AAS Senate Candidate Statements for Class of 2021
Issue   |   Tue, 09/19/2017 - 22:43

On Friday, Sept. 22, the AAS will hold elections for eight senators from the class of 2021. The students below have announced their candidacies for these elections. Students who are interested in hearing from these candidates, or interested in running but were unable to submit a candidate statement, should attend Speech Night on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. in Merrill 1.

Hayley Fleming: My name is Hayley Fleming, and I am running for first-year senator. If elected, I will: 1) ensure that all members of the freshman class can understand what’s going on behind the scenes at Amherst, 2) work to make Amherst a more inclusive and accepting environment for all community members, regardless of race, income or sexual orientation and 3) always accurately convey the opinions and concerns of the freshman class to the rest of the student body, faculty and administration. My goal is to make sure your voice is heard, and I hope you’ll let me be your voice.

Andrea Webb: Inclusion and accessibility. These words are the backbone of my campaign. I have served as class president and founder of the Contra Costa Democratic Society, where I have found that the biggest upsets among my constituents mainly revolved around feeling silenced. I plan to completely eradicate this problem from day one by 1) instituting an online AAS “suggestion box” to allow students to take part in student government from the comfort of their dorm and 2) adding advisory positions to the AAS for student-athletes to eliminate the athlete/non-athlete divide. I’m Andrea Webb and I promise to be your voice.

Jeremy Thomas: Hi! I’m Jeremy Thomas, and I’m running to be your class of 2021 AAS senator. I’m a prospective English and LJST double major with law school aspirations from Houston, Texas. I’m interested in the functions of our school and would love the opportunity to make it even better. My mom told me growing up that “I should be quick, to cut someone hustle. So, don't get comfortable.” My mom didn’t say this, but I will serve you with this mentality once you elect me as senator. Thank you!

Margot Lurie: My name is Margot Lurie, and I’m running to represent the class of 2021 in the senate. I want to be a senator because I care about making positive change in the Amherst community. I am a skilled listener and speaker, a combination that allows me to gather your input and communicate it effectively. I have experience with student government, and I held a variety of leadership positions throughout high school. I am very comfortable working and negotiating with others to arrive at the best outcome. If elected to the senate, I will work to create the Amherst you want!

Witter Swanson: I’m Witter Swanson, and if elected as a class senator, I promise to always be open to suggestion, to be committed to practicality and to always work towards making life at Amherst the best that it can be. I’ve only been here a few weeks, so I’m not going to pretend I know many of the problems on campus or even solutions, but I’ll make sure to have an open mind and work diligently to solve any issues that may arise.

Haley Greene: Hello Class of 2021! My name is Haley Greene and I would like to announce my candidacy for a position on our class senate. While it is clear that we attend a remarkable institution with abounding opportunities for success and intellectual freedom, I believe we as students have the ability to perfect Amherst College and create an environment catered to our vast interests and personalities. Instead of articulating my personal hopes for our community, I would like to express my interest in identifying the aspirations of our diverse class and being your voice if given the opportunity to represent the student body.

Sonakshi Dua: Hi, I’m Sonakshi! I want to represent you amazing people because I want to make sure your voices are heard. I’m super easy to talk to (and spot because I have red hair and a British accent) and as a debater, I’m good at conveying your ideas. I will bring my experience from my three years of student government to the AAS. Not only do I want to be a bridge between you and the administration, I also want to find ways to bridge the student-athlete divide and the gap between our taste buds and Val food.

Matthew Sanders: Hello everyone, I’m Matthew Sanders! I’m from New Jersey and I’m a student-athlete on the swim team. I love learning from people and look forward to making many new friends here at Amherst. As a student-senator, I’ll work to foster a tight-knit community by bridging divides and working to achieve prosperity through collective bonding. I believe the best way to promote camaraderie and friendship is through molding consensus among diverse viewpoints. I’m excited for the strong relationships we’ll build in the future and to spend the next four years together with the talented, curious and friendly bicentennial class of 2021!

Catie Burkhart: Hi, my name is Catie Burkhart, and I would love to be one of the eight senators for the class of 2021! I am passionate about working diligently for our community and will work hard to help achieve your individual goals. I am organized, dedicated and outgoing. I think that my positive attitude and work ethic would help me be a productive member of the AAS. I hope that I can build on Amherst’s positive atmosphere and make it an even more enjoyable place for all students.

Jack Kiryk: Class of 2021, I am Jack Kiryk, and I am running to represent you on the Amherst Association of Students Senate. I encourage you to vote for me because I guarantee I will listen to your ideas and fight to implement change that you want to see. In addition to always being open to your ideas, I also aim to resolutely push for a green campus, where we offset our emissions by investing in green energy sources. As our needs and wants shift, I’ll vote accordingly for change that benefits and is relevant to us all!

Ashira Mawji: As Amherst students we share a collective identity — and on a campus the size of a molehill, there’s no escaping each other. Take a moment to appreciate our unique opportunity! When again will we spend four years in such close quarters with one set of people? I envision a single unit that finds power in solidarity and creates strength from diversity. I believe that we, the class of 2021, can make a mountain out of our molehill. My name is Ashira Mawji, and I have a mammoth vision for Amherst.

Rafael Gonzalez: My name is Rafael Gonzalez, I’m from Canada and I am running for class senator for the class of 2021. As a class senator, I will make myself approachable so that I can best advocate for the interests of the student body. Moreover, as a person who respects and values diversity, I will also strive to make Amherst’s diversity shine and to create an environment that fosters both intellectual and emotional growth. I believe that Amherst is the best school on earth, and as a class senator I’ll work with you to make it even better.

Hunter Lampson: CLASS OF 2021! I am from Portland, Oregon, and I play on the football team. While at Amherst, I want to bridge the gap between student-athletes and non-student-athletes. As an athlete here, I have a passion for solving this issue. I believe we, as athletes, must be proactive and outreach to ALL students. I chose Amherst because I want to be a part of an incredibly engaging community that fosters uniqueness, diversity and compassion towards all. I hope to represent you all this year. GO MAMMOTHS!!!

Bella Edo: Hi everyone! My name is Bella Edo, and I live in Stearns Hall. I was a member of my high school student council for all four years and served as a co-head of our recreation committee for my last two. I was also a member of a group of students who acted as a liaison between students and faculty during conversations surrounding the reforming of specific policies. I have a lot of experience with planning events for students as well as discussing policies and I’d love to continue doing those things at Amherst as a senator for the class of 2021! Thank you and vote Bella Edo!

Julia Ralph: Hello, I’m Julia Ralph, from San Diego, CA, and I’m running for senator for the class of 2021. I’m a member of the women’s soccer team, and I’m also planning on being apart of Big Brothers Big Sisters and Olio here on campus. I’ve been an oil painter, pianist, athlete and participant in multiple community service initiatives throughout my life, so I believe my experience as a member of all these communities will allow me to well represent each sector of Amherst College in the senate. Go Mammoths!

Waleed Babar: Standing for diversity and acceptance, Amherst College has often supported students from all backgrounds — internationals, people of color and transsexual people. Each such student has their own unique story, but they all share common ground: underrepresentation and lack of awareness of their presence. As an international, I have felt welcomed at Amherst from the start. However, there are times when I feel more can be done for inclusion on campus, starting off with the idea that we “diverse” students may not be as different as you think, and we deserve equal opportunities and representation. That is what I will work for.

Ryan Wagner: My name is Ryan Wagner, and I hail from West Chester, Pennsylvania (a suburb 40 minutes outside of Philadelphia). I hope to represent YOU as a Senator for the Class of 2021. Allow me to elaborate on my credentials. During my PROLIFIC high school career, I gained extensive experience in student government. I served my first three years as Class Officer, and as Class President during senior year. Teachers praised me a “MAN OF THE TIMES,” my fellow classmates called me their “FEARLESS LEADER.” My experience is EXTENSIVE, and my impact will be IMMEASURABLE.

Isiaha Price: I was writing my statement for candidacy when I found myself tackling the issue of social hierarchy on campus, the fact that if you aren’t in an athletic club you are a “NARP.” That implies that to be more than a “regular person,” you must be in an athletic club. Through this process, I was told that it was best if I toned it down, and not because they disagreed, but because they didn’t think this issue was palatable enough. I was being told get elected OR hold a modicum of integrity. I, Isiaha Price, refuse. I’ll do both.

Navid Rahimi Larki: Through hard work, meticulous organization and close teamwork with other council members, I revolutionized my high school’s student council, completely rewriting its constitution and supervising many successful fundraising (e.g. for Comic Relief) and social action projects (e.g. supporting those with mental health issues) as well as modernizing school equipment and administrative systems. Although I love Amherst, I believe that there are still a great number of improvements necessary, from issues of dining, discrimination, administration and even the role of the AAS itself. I want to utilize my experience, passion and leadership skills to make these changes a reality. Please help me achieve my dream!

Jake Grossman: I thought to myself, “How do I begin to write this candidate statement when, truthfully, I’m probably less experienced in governing than most of the students running?” In just a few short weeks, I have noticed that many of my classmates are extraordinarily talented at pretty much whatever they do. To be honest, it’s been incredibly humbling. But that moment is when I realized I don’t need to be “incredibly experienced in student government roles” or have “the perfect skill set to affect positive change.” These are just taglines. If elected, my job is, quite simply, to represent you.

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