Advocating greater communication among campus groups, the YEP slate promises to launch new opportunities for dialogue among Student Government (SG) representatives, University administrators, and undergraduate and graduate students. The slate members pointed to SG’s inability to spearhead initiatives that take into account a range of student voices and concerns and said that they would work to strengthen the Executive Slate’s reputation on campus if elected to office.
First-year and YEP presidential candidate Yeonjean Gahng, a current first-year College Council representative, said that SG currently suffers from goals that are not unified. The slate’s first project in office would be to draft a mission statement for the SG constitution outlining cohesive objectives for elected representatives.
“Not having a mission statement just continues the idea that SG doesn’t know what to do,” Gahng said.
Gahng recruited fellow first-years Ellie Elgamal, the vice president of Student Affairs candidate and Peter Visser , the vice president of Administration candidate with the hope that an all-first-year slate will bring fresh insights to SG.
“I specifically chose first-years,” Gahng said.
“Third- and fourth-years and grad students have to commit time to looking for jobs and internships. Those things are more important to them than the student body. First-years have less on our plate.”
Expressing dissatisfaction with current modes of dialogue among RSOs, SG, and administrators, the YEP candidates have plans underway to bring back the “festival scene” to Hyde Park in its effort to bridge gaps in communication.
If elected, YEP will hold monthly campus events with free food and entertainment where undergraduates, graduate students, and SG representatives can mingle and share ideas, the candidates said.
“These will be times where people can make suggestions and complaints. We don’t want to just communicate by e-mail,” Gahng said.
The YEP candidates consider themselves first and foremost students, and they see their bid for executive office as a gateway for average U of C students to increase their engagement in campus affairs.
“We’re not here as politicians. We’re not here to put up a fake image. We’re not here to just talk words. We’re here as students,” Gahng said.