Zoberman Campaign Platform 2016
A Presidency that builds on the lessons of the past toward a more effective future
Elections this year could not come at a more crucial time for our campus. With the looming transition of the University’s President and the important work of apology, reconciliation, and repair underway university-wide, the next SGA Executive will have the privileged opportunity and important responsibility of helping frame that work and guide this school into its next act; one of self awareness, responsibility, unity, and profound moral and intellectual curiosity.
Taking these important steps forward will require both a clear vision for the future and an understanding of the recent past. I will build on my experience in both the legislative and executive branches of the 48th and 49th Student Government Associations to re-frame the work of student advocacy in the 50th.
By fundamentally re-imagining who we are and what we do as representatives, I will work with the 14,000 students of this university as well as administrators, faculty, and staff, to shape a safer, more cohesive, more proactive Emory, and I want to do that with you all. We can build a better Emory; let’s do it together.
Since 2013, I’ve believed and continue to believe that safety, both physical and mental, is the single most important prerequisite for an effective University. It is the responsibility of the institution and student leaders alike to ensure the security and well being of their students in order to facilitate productivity in every other area. I want to be part of a Student Government that works proactively toward that end.
I will continue to pursue the realization of the promise of being able to see two blue lights from every one. Over the course of the last two years, I have worked with stakeholders in Campus Services and Maintenance as well as the Office of Residence Life and Emory Police Department, to identify those areas on campus that despite best efforts, still fail to provide Emory students with peace of mind. As a result of those conversations, others and myself have developed a proposal for at least five new blue light installations as well as increased lighting in an attempt to make Emory’s campus an environment of safety and comfort, and I would use my time as SGA President to see this proposal through.
I will build on the work done over the course of the last year to make Emory Safe Ride more efficient in order to provide this absolutely vital service to more students who need it. No student should ever have to put him or herself in a position of vulnerability due to the high demand placed on service providers. There is more work to be done and more we as student leaders can do to make Safe Ride truly safe. In addition, I will build on the existing Safe Ride model to implement a door to door pickup/dropoff service. Over the course of the last year SGA, in conjunction with Transportation and Parking, has been reviewing the feasibility of such a service. This door hailing program would expand the safety and peace of mind afforded by existing Safe Ride services to locations and routes to and from locations within campus such as the library to residence halls, and would potentially open up dozens of new work/study positions.
I will work to develop and implement programming and support services to address issues of mental health and self-harm. Sometimes, the most difficult struggles are those that we can’t see. For many, a University can be an enormously stressful and trying place. Every student should feel understood and supported at an institution they call home, and so I will work to bring programming and resources to Emory to better support those students struggling silently.
I will work with administration and staff to bring the It’s On Us campaign to Emory. I firmly believe that Emory can and should be the first university in the country to be able to say that we are free of the specter of sexual violence on our campus. That solution starts with awareness and acceptance of each of our personal responsibilities to combat it. I will continue to work with representatives from the It’s On Us organizing team to make Emory a partner the way so many American universities have already.
I will continue to work to put a dedicated emergency services app in the hands of every Emory student. Emory mobile is a phenomenal resource, but it doesn’t address nor provide every safety resource that students should have readily available. I will continue to work with developers and Emory’s Safety Alliance to identify such an app and to make it available for students on day one of academic year 2016–2017. Let’s put peace of mind in the palm of your hand.
A healthy Emory community doesn’t end with safety; that’s just the beginning. I want to use the advocacy resource that is the SGA to bring people together in a time when it’s so easy to drift apart. I want to build a community based on ideas like diversity and equity, not just talk about them. I want to build an Emory community in which every student feels comfortable engaging and thriving and one in which every student feels equally represented.
I hereby promise to remain dedicated to supporting underrepresented student populations and issues of diversity and equality. I will not let these issues fade with a change in administration. The last semester has taught our community valuable lessons about respect, social justice, and equity. I will make sure to see all conversations and initiatives in this area through to their completion and continue to work to reform the Student Government Association to provide for increased representation for those student populations, which have, until this point, gone underrepresented. We can do better, and I’ll see to it that we do.
I will continue to make sure that graduate students are represented and celebrated. Graduates make up 50% of the Emory student body and I have always believed that too often they are left out of the dialogue of student leadership. In the legislature, I consistently voted in favor of increased funding for graduate divisions and supported similar legislation during my time in the executive. I will continue to work to ensure graduate representation and will work with divisional presidents to develop advocacy strategies for each graduate division that address their unique needs.
Over the course of the past year, the 49th SGA has taken unprecedented steps toward bringing Atlanta and Oxford campuses together. Early on we identified organizations with versions on both campuses and worked to bring them together in a night of networking and community building that ultimately resulted in cross-campus programming. I have personally visited our Oxford campus almost every week since my election last year and what I’ve found is that there is something incredible happening in Oxford. Something that every student in Atlanta should know about. To that end, I will work to bring our campuses together and to celebrate the richness of spirit and history that exists at Oxford.
I will continue to work to grow the Student Experience Fund and work toward an SGA endowment. These funds, pools of money dedicated to subsidizing extra- and co-curricular expenses for students who can’t afford them as well as expressly philanthropic student endeavors, embody my commitment to a strong sense of Emory community and my firm belief that every student should be able to engage fully in their university experience and in their community.
Sometimes, in order to effectively lead, one must not look outward for areas in need of change, but inward. It is no secret that The Student Government Association is not perfect and has a long way to go in order to be a truly effective advocacy organization. It would be the long-term goal of my administration to fundamentally reform the way in which the SGA engages students, pursues initiatives, and communicates regarding progress. We will earn the confidence of the student body through change and action.
I will effect a change of habit within the Student Government Association. I firmly believe that one shouldn’t have to be a member of the SGA to be excited about the initiatives it pursues. I want to go back to basics: finding and pursuing initiatives that are meaningful to students’ lives on a daily basis. Things like extended reading periods and subsidized or frontloaded printing.
I will oversee a top to bottom reform of the ways in which SGA engages students. I have taken steps over the course of the semester towards, and will continue to pursue, the establishment of a third party polling organization in order to better aggregate student interests on issues of major legislation and elections. Such an organization would be supported but never overseen by the Student Government Association, and would therefore provide legislators with reliable information regarding the interests of their constituencies and would hold them accountable to voting accordingly.
I will work with the speaker of the legislature to organize legislator Town Halls during which representatives of each class or division would have the opportunity to speak with and report directly to the students they represent. In this way, legislators will have access to the information they need to vote responsibly.
Finally, I will make sure that the student body is never in the dark about what their SGA is doing for them. Once per month, I will publish an executive letter on the state of the student government, providing updates regarding the progress of my platform as well as the initiatives of individual legislators, calling for input from the student body, and providing information regarding opportunities to get involved.
These things I promise to you. My Presidency would draw on the experience of the past and what I know to be the many areas of potential improvement to create a more responsive, more effective Student Government Association. The opportunity presented by the SGA is one of an ally in all issues of student interest that carries the weight of every member of our community. One that can truly effect meaningful change and make you proud. I can and will do everything within my power to realize that ideal. I would be honored to serve as the next President of the 50th Student Government Association and I ask for your support on February 29th