Meet The Candidates

Academic Affairs

Connor Booher

Experience:

I’m qualified to serve as a Senator on the Academic Affairs Committee because…

  • I served as an elected honor council representative, giving me exposure to serving on a student-run body

  • I started my previous school’s academic advisory council, giving me experience creating and implementing academic policies

  • I worked at a legal aid firm, allowing me insight into many of the inequities that impact our world—and by extension the education of a Duke student.

These qualifications make me uniquely fit to be a skilled, capable, and empathetic member of the Academic Affairs committee.

Policy:

  1. Have you ever checked Rate My Professor and been frustrated by the lack of plentiful, helpful information? I want to update and expand Duke’s course evaluation system to give students access to important information about course and professor quality, rigor, and much more. 

  2. This semester, more courses than ever before have been designated Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory in order to combat the educational disparities stemming from the pandemic. Next semester, though, such inequalities will still exist. Thus, as a Senator, I will work to expand Duke’s S/U designation.

  3. Covid precautions have largely limited access to campus libraries and other study spaces in spite of the well-documented adverse psychological effects of frequent isolation. In conjunction with the Campus Life Committee, I will advocate for additional study spaces being created throughout campus.

What else? As your Senator of AA, I will work to address whatever academic-related problems arise.

Nicole Rosenzweig

Experience:

I served on student government all four years of high school. I was the Chair of the Committee of Academic Affairs for three years in high school Congress and Parliamentarian of the Executive Board of Congress my senior year. As an elected representative, I promoted transparency among students and administrators, planned Wellness Week, shaped grading policies, and assisted with the transition to virtual learning. I also served as Captain of Mock Trial and President of the Community Learning Partnership tutoring program during high school. These experiences have enabled me to advocate for others and enhance my leadership skills.

Policy:

My main policy goals can be broken down into three central tenets: transparency, support, and diversity. Firstly, I aim to promote transparency among administrators, students, and faculty. I will achieve this by working to distribute up-to-date COVID-19 policies, enhance course evaluations through a standardized system, increase course cost transparency, and create a campus study spaces map. I also seek to expand support resources, especially for first-year students as we navigate this difficult transition. I will work to facilitate access to mental health resources on East and West Campus and establish an inter-class major mentoring program for academic guidance specific to first-year students’ interests. Lastly, I strive to make the Duke curriculum more diverse and help inform students on multicultural perspectives and issues of racial injustice. By furthering existing initiatives and starting new programs, I hope to promote transparency, support, and diversity in the Duke community.

Louis Hu

Experience:

Hi, my name is Louis Hu, a first-year Pratt student, and I’m here to help you make the most of your time at Duke. This fall, I am running to be your senator for Academic Affairs. Back in high school, I served as President for my school’s National Honor Society chapter and organized charitable events such as making cards for veterans on Veterans Day or decorating pumpkins for retirement homes on Thanksgiving. As my high school’s Future Business Leaders of America’s club President, I focused on organizing fundraisers such as a donut stand during the Main Street parade event. 

Policy:

Moving on from high school, I hope to make substantial academic life changes at Duke. First, I want to improve student-faculty and student-upperclassman interaction ten-folds. I hope to make a platform that allows first-year students to easily sign-up for casual meetings with professors or upperclassmen of their major/interests, on zoom, or in small, socially distanced groups outside. I will raise awareness for these events through Duke's email list to keep everyone aware. Second, I want to create an application to allow the viewing of one's grade easier. Too many websites have been thrown at us, and we need a simple app to view our grades. Third, I want to improve Dukehub's user interface for a less painful experience to look and sign-up for classes. Piecing together one's schedule takes way too long than it should be, and we deserve a better-organized interface.

John Lee

Experience:

I’ve served in numerous positions that I feel qualify me to serve as an effective senator. In high school, I was a four-year member of student government, working directly with the school administration to implement measures that I drafted, including a new school schedule designed to reduce stress and an estimated time commitment chart for extracurriculars meant to help students with time management. Besides student government, I also have experience in various leadership roles such as the Vice President of my state champion speech and debate team, editor of my school newspaper, and representative to the school wellness committee.

Policy:

In the short term, I will fight for policy that prioritizes student wellness while not sacrificing academic efficacy. In light of the fact that many students—both on- and off-campus—are learning remotely, I would push for guidelines such as built-in breaks for Zoom lectures and required provision of asynchronous resources. Problematic decisions already in place, such as the arbitrary pass/fail designation, will be reformed. In addition to the classes themselves, I’d be looking to expand library resources, including instituting a library service that allows students to rent out scanned digital copies of books. 

In the long term, I have a multitude of ideas across academic affairs I’d want to pursue. Specifically, two of the most important to me are making the transition to college easier for freshmen by increasing availability of information and pushing for a wider berth of classes dealing with intersectional issues. 

Miranda Liu

Experience:

  • Started an afterschool SAT/college application workshop at our school (which is in Taiwan, which speaks Mandarin)

  • Participated in a nationalwide research program (at Academia Sinica) and mentored/advised underclassmen on how to get research opportunities

  • Participated in our school's FRC team and served as outreach

  • Held classwide afterschool study sessions for midterms and finals

  • Served as a science tutor at a one-week summer camp for rural students in Taiwan

  • Did summer internship at a cancer lab at Academia Sinica

Policy:

  • Establish Zoom-friendly spaces (with outlets, adequate backgrounds, etc) around campus

  • Establish study groups and discussion groups based on regions for remote students and also provide asynchronous resources and digital textbooks for international students

  • Establish an interactive course builder that clarifies what classes are needed for all majors/minors/certificates

  • Make clear self-assessment test for courses that can be replaced with APs so students can better evaluate whether not to use AP credit.

  • Unify Duke's online resources. Including having training for faculty on how to use Sakai, Gradescope, and Piazza and having a central webpage directory pointing out where Duke's resources (academic/mental health/physical health) and opportunities (club/research/internship/volunteer) are.

Sachin Shah

Experience:

Hi everyone, I’m Sachin, and I’d like to serve as an Academic Affairs Senator. Here’s my experience:

  • I debated for seven years, meaning that I can advocate for you and communicate effectively.

  • I served in leadership in high school for debate, Red Cross Club, and AI Club, so I know that I have the necessary skills to serve on DSG.

  • I spent a lot of my time in high school volunteering, and I really enjoy helping people.

  • I have experience with mentoring, so I am prepared to lead in an academic setting.

Policy:

I’d like to implement the following changes:

  • Grade transparency: It can be really frustrating when you don’t have easy access to grades, so I’d like to make it easier to view them.

  • Stress Management: College is hard, and it’s even harder this year because of all of the COVID-19 restrictions. I’d like to help students effectively reduce stress in the following ways

  • Grade flexibility: I would like to make the grading method process (Letter to P/F) smoother.

  • Relaxation programming: Even if we can’t have breaks, we can still take a break from studying. I’d like to create accessible options to help students pause.

  • Upperclassmen Mentoring: I want to create a system that makes it easy for younger students to contact upperclassmen for advice on what classes to take and how to prepare for them. I think this initiative will help make class selection and life in general easier!

Naman Parikh

Experience:

Confidence: Debate, Model UN, Youth Parliament Conference Leader

Character: Ran a free cotton mask distribution campaign for underserved communities during COVID-19 and distributed 35000+ masks. Worked with the local mayor and municipal corporation.

Competence: Founder of 1 commercial and 2 social student-run start-ups (one is a web-based movement for social inclusion of the differently-abled; the other uses technology for environmental conservation in the community). Recognized as a Young Changemaker by International Ashoka Foundation.

Collaboration: Student Government representative throughout middle and high school. Organized and crowdfunded one of the largest Indian drum circles congregating abled and differently-abled communities.

Policy:

  1. Live Asynchronous Classes would involve classes on Panopto, which when accessed by people in the same timeframe, would enable them to interact with each other using text or video chat.

  2. Increased S/U course provisions will help freshmen learn more freely and reduce their burden amidst such exceptional circumstances.

  3. Creative virtual study spaces would help students simulate a study environment by navigating and interacting through virtual rooms.

  4. Insightful online game tournaments would allow students to destress on weekends while getting an opportunity to build new peer connections.

  5. An extended VLearn model would include a centralized database with contact details of interested upperclassmen provided to freshmen in order to foster more qualitative academic connections.

  6. Grievance Portal for Monetary Academic Issues could be created for students receiving financial aid. The portal will register and connect their concerns with the financial aid office and other relevant upperclassmen.

Chase Barclay

Experience:

Having served as Class President for two years and as Student Body President my senior year, I am well prepared to be impactful in the role of Senator of Academic Affairs. My experience, including the coordination of a student walkout and becoming the outspoken voice of the senior class during quarantine,

has made me a better leader and taught me how to effectively represent a wide variety of people with different interests, backgrounds, and beliefs. I am committed to voicing and fighting for the interests of all Duke students, expressing your priorities, and effecting positive change in the Duke community.

Policy:

Creating a Syllabus Database: Establishing a centralized location where students can access professors’ previously used syllabi would allow students to explore and learn more about classes before enrolling.

Expanding the Number of S/U Courses: Introductory classes should be an opportunity to explore fields of interest rather than classes where grades are constantly top of mind. 

Continue Working with DSG to Make Election Day part of a Major Assignments Black Out Period: It is essential that all students can voice their opinions without having to worry about balancing school work with their right to vote.

Comprehensive Introduction to Sakai and DukeHub: When many of us started the school year, we had not learned much about Sakai and struggled to navigate DukeHub. To help educate incoming students about DukeHub and Sakai, I would work to create a comprehensive introduction to these websites.

To learn more, visit sites.google.com/view/chase4dsg/

Kristy Feinberg

Experience:

As President of the freshman class’ Student Council, I learned how to delegate tasks in order to become a more synergistic entity. As NHS President, I created a one-on-one peer tutoring program by encouraging students across academic clubs to share their expertise. As an elected member of the Conduct Review Board, I joined with representatives from several academic institutions in order to evaluate and refine our Honor Code and academic policies. As a student representative on the Disciplinary Panel, our sometimes disparate views only led to compromise and more creative, effective solutions regarding how to proceed with an infraction.

Policy:

Given COVID-19, we are all being challenged to make safe decisions despite the natural pull to socialize. Although social distancing is imperative, given our collective brain-power, we can devise means to continue to develop bonds and grow from one another. A virtual tea with our professors or a zoom game night with our peers and professors would provide a fun means to build friendships.

Less than a year ago, Dukies easily engaged in powerful discussions in and out of the classroom. Currently, student and professorial connections are stretched around the globe. As we tackle learning and bonding across widely different time zones, creative solutions are of great importance. Given our intellectual prowess, techie know-how and leadership, I would like to bring together our talents to more effectively address our global need to connect with professors, financial aid, academic advisors and upperclassmen.  

Melany Yeraileen Barocio Fuentes

Experience:

I have leadership experience from being captain of three of my high school’s academic teams. My public speaking experience comes from forensics (my school’s version of speech) and my political background comes from involvement with my school’s Young Democrats. I also have experience in creating and carrying out new projects, I created an event for middle school girls to learn about body image and destigmatize the body image issues that plague many adolescent girls.

Policy:

For months I had hoped Duke would be a utopia of sorts, a place where outside issues didn’t exist; however, this is not true. My policy would aim to make sure everyone can succeed, no matter their background. I would like to expand previous DSG projects around mental health to include monthly screenings and make sure everyone who needs help gets that help. Implementing “sensitivity training” for staff and students would also be a priority in order to foster a safe and comfortable environment; this is especially important considering how many students participate in community outreach programs. Fair financial aid policies and greater information availability regarding this process is something I would work towards, as well as making sure the financial aid department itself is interconnected.

I hope you will consider voting for me so I can help make sure everyone can succeed here. Thank you for your consideration.

Elizabeth Lee

Experience:

In high school, I was President of National Honor Society, selected as a Character Building Facilitator (CBF), and asked to serve as a Teaching Assistant for AP US History. Through these leadership roles, my responsibilities included helping to lead numerous school-wide events that would benefit the school community and beyond, developing stimulating classroom lessons and activities intended to foster strong character in middle schoolers, and assisting faculty with academic-related tasks. I have developed strong interpersonal skills and know how to collaborate with students, faculty and administrators in developing plans that effectively reach their target audience while making a lasting impact.

Policy:

Summer opportunities: Many students are concerned about how COVID will affect the opportunities they are presented with this upcoming summer. I plan to work alongside administrators in ensuring that students are still provided with an adequate number of internships, lab positions, on-campus jobs, and other opportunities.

Extended library hours: Libraries are crucial study spots, but their hours remain limited. I will push for the libraries to be open 24/7, or at minimum, on the weekends.

Mental health awareness: Stress and anxiety are common; I plan to advocate for mental health resources to be more readily available to students and for such services to be equally accessible to students on West and East.

Increased student-faculty interaction: With online learning, bonding with faculty members can be difficult. I would like to develop ways for students to get to know faculty better, perhaps through online group Zooms or socially distanced meetings

Campus life

Matthew O'Stricker

​Experience:

  • Policy-Making: Serve as a member of the Antiracism Task Force of the Woodward Academy Governing Board and aid in creating policies and procedures to address accountability, disciplinary actions, and equity for all in the school community.

  • School Leadership

    • President of the Student Government Association: worked to create more transparency between the Student Government Association and the other students and faculty.

    • Planned and facilitated a school volleyball tournament to raise money and awareness for the Non-Profit Love Beyond Walls. 

    • Founded a high school podcast called Eagle Exchange

    • Provided a platform that allows students to express their thoughts on important matters. 

Policy:

  • Duke Links: Program that will aid in unifying and building lasting connections between 1st years and the upperclassmen. Site will feature various interest categories that will allow underclassmen to post requests to connect with upperclassmen who have similar interests.

  • ¡Dukeapedia!: A site for all information regarding Duke's Resources available to students.

  • Continuing work to provide college students, with cheaper Lyft and/or Uber rides back to campus.

  • Expanding mental health services and hiring more staff to support survivors of gender and sexual violence.

  • DSG Sponsored Spike Ball Tournament Fundraiser: all proceeds will be donated to the Durham Public Schools Foundation to "help prevent students from falling behind. The system has repurposed their school buses to deliver meals and remote learning resources," as a way to aid the students in the Durham area.

  • Virtual Duke Hub: Site to help virtual students connect with one another amidst these unique conditions.

  • Open Courts!

https://sites.google.com/view/matt-for-dsg/home?authuser=0

Sophie Smith

​Experience:

​Experience with leadership? You name it, I have got it! My plethora of experiences includes but is not limited to: Student Government (Class Representative, Secretary, and Co-President), Mock Trial (Secretary, Vice-President, and President), Yearbook (Junior Editor, Co-Editor), and Pre-Med Society (Co-founder, Secretary). All of which constitute three to four years of committed engagement, active communication, and effective organization. From my campaign with the NYC Queens District Attorney against the illegal shackling of incarcerated mothers to my installation of new Elkay water fountains, one thing stands clear: leadership is not just a flashy title to me but a commitment to action.

Policy:

​The policies of any DSG Senator under Campus Life should reflect the current climate of campus and how best to improve the place that we are beginning to call “home.” Here are policies that I plan to implement as YOUR senator, which are open to any and all suggestions: (a) an appreciation week to thank housekeeping, kitchen and maintenance staff, and faculty, (b) an extension of dining and bus hours to satisfy those late-night cravings and facilitate safe, late-night transportation, (c) the installation of new, colored printers, compatible with all systems, to minimize difficulties, (d) updated selections on food, such as permanent chocolate chip pancakes/French toast at Marketplace or chocolate ice cream at The Loop, as well as a few other policies, which can be found on my website: https://sites.google.com/view/sophiesmithfordsg/home.

Brandon Qin

​Experience:

I believe my experience has equipped me with the necessary skills of being a Senator: recognizing issues and proposing solutions. 

My time as Round Rock Independent School District Student Advisory Board President has given me experience with the process of implementing changes in policies through reforming the district-wide Student Code of Conduct to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes across all student groups. 

My position as my high school’s Student Council President has given me invaluable experience with leading socials and service projects. My service project, Warrior Walk, placed in the top ten service projects in Texas. 

Policy:

I hope to help foster a more vibrant, healthy, and memorable experience at Duke University through: a weekly freshman newsletter, a Big/Little Residential College system, Dining Plan Reform, and International Student Outreach. 

The implementation of a streamlined weekly newsletter regarding freshman specific announcements would help first-year students keep up with all of the COVID updates, club recruitments, and mandatory items.

The residence life can be transformed through the implementation of a residential college system. Groups of West Campus residence houses would become the “Big” to a corresponding East Campus neighborhood, which would become the “Little”.

Working with the Dean of International Student Outreach, social and professional networking opportunities specifically for remote international students in international time zones would help remote students build community. 

Allocating 7% of dining plan points to be available for use at local dining options in the Durham area would increase the diversity in dining options.

Isaiah Hamilton

​Experience:

I had the privilege of serving as my highschool’s Senate President where I led projects to renovate a bikeshed into a student studyspace, help develop a pipeline between my school and students of color from across the state, lay the foundation for the chartering of a Student Government Association on our future sister campus opening in 2021, provide transportation to standardized testing sites for students, create and host the inaugural homecoming week of my schools’ history, and even charter the protocol for virtual student government affairs once the pandemic forced us home. 

Policy:

My policy goals are centered around 6 main initiatives: improving signage and mapping around campus, promoting better cultural awareness across Duke amongst student organizations and campus life, getting students more oftenly engaged with the black Durham community and to spread educational awareness about Durham's black history, organizing events (either socially distanced or once able to do so) to promote a more welcoming and friendly atmosphere on campus, working and advocating to make all Duke buildings ADA accessible, and striving to make Duke a more sustainable campus through increased recycling and composting locations. 

Ganeesh Varadarajan

​Experience:

My name is Ganeesh Varadarajan and I’m from Cary, North Carolina. In high school, I was the Class Secretary as well as a Class Representative in student government. I led my school’s Prom and Homecoming Committee. Furthermore, I have organized numerous successful charity concerts with my band by bringing in local NC performers and marketing the events on social media. This will be valuable when organizing events on campus this year.

Policy:

Because the Freshmen are split between East and West Campus rather than being together on East Campus, I would like to institute an East & West Freshman Meet & Greet at Marketplace. I would like to give the Freshman on both campuses an extra swipe at Marketplace so that they can meet people that they haven’t met before from the opposite campus. Another policy that I would like to implement is having in-person socially distant meetups for people that have an online zoom class. This way people will be able to better connect with people in their classes and get to know them better. The third policy I have is to institute weekly zoom meetups where online freshman students can meet in-person freshman students.

Brandon Lopez

​Experience:

I have been in board meetings with my high school on where the newly received funding should be allocated and how it could benefit the school. I am also a part of the Quad Council and will work to make Edens better and more friendly than it is now. I was also proud to be a part of a board full of minorities to be able to discuss how my high school can change policies to become more inclusive. Wanting to improve Campus Life has been around since I was in high school.

Policy:

  • Create a program where people can send letters and stay connected to those that are studying off-campus. We know how it feels to be alone because of COVID. This program allows so that off-campus students can have a sense that Duke students care about them more than they anticipated, and it’ll make them know they have a friend for when they return once COVID goes away. 

  • Create competitions between the houses much like the houses in Harry Potter. Certain times it can even go to making it be West Campus vs East Campus and I am 100% open to ideas

  • WE NEED DUKE PRIDE! Everyone has a story to tell and I feel like duke should have a daily shout out where a student can submit something they’re proud of achieving and have it be shown so that we all can express how talented the students here at Duke are!

Anu Aggarwal

​Experience:

In terms of organizational experience, I served as President of my high school’s Spanish National Honor Society and established local Spanish classes that made the language more accessible. I also led the Slam Poetry Club and organized monthly poetry slams that helped people bond with others through artistic expression. I feel that my greatest strength, however, is my ability to connect with others and perceive how they’re feeling. Around campus these past few weeks, I have done my best to remember everyone’s names and introduce and include people in as many ways as I can because I know how socially isolating it can be. 

Policy:

Reinstall the furniture in the common rooms  

  • Allow students more places to study other than the library or their rooms 

  • Encourage safer and easier socialization since the lack of common room furniture leads to more students hanging out in dorm rooms 

Provide access to all residential buildings 

  • Allows students to meet a more diverse group of people since many of us are only able to meet people within our own building 

  • Meeting new people in common rooms is one of the easiest ways to make friends 

  • Gives access to recreational activities like pool, ping pong, massage chairs that are available in other buildings 

Cross-campus activities 

  • Scavenger hunts across both campus to familiarize students with the other campus and lessen the East/West social divide 

  • Team-oriented games like Hostage that encourage bonding through problem solving and also expose students to less well-known areas of campus 

Zoe Ali

​Experience:

What qualifies me for this role? Besides the classic roles in my schools Advanced Placement recruitment process, and organizing local service projects, I am also heavily involved in Louisiana Girls' State. A week-long mock government leadership program dedicated to raising up the next generation of women in government. I am also the co-founder of 24 Tutoring, a free online tutoring outreach myself and almost 130 other members of the Class of 2024 started to make the transition to online learning more palatable. My hope is that this shows that not only will I come up with ideas to help our student body but carry them out as well.

Policy:

Before coming to campus, I had the amazing opportunity to connect and cultivate relationships with several members of the Duke Class of 2024. Through these interactions, I learned that not only is this class full of diversity in ethnicity, background, and experience but also interests and activism. Assuming the role of a Campus Life DSG senator would allow me to facilitate the connection of the entire class as a united front in this especially trying time and strengthen it for the next four years here at Duke. To nurture and espouse the resilient spirit that carried so many of us to Duke in the first place. To embrace our diversity as a group while also allowing opportunities to grow as individuals. To enact changes that make Duke the safest and most connected university on the East coast. To make the best memories and make the time we spend here truly the most exciting and rewarding of our lives.

Durham regional affairs

Zoe Tishaev

Experience

I have served in the student government of my high school for three years as Senator, and my senior year as President. During my administration, we redefined our interaction with the greater county-wide student government, tripling our representation on the school-system-wide level. Our SGA took an official position and testified for the socioeconomic desegregation of our school cluster, successfully pushing for the first of what we hope will be a series of boundary changes in the school system. I also served on the county-wide student government as Community Relations Director, connecting students to advocacy all over the county.

Policy:

  • Thousands of students on campus do not have the privilege of owning a personal automobile. We will work with GoDurham and other transit authorities and bodies servicing the surrounding region to ensure that transit, including public buses, works for the students of Duke and can get them where they need to go in a timely and efficient manner.

  • We will create a form (similar to DukeList) that publicizes jobs in the immediate Durham area. These can be small jobs, like a cashier at a local grocery store, or other opportunities available.

  • Working with the Campus Life committee and Swing NC, we will accompany all voter registration efforts with campus-wide information campaigns about the congressional, city, and state district races.

  • We will work on regularly hosting events beyond the walls of Duke, making Durham feel like a natural extension of campus rather than a nebulous community beyond.

Mark Kabai

Experience

For the past two years I have been involved in political organizing in NYC, my hometown. When the pandemic hit, I led the effort in creating a volunteer army of 250 to provide support to residents and also help them register to vote by mail. In high school, I led my school’s first ever voter drive and consistently facilitated community volunteer opportunities as NHS Vice President. Now in North Carolina, I’m working with SEEDS NC, an educational nonprofit to help develop their outreach efforts.

Policy:

  • We need to ease the gap between Duke and the surrounding communities by providing students subsidies for bikes, skateboards, and other personal transportation options.

  • We need to ensure that early voting options are well advertised and are staggered to be safe for students to make sure everyone feels comfortable when voting in person.

  • Getting help with college applications is difficult given the current pandemic. I’d develop the SLUNCH (Student Lunch) program to connect a willing

  • Duke student to a Durham area high school student to provide one-on-one college advice.

  • We need to invite Durham food vendors to set up trucks and stands on campus, providing more food options and supporting small businesses amid the economic impacts of the pandemic.

  • I’m still 100% committed to helping my Campus Life colleagues open the tennis courts and create more safe physical events, among my other previously advertised policies.

Equity and outreach

Brooks Finby

Experience:

In terms of leadership positions, I served as the Co-President of my high school’s Model UN Club, a leader of the Spanish Club, and I led a few meetings in my school’s diversity club, Mosaic. Recently, I have been working with my high school to implement the 13th documentary into the history curriculum. This past summer, I initiated a series of Zoom discussions on race, police brutality, and social justice in America that I will continue with and expand while at Duke.

Policy:

  1. Create a series of zoom discussions on pressing social issues (such as police brutality, immigration, sexual assault, etc.) in order to normalize having a dialogue on difficult social issues, raise awareness, and promote activism. 

  2. Streamline media on the various events and opportunities relating to diversity, activism, service, and politics both on campus and in Durham so they can all be found in one easily accessible place, allowing more students to get involved.

  3. Elevate the concerns and needs of Duke workers, providing them with the resources they may require and addressing any issues that they encounter with students.

  4. Act as a liaison between the student body and administration on issues related to equity & outreach, with a focus on addressing instances of discrimination that often go ignored.

Charla Gentry

Experience:

As a black woman, who is also a first-generation and low-income student, I have first-hand experience with the injustice that occurs in society. I am well-equipped to serve as your Equity and Outreach senator because discrimination is not a distant term to me. Although I did not serve in any political position at my high school, I possess interpersonal skills that will help me serve effectively as a senator. I’ve held leadership roles ranging from supplemental instructor to the editor-in-chief of my school’s yearbook. I also demonstrated leadership skills by protesting and advocating for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Policy:

Although Duke already has hotline services, I envision them with more specificity. I want to propose a program where students can serve as peer mental health resources. Sometimes we need to speak to people who have been in our shoes, and this program is the opportunity to give that resource to others. Low-income, first-generation, minority, LGBTQIA, international, immigrant, and other students will be represented. Participating in this program would be an anonymous process, where information said during the calls is not disclosed.  

I also plan to propose a project where people from different backgrounds can speak about their experiences in an open space. In this program, all people from the Duke community would be welcome to discuss their personal experience, whether it involves their religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or gender identification. We fear what we don't understand. So, let's try to learn more about the things we don’t understand. 

Kai Chen

Experience:

I have yet to gain cogent experiences to student body government, but over the summer I have been actively trying to bring students in Duke Class of 2024 through various means--primarily through Instagram. I have facilitated Duke students in their registration, bookbagging, and moving process by providing them with video tutorials on class Instagram stories, and conducted multiple polls on the page to bring transparency regarding issues such as returning to campus. Thus, my experience in running the class page demonstrates my capabilities in building a community for Duke University and catering to the needs of my constituents.

Policy:

My ideas could be summarized as “Unity in Diversity”. Duke fosters an extremely progressive environment for its students, which pressures students to make progressive comments when they might not necessarily reflect their actual ideas. Education is the single best way to eliminate those hidden biases and microaggressions thereof. So, instead of pushing the responsibilities of educating the Duke student body of the diversity experience to students of marginalized backgrounds, I believe we should be actively educating and improving ourselves of the necessity of diversity. My solution is to work with film students at DSG and create a video series that is made by Duke students of all backgrounds to share their experiences. Each month, I will reach out to a different department regarding a specific marginalized group (LGBT, Race, Religion) and obtain more information necessary to increase awareness by using flyers, posters, and social media platforms to partner with them.

Services and sustainability

Michael Habib

Experience:

Hello, my name is Michael Habib, and I’m excited to be running for Services and Sustainability this fall. I’m a proud member of Duke, the Pratt School of Engineering, and even more importantly, the beautiful, humble abode that I am so very blessed to call home: GA. I’ve had a lengthy career in politics fighting for the addition of snickers to my high school’s Snack Shack while serving as Treasurer; in addition I’ve served on the Honor Council, defending my classmates’ obvious violations of cheating for the sake of making the council more than just a puppet organization. 

Policy:

As I bring my expertise on the importance of snacking and arguing for argument’s sake to the higher standards of Duke, I look to make substantial changes to issues that matter just a little more… First, I will work to make more athletic activities available to students while following Covid-19 guidelines, starting with opening the tennis courts to elevate students’ well-being. Second, I will work with the administration to start virtual campaigns on the importance of recycling, which has become even more important with the amount of disposable waste this year due to Covid-19. Third, I will work alongside anticipated ESG president Ben Perry to open bus routes to the Pod, as first-year engineering students often struggle to make the long trek to EGR 101 everyday. Lastly, I will ask the student body on a weekly basis how we, together, can make Duke better. 

Maxwell Wyatt

Experience:

In terms of service and sustainability, I have been working as an intern for a company in Florida called 4Ocean for over 3 years now. Between trash cleanup on the beach and promoting smarter use of water, I have had tons of experience with making a community more sustainable. As for overall leadership, I founded both the American Sign Language Club and the Teen Tutoring Club at my school. I was also the vice president of Key Club, helping to lead multiple fundraisers around the school. These experiences gave me the leadership capabilities needed to be a member of DSG. 

Policy:

For services around campus, my goals for this year are to gradually open the Brodie gym (including the tennis courts) for reservation times and to create a more accessible source of “snacking” on East Campus. For instance, under GA used to be a smoothie bar. I would love to recreate something of this nature for a quick and easy food source on east. Also, for Pratt students I would love for Duke to get a bus route directly from East campus to science drive. As for sustainability, I first of all plan to put in place the removal of plastic containers at marketplace. Also, there should be more outside seating arrangements on campus so that kids are not forced to squeeze into small benches and common rooms, which can cause the spread of COVID-19.

Zoe Macomber

 Experience:

Everyone has something they care about just that little bit extra. In high school, concerned by my hometown’s sustainability initiatives, I conducted a research project on Charlotte’s post-consumer food waste and met with the city’s Planning Director. Now at Duke, I’m part of Environmental Alliance with their podcast, Operation Climate; I’m auditing a house course where we discuss environmental justice every week.

Sustainability is and has been my passion, so I am running to be your senator for Services and Sustainability: 2020 has demanded your attention in 2,020 directions. Let me give you one less thing to worry about.

 

Policy:

I will approach the intersection of services and sustainability in 3 ways:

  1. Current student-based initiatives. What you care about matters. Having your voice heard is as easy as filling out my google form and I will advocate for your concerns. If you want to be involved further, I involve you in the process, or you can leave it for me to handle. First and foremost, I am your senator.

  2. Current institutional remedies. Sustainability goals MUST involve solutions at the institutional level. I look forward to passing legislation that makes your individual concerns Duke’s responsibility.

  3. Future institutional problem-solving. Sustainability as an issue will not end when my term does, or even when our class graduates. Beyond an ongoing effort by individuals to lead sustainable lives, we need to leave a legacy of sustainability.

To learn more, follow @zoe4sustainability on Instagram 

Shreya Joshi

 Experience:

In high school, I served on the boards for two years of both the speech and debate team and Science National Honor Society (SNHS),
as President and Treasurer respectively. Being an officer in debate meant weekly meetings to decide practice schedules, socials, any form of outreach or work that could be done by the team to give back to our community. In SNHS, my focus was on the sustainability
efforts at my school, by reforming the recycling programs and overhauling water fountains, where I successfully campaigned to install water bottle refill stations and prevent the waste from plastic water bottles.

 

Policy:

I want to facilitate “town hall” meetings, where students can ask questions and inform the administration on how policies are being received. I also want to create a “suggestion box,” where students can offer suggestions to the administration to keep us safer in more efficient and enjoyable ways. Students are policing each other, which creates animosity, especially among the freshman class when we are trying to become friends. A more effective reporting method would prevent that and be safer in the long run. I also want to push for the buses to run later, as it’s much safer and

something students seem to want. On sustainability, food containers are compostable, except students don’t have an accessible way to compost it. The only place would be in the hallway in WU, except no one finishes their food in WU. There needs to be more access to composting, beyond just one building.

 

Aashna Sawhney

 Experience:

I have been involved in student government before, serving as class president to advocate for my peers and their opinions. I have also served as the president of the student council for a National NGO (human trafficking awareness), through which I have helped outline and research testimony for the House or Representatives, led students in organizing annual state-wide conferences, overseen schools' implementation of policy and events, led social media initiatives and events like documentary screenings. I was also involved in my school’s Environmental Club and Eco-Schools Leadership Initiative, where I taught elementary students about environmental issues through hands-on activities. 

 

Policy:

  • Instituting competitions between the dorms by showing them their energy consumption, water use, amount of "green certificates" completed and then whichever dorm is the most "green" wins a discount for milkshakes at the Loop (or something you want, let me know in my ideas form!)

  • Creating a goal to obtain 50% of our food from local areas and ensuring our meat is sustainable by partnering with the Global Animal Partnership, an organization which labels meat products on a scale of 1-5 with respect to sustainability, with higher levels indicating greater animal welfare. Expand initiatives like “Meatless Monday” by creating more vegan and vegetarian options. We could also put up signs in Marketplace and the Brodhead center enumerating how much carbon and how many tons of water are saved by choosing certain food options

  • Continue to reduce the amount of single-use plastic (containers, water bottles)

  • Continue to make Duke more disability-accessible

 

Ashley Bae

 Experience:

Sustainability isn’t about being perfect; it’s about contributing what you are able. Making these conscious decisions positively impact so many aspects of our future. As part of DSG, I hope to incorporate sustainability into our student experience, facilitating this integration through Duke’s services.

Through my experiences so far, I learned how to be a leader through collaboration, listening to my community and creating improvements based on the needs voiced by others. As your DSG Senator, I hope to represent our student body well, raising concerns and suggestions to make Duke a home you all are proud of.

 

Policy:

COVID-19 has changed a lot about our life here at Duke. However, even with COVID-19, creating a sustainable campus should not be compromised. Here are some ideas:

  1. Accessible composting methods - Composting is available through the dish return, but it’s not easily accessible for students eating outside or elsewhere. Composting bins around campus can provide easy access to sustainable habits.

  2. Mask waste reduction - Disposable masks have been shown to have a negative impact on the environment. Providing reminders and methods to cut off mask straps while also encouraging cloth masks can be another way to adequately protect the Duke community while staying waste-conscious.

  3. Food waste - Duke’s food is awesome, but the generous portions often go to waste. Having more portion options can allow students to adjust to their needs, decreasing food waste across campus.

More information on my thought process: https://bit.ly/32dnqsW 

Reach me at ashley.bae@duke.edu!

 

Tarun Amasa

 Experience:

In 2018, Governor Hickenlooper appointed me as Colorado’s youngest-ever state board member where I was responsible for organizing an $11 million budget allocated towards social causes. I’m passionate about education reform, and have worked with Boulder’s school district to reform curriculum, hiring, and structural processes—impacting 30,000 students. Currently, I currently work at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, where I lead projects surrounding voter mobilization. This year, I was selected out of 93,000 students as a Coca-Cola Scholar and a US Senate Youth Program delegate. I’m driven to make a social impact and represent you in the best light.

 

Policy:

  • Monthly contests for low energy consumption between dorm floors: floors with the lowest energy expenditures receive prizes and other goodies throughout the year

  • ”Going green” mobile app with checklist of environmentally-friendly tasks an individual can partake in: by taking photo evidence of each task, students are eligible for gift cards and free meals 

  • Student dorm “garage” sales and donation-drives at the end of the semester to incentivise reusing goods (may have to put this on hold with COVID)

  • Replacing manual sinks with those that automatically turn off after use

  • Motion sensing lights in bathrooms and other shared areas 

  • Local farmer market events and booths on campus to incentivize local shopping

 

Natalie Lewis

 Experience:

As a freshman in high school, I founded my school’s environmental club, and, for the next four years, served as club president. As a club, we created a community bee and butterfly garden (complete with yearly planting pizza parties) and participated in a local artist’s project by making flowers out of reusable materials. As a senior, I started an independent study on Environmental Sciences and Public Policy during which I not only researched renewable energy sources and local business’ implementation of sustainability polices, but also designed a STEAM garden for the collaboration between both the environmental and art clubs.

 

Policy:

​If elected to this position, I would want to focus on community involvement. By keeping the student body updated on contemporary sustainability topics and student government-proposed projects (through weekly email updates or posters around campus marking the progress of specific goals), I believe that we could broaden the scale and scope of projects. I also think that sending out surveys or mini quizzes that provide ways to live more sustainably in daily life, as well as facts about the state of sustainability in current society, would get people more excited about and involved in sustainability on campus. In looking at current DSG Services and Sustainability projects, I would love to become involved in the “Reusable Container Media Outreach” and “Fresh Produce Accessibility” projects because both demonstrate the importance of community involvement in sustainability initiatives. 

 

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram_icon