah is clearly fit for the job.
As the president of a University-wide organization, Shah plans to increase the amount of programming on campus and to reach out to graduate students in order to create events that more fully represent the student body.
Aside from the larger events SPC is responsible for, such as Dooley’s Week and Swoop’s Week events, Shah believes that SPC should reach out to a greater number of students by putting on smaller SPC events throughout the year through partnerships with other student organizations. These small events would be a part of SPC with Love, an initiative that promotes random acts of kindness events that Shah helped create. Shah believes that these smaller events, like bringing King of Pops to campus, setting up a hot chocolate bar and giving out massages in the library, are important ways to engage the student body.
Shah wants to expand SPC’s impact beyond its own events by partnering with other student organizations. She hopes to help promote and finance events that may not otherwise get funded, and we believe that using diverse student organizations will help reach marginalized voices of the Emory community, like graduate students and international students.
We encourage Shah to consider her opponent Michael Nathin’s ideas on making SPC more financially efficient and accountable, potentially using sponsorships from local businesses. This may be one way in which SPC can increase its impact on campus.
Shah’s experience within SPC, where she is currently the special events chair and previously chaired the Think Pink 5K Color Run, makes her a strong candidate for the presidency. As special events chair, she created SPC with Love and implemented a post-exam stress-relieving event with the Medical School. These past accomplishments indicate that she will be able to successfully put on more SPC events throughout the year and reach out to more students. We are convinced that she has the energy and passion necessary to implement her ideas.
We at the Wheel endorse Michelle Feldman for Student Programming Council (SPC) Vice President. Feldman currently serves in SPC as the Dooley’s Week Co-Chair and has tremendous experience and knowledge of the organization.
As part of Feldman’s initiatives, she helped expand “SPC with Love,” an event that focuses on random acts of kindness toward students, like massages in the library. She intends to focus on creating a unified and inclusive College community while also bridging a relationship between Emory’s undergraduate and graduate students. Feldman has already taken the initiative to achieve these goals by meeting with the leaders of Emory’s diverse campus networks, like the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services (OMPS), Emory Pride, Greek councils and the Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA).
Feldman also intends to create strong communication between Emory students and SPC by developing a SPC open-doors system where students can share their opinions and feedback. We would like to encourage Feldman to pursue these efforts and suggest that such a system be located in an easily accessible and visible area on campus where there is a lot of student presence.
Ultimately, we feel Feldman’s commitment to creating a more unified and inclusive Emory community is one that our SPC Presidential candidate endorsee, Niyeti Shah, is equally dedicated to. Having a SPC President and Vice President who share similar goals for the organization is an advantage for the Emory community as a whole, as students may have greater trust and faith that the SPC representatives will work together and cohesively towards accomplishing goals that serve the Emory community’s best interests.