Candidates for 2026 Representatives Speak on their Goals for SA
The Editorial Board of the Monitor reached out to the candidates for Representative and President of the Class of 2026 to ask about why they're running for office. They were given three questions to answer as they saw fit:
What should be the role of student government on our campus?
What do you think are the biggest issues on campus right now? What will you do to address them?
What experiences (previous leadership roles, identities, etc) do you have that will make you an effective representative?
Below are the answers of the candidates for Representative in the order in which they were received.
Student Assembly is the most influential tool students have to raise concerns to one another and the administration. Its role should include accountability for the good works done and working collectively to fix more problematic issues. Taking on collective responsibility to help improve the club system and recognizing its importance in maintaining student work-life balance. Student Assembly should also take on an active role in asking questions that can improve our community, such as; how do we foster more community involvement that helps to uplift others in their endeavors, whether athletically, spiritually, creatively, or intellectually?
In my opinion, social transparency and social mobility are the most significant issues. Before becoming a community member, the most “authentic” information regarding social life on campus came through a well-rehearsed speech given by tour guides. There’s much more to social life at Hamilton than the constructed narratives revealed. I will encourage the administration and students to break out and engage across the community instead of siloing themselves with a self-imposed narrative. Hamilton’s principles of the Open Curriculum and the ability to study whatever should also translate to the social aspects of life here!
Being an effective representative requires a willingness to engage with a wide range of people whose identities and beliefs may differ from mine. There’s an opportunity for change in being uncomfortable, and a representative shouldn’t back away from discomfort but instead embrace it. This past summer, I served as a U.S. Senate intern in Washington D.C., and as the youngest intern, I was immersed in a widely uncomfortable world. I learned that being a good representative requires the ability to embrace discomfort and capitalize on the opportunities it provides, and I plan to do just this when serving Hamilton!
The universal role of student government on our campus is to represent the student population. This could be by hosting events of interest, planning college traditions and festivals, and advocating for the students on campus. However, we should be more of an opportunity for change. In my previous experience, school issues are dismissed. As someone who had to fight for opportunity, "no" isn’t change. This does not mean to force our way, but to promote innovation, bring alternate solutions, and compromise. Making our voices heard and changing is what the role of student government on campus is.
There are a lot of issues on campus, but our biggest issue, and sorry to sound like a broken record, is diversity. The more specific issue would be accurate representation and inclusivity. An instance where this happened was "Dinner under the tent" on Sunday, August 21'st. The food being served was being promoted as "Mexican" food, but several actual Hispanics know that was not the case. One way to fix this is to have someone come in, someone authentic, to teach and educate the staff. Another idea is for each heritage month, the menu represent different food culture.
I've had the privilege of holding many leadership roles, but the notable ones include National Honor Society President, Senior Class Secretary and Key Club Webmaster. I've experienced loss, and I've experienced change, and I hope to do the same here at Hamilton. I come from a lower middle class area in Las Vegas, and also spent living four years in Mexico, where I could experience the world in a different lens. I'm proud to be first generation, of my roots, and of my pride. I know fear; I know hate, and I know adaptability. But most importantly, I am human.
I believe the role of student government at Hamilton should be prevalent in hosting community events, making impactful changes and/or additions to our campus life, and most importantly holding a student voice for some of the bigger issues or situations on campus that might involve more faculty input than students'. The organization and structure student government holds for student input for our campus and college ideas are important to give students more power and ability to affect change in our community.
There are too many bees around the trash cans at Commons and other spots on campus that make it annoying to throw items away without being attacked; I think there are a couple routes to solutions which might include setting up traps, better spots on campus for trash/recycling bins, etc.
As a member of student council over my 4 years of high school, including freshman and senior year in which I was student council president, I've gained an abundance of experience in student government which involved creating events for my school such as homecoming, prom and ball, as well as hosting fundraisers for our organization to earn funds for our projects. As a player on a varsity sport, as well as an interest in other organizations such as Finance Club and HamVotes, I think I would be a valuable representative for all people across campus and the Class of 2026.
I believe that the first priority of student government should be the needs of students. Members of Student Assembly need to actively engage with the student body in order to gather ideas and understand the concerns that students face. Student Assembly also bears the responsibility of communicating with administrators to ensure that student concerns are being considered. It is crucial for the Assembly to continue promoting other student organizations, especially those that provide safe spaces for students with similar interests and backgrounds. Above all else, our Student Assembly should be accountable to the interests of the student body.
As a community we face a variety of challenges on a daily basis. An issue that is seemingly small yet has an outsized impact are the bees (specifically yellow jackets) that swarm around Commons. The yellow jackets are annoying for those walking past and a nightmare for anyone who is daring enough to eat outside. A simple yet effective solution would be to have Facilities Management install sugar traps in order to reduce the number of bees flying around. I believe that focusing on specific issues as well as broad systemic problems will lead to substantial increases in campus well-being.
My experience as team captain of the varsity swimming and diving team during high school has given me much experience with leadership and representation. One of my responsibilities as a team captain was to facilitate communication between my teammates and coaches. Through these conversations I learned how to listen to concerns and bring them up in a constructive fashion. When my coach contracted COVID-19 I showed the initiative by writing workouts and running practices until he recovered. Through my experiences as a team captain I have developed the skills and qualities necessary to be an exemplary class representative.
I believe that student government is vitally important on a college campus; the ability for student representatives to highlight and communicate the voices of the study body, as well as affect change they see fit on the college, ensures a healthier campus culture. In my short time here at Hamilton College, I’ve noticed how bright and involved each student is; this level of student involvement is especially shown in the responsibilities and actions of the Student Assembly here. While I do not have a great sense of the biggest issues on campus yet, I’m willing and hoping to address issues of discrimination, and anything else that the student body brings to our attention. In high school, I was active in my school’s Student Council for all four years, including being student body president during my senior year. This experience in leadership and familiarity with such a responsibility will ensure that I represent the class well.
I personally think that the role of student government on campus is to advocate for every student and taking into consideration the thoughts and opinions of the student body and maintaining a constant flow of it to the staff of campus among other things. I personally as a first-year student the just came to campus haven’t had an encounter with a problem on campus just yet but if there is an issue bound to arise me as a representative along side the other student government body will find a solution to the problem as quickly and as efficient as possible. Back in Miami I formed part of student run boards in my high school, I was my senior class representative coincidently, apart from the I was the Vice President to a community non profit which organized environmental cleaning in local beaches to decrease the levels of pollution and plastics near sea life as well as been a Vice President to a seasonal non profit which organized clothe and toy drives during Christmas to give to shelters.
Candidate Muhammad Ahmad Rao did not respond to request for answers but if he replies they will be added here.
Polls will open via email tonight, September 8th, at 11:59 PM and close tomorrow, September 9th, at 11:59 PM. Results will be announced at 11:59 PM on September 10th.
Updated 9/8: Aedan Burke's name was misspelled in the original version of this article. It has been corrected.