Correction: An earlier version of this article neglected to include all candidates for the VSA Executive Board. We apologize for this error.
Gabi James ’22 is running unopposed for VSA President.Within the VSA, she has previously served as the Chair of Equity and Inclusion, and sat on the Accessibility Committee, Athletics Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, Campus Climate Education and Support Team, Campus Climate Survey Committee, Committee on Inclusion and Equity (CIE), and the Native American Advisory Committee (NAAC). As VSA President, she plans to continue the work of restructuring VSA, in hopes of facilitating more effective communication and collaboration with the student body.
There are two candidates running for the VSA Vice Presidency, Ryan Mazurkiewicz ’22 and Mohtad Allawala ’23.
Mazurkiewicz currently serves as the VSA treasurer intern for the Programming and Traditions committee. In his candidacy statement, he outlined seven goals that he aims to accomplish if elected. A main focus is increasing access to resources for survivors of sexual assault by changing the VSA bylaws to mandate that all organizations have an executive board role dedicated to serving as an SAVP resource. He also plans to push the administration to divest from both fossil fuels and private prisons. He also plans to revitalize student interactions with Poughkeepsie and Arlington post-COVID, and intends to bring late night back to the Gordon Commons. He aspires to reintroduce much of the programming and traditions that have fallen to the wayside during the pandemic, as well as continue the current reforms to VSA, which include bringing back the judicial board and increasing transparency. Finally, he hopes to establish clearer means of communication between administration and the student body.
Allawala previously served as a Class Senator for the Class of ‘23 and is currently a College Planning senator. Allawala’s platform focuses on administration’s accountability to the student body. He hopes to work towards improving food security by raising the amount of Retreat and Express swipes, increasing the amount of Arlington Bucks students are given and expanding food options for students that stay on campus over breaks. Like Mazurkiewicz, he wants to continue to pressure Vassar to divest from fossil fuels. He also aims to re-establish smoking zones on campus, ending the policy of a smoke-free campus. Further, he has plans to broaden programming, reimagine the NRO system, restructure academics to improve student mental health and redirect Vassar’s resources from projects like the Vassar Hotel and Institute and towards food security, education and housing. Finally, Allawala has promised to continue to work to reform VSA, particularly by focusing on communication and transparency between Administration, VSA, and the student body as a whole.
Chair of Equity and Inclusion
Leslie Lim ’24 is running unopposed for the Chair of Equity and Inclusion. They previously worked as an intern for the LGBTQ+ and Gender resources department. They also were the first year representative for Raymond House, and currently serves as a member of the Environmental Action Committee and First Year Programming Committees. Their goals include ensuring that both administration and VSA are held accountable in addressing student needs.
Chair of Residential Affairs
There are three candidates for the Chair of Residential Affairs.
Aeshna Shah ’23 is the current President of Main House. Her platform for Chair of Residential Affairs includes expanding food options and focusing on providing a greater variety of Vegetarian and Vegan foods. She also promises to advocate for dorm renovations, such as bathroom updates, increasing the number of suites and adding new elevators. Furthermore, she pledges to fight for better mental health resources on campus and increase transparency between VSA and the student body.
Lola Perez-Fry ’23 is currently Davison House Programming director and a formerVSA intern. She has a five-point plan of what she hopes to accomplish as Chair of Residential Affairs: expanding residential protections for victims of sexual assault on campus, removinging bugs and other pests from dorms, reforming the service request system, improving access to allergen free food in the Gordon Commons and broadening support provided from House Teams.
Adam Weil ’22 has been the House Student Advisor for Cushing House and was a former student fellow. He intends to create more support for House Teams, including offering affinity spaces to student fellows and reforming the student fellow application process to diversify the student fellow program. He is also an advocate for more accessible spaces on campus. Weil intends to address the issue of communication between Gordon Commons employees and students.
Chair of Organizations
Ceci Villaseñor ’22 and Christine Kerrol Chung ’24 are running for the Chair of Organizations position.
Villaseñor is currently a VSA intern for the Organizations Committee. She is also the president of the Asian Student Alliance (ASA), and she believes this experience will help her as Chair of Organizations.
Kerrol Chung is currently a VSA finance intern and the Committee on College Life 2024 Representative. She is advocating for strengthening communication between the students and administration and helping organizations with their programming next semester.
Chair of Finance
Alexis Reyes ’22, Mafaz Chaundry ’22 and Valeria Munoz Gonzales ’22 are the candidates for Chair of Finance.
Reyes hopes to raise Arlington Bucks to $200, increase Founder’s Day spending by at least $15,000, eliminate the costs of medications and services at Baldwin, push the athletic department to provide more support to low income students, pressure the College to cease holding the $50 student activity fee and move the the College towards divestment from fossil fuels.
Chaundry has previously served as treasurer of Main House and worked on the Finance Committee. Their first goal is to prevent confusion surrounding the allocation of VSA funds that occurred this past semester. Further, Chaundry wants to work towards divestment, expand food options on campus and improve the campus’s responses to sexual assault allegations.
Munoz Gonzales has experience in several leadership roles on campus. She is a member of the Latinx Student Union Executive Board, a Finance Intern and committee member on the VSA Finance Committee and the Head Advising Fellow for the 2022 cohort of Vassar’s Matriculate Chapter. She has also served as a student fellow. Her platform focuses on improving student access to VSA financial resources via a new website or social media, clearly communicating financial decisions and simplifying the process through which students can use the VSA Amazon account. She also plans to augment outreach to better attract new candidates, adjust the student activity fee, write concise new resources for treasurers and increase accountability for VSA treasurers via monthly checks of budget sheets.
Chair of Academics
There are two candidates for the Chair of Academics, Harman Singh ’23 and Andrew Harvin ’22.
Singh hopes to increase the number of classes offered each semester to make it easier for students to get the classes they need for their major requirements, as well as allow students who have not paid an outstanding balance to pre-register for classes. Additionally, Singh plans to establish a textbook fund and to increase the availability of NROs (non-recorded options for classes), which includes expanding them to classes within students’ majors.
Harvin is currently a Senator on VSA, and serves on the Academics Committee where he is a representative for the Movement for Affordable Textbooks. Reducing the cost of textbooks is a core part of his candidacy. Further, in an effort to improve student mental health, he hopes to make NROs more accessible and increase pathways for students to voice their concerns to professors.
Chair of Health and Wellness
Nikolas Pham ’22 is the only candidate for the Chair of Health and Wellness. During the past year he served as a member of the Health and Wellness committee His goals next year are to improve reproductive health and mental health resources on campus. Particularly, he hopes to increase accessibility to reproductive care and awareness of resources on campus, as well as increase funding for mental health resources in order to hire more mental health experts and the frequency with which students are able to access these resources.
Chair of Programming and Traditions
William Hwang ’22 and Adriana DeLuca ’22 are both running for the Chair of Programming and Traditions position.
Hwang hopes to use his festival experience to plan an exciting Founder’s Day for Spring 2022.
DeLuca is currently the VSA Programming Intern. She is an advocate for holding in-person events next year, bringing back the shuttles to New York City on weekends, adding the all-campus pumpkin patch to the Halloweekend Traditions, planning block parties around the town apartments/houses and continuing Winterfest and Springfest.