Name: Susan He
Year: 2nd Year
Major: Psychology and History
Platform Speech (Who are you, why are you running, and why should a person vote for you?): My name is Susan He, and I am running to be an elected representative in LSA Student Government because I am passionate about making practical and impacting changes on campus. I want to be able to represent the voices of students from different backgrounds and experiences and be open to hearing new ideas from everyone! Some projects and ideas that I want to work on if I were elected are:
Sustainability Availability Project:
My goal is to provide resources and materials (compost bags, compost bins, reusable shopping bags) for students living in off-campus housing to be able to compost and live sustainably!
Accessible Orientation for International Students:
Creating a two-part orientation system for international students where they can first register for classes and consult advisors virtually and at earlier dates before having to physically travel to campus right before the start of term to complete their in-person orientation and learn more about campus.
Regularly meet with different academic advisors in Newnan to hear their ideas and suggestions for improvements in different departments.
Questions and Answers:
1. Should our student government publish voting/attendance records of its members?
I believe the attendance records of student government members should be kept private for only those keeping track of members’ attendance in order to reduce exposure of individuals’ privacy. Disclosing this information may pressure members to be present at meetings and other events when they have other commitments that they need to tend to first such as exams, family matters, and other pressing issues. As for voting records, since voting is done during the General Meetings and in full disclosure in front of members, I believe publishing voting records could be a great way of keeping track of members’ activities and the policies that they support or oppose.
2. How would you bring new diverse ideas and representation of the student body into student government?
As a first-generation college student, an immigrant, and an Asian American woman, I believe my background and experience has provided me with a wide perspective of not only campus, but also society as a whole. Not only can I bring my own knowledge and experience to the table and help create an inclusive environment within the student government and campus, but I am also eager to learn more about others’ backgrounds and hear their ideas!
3. What are some takeaways you have in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak, and our student government’s response to it?
The COVID-19 outbreak has brought the light the ugly and the heartwarming in people. I have seen a wide array of reactions to the chaos caused by the disease, from friends offering their homes to classmates being displaced to fear causing people to discriminate and hate. It has exposed the weakness of our country’s healthcare resources, the severe inequality in the socioeconomic stability of our citizens, and the deep-rooted racism in the country. But it also allowed me to be thankful for the humanity in all those who offered a helping hand to everyone in need. The University, although with a few mishaps such as the panic ensued by the sudden email telling students living in dormitories they needed to move out immediately, has been accommodating and understanding throughout this process. It is definitely a learning experience for everyone involved, from faculty to staff to students. I do, however, wish there was an email or message that could have been sent out by student government to the student body addressing the crisis and wishing everyone well. I believe that in critical times, students (and people in general) want to be comforted and reassured.
4. What are your thoughts student government’s role in the upcoming 2020 election, particularly in regards to how the Presidential Debate will occur on campus and navigating the feelings of political tension within the student body?
I think in today’s day and age where news and media has become incredibly selective—ads on all social media platforms are geared toward your political bias and television and news outlets are not entirely neutral—it is important to remind students to listen. Listen to the person you disagree with. Listen to the political candidate you are rallying against. Listen to your own thoughts. Not only does listening promote a better understanding of other people’s ideas, but it also requires you to actively consider yours and their beliefs. It is imperative that we encourage students to engage in respectful debates and activities especially nearing the elections and the Presidential Debate on campus. Another crucial role for the student government would be to advocate for higher voter turnouts among the student body. Remind students that it is their privilege and right to voice their opinions and take part in democracy! It would be great to provide students with information on how to register, how to vote absentee, and how to stay politically informed.