Dear SGA President
I honestly do believe that at Colby College, you can take on everything and not die. I mean it--you can take a full courseload, have an active social life, join clubs and still get some sleep every other night. I also believe that if you have an idea, if there is something that you want to accomplish, Colby has the resources to see it achieved. Want to raise awareness about eating disorders? Want to make sure every student at Colby has an opportunity to feel comfortable? Do you care about the occurrence of sexual assault at Colby? Reach out and you can make a difference. I'm not saying that it will be easy, but I promise you that if you're passionate enough about it, anything can be achieved.
As we are in voting season, there are a few pleas that I would like to make to the presidential candidates who are interested in such a powerful position. Please run only if you have the right intentions--this isn't just a resume builder or a chance to be the happy face of Colby. I would rather have someone that has had problems at Colby because it takes discomfort to make a difference.
Please be ready to take criticism; this is one of those positions where you will not satisfy everyone. Someone will hate you for everything you do, or say that you don't do enough. Remember, if your first instinct is defense--then maybe you aren't doing enough. If you are responsive and contemplative but you know you have been working hard, don't throw a hissy fit about the criticism then handle it with grace. Good communication gets lost among 18 to 22-year old hotheads that want everything done now. I do believe who if you want to lead this school, you have to be a good conversationalist--you need to listen, not just hear, and you need to respond, not just speak.
Please do something. You have power. You can tackle the drinking issue at Colby. You can listen when students feel strongly about sexism and offer help. You can attend a myriad of Colby events and be a real face on this campus. Far too often things get lost at Colby that need to be followed through, or the progress is so slow that it leads to other problems. Think: Student Bill of Rights. Even if it is not something that you particularly feel connected to, someone that you represent does, and you should do something to help get it done.
Please be accountable and hold others accountable. If you didn't do anything all year, please just own up to it and offer a reason that isn't an excuse. Don't point fingers at others and don't ignore the problem. Accountability also means letting the student body know where the SGA is on projects, what is being done and going beyond bathroom newsletters and a one-room meeting that many people can't attend.
Please be aware that there are many students at Colby who come from diverse backgrounds. I want a student body President who recognizes this and is willing to do all he or she can to represent me, and to educate him or herself on the issues to show that they care. For example, this year nothing was done in honor of September 11--the students who organized something in the past graduated last year. But when this happens, students who witnessed the event firsthand, who have loved ones fighting in a war or were at Ground Zero that day feel forgotten. It doesn't take much to make a simple gesture of acknowledgement.
Please care more about action than appearance. Colby already has too many acronyms and creating too many sub-committees makes the Executive Board of SGA irrelevant. If you're doing nothing, everyone will know regardless of how hard you try to make it look like you're doing something. So please, just do something. Please know that I don't want you to do everything and solve every problem, but I want you to be such a good leader that all the (unpaid) dorm presidents and class representatives and Colby students feel motivated to work at your level. Let them respect you and want to impress you so they work hard enough that active change occurs at Colby. Be fair and don't criticize them without criticizing yourself first. I believe in SGA and I believe in student activism. I want a president who does too.