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David Kuenzi, Alicia Smit to focus on governance next year

Photo courtesy Alicia Smit.
Photo courtesy Alicia Smit.

“Changes are on the horizon, and we’re enabling you to step up.”

That’s the message from juniors David Kuenzi and Alicia Smit, who are running unopposed to become Calvin’s next student body president and executive vice president. Kuenzi and Smit need to accumulate 500 votes this Thursday and Friday to be elected.

Neither student has been a member of student senate, marking the first time ever that an executive team will be elected with no direct senate involvement. Kuenzi and Smit, however, aren’t worried about inexperience, as both have served on governance committees at Calvin.

Kuenzi and Smit stressed that their administration will emphasize these very committees as an avenue for students to directly influencing decisions on campus.

“Instead of pretending to be this abstract source in which we relay the message of the students, we want to get students in the offices saying what they think,” said Kuenzi.

Smit said that next year is going to be an exciting time on Calvin’s campus and an exciting time for students to be involved in the prioritization decisions.

“We plan on harnessing the student voice in a very constructive manner through governance committees,” said Smit.

Kuenzi explained that many students don’t know what governance is, or they think it’s a hard thing to get involved with. He clarified that “the time commitment is exactly what the student wants it to be,” and that his administration will work hard to publicize the many committees on campus.

Kuenzi also has plans to tackle Calvin’s ongoing process of prioritization, hoping to illuminate the situation more clearly for students.

“There is a need for transparency and a need for students to better understand the whole picture,” he said.

This process may benefit from another senate project that Kuenzi and Smit plan to capitalize on during their tenure: the President’s Advisory Council.

Senate began working on the President’s Advisory Council this past year, a group to be led by President Le Roy. Kuenzi and Smit expect it to be an excellent connection between members of the student body and the president.

“It would be … half mentoring, half a soundboard for him to bounce ideas off of,” said Smit.

Kuenzi was sure to point out the crucial role that senate has on Calvin’s campus, saying that he wanted senate to be important and strong in Calvin’s governance.

Concurrently, Kuenzi said that senate is around “to make life more pleasant for students,” and that his administration would uphold much of the work that has been done these past years.

“We really believe in student senate’s ability to be a pilot institution. We believe in the bike program, the discount cards… these things are important,” he said.

Kuenzi and Smit have been working for a few months on their campaign platform, but the two actually didn’t know each other before deciding to team up.

Kuenzi said that he had been interested in running for a long time, and his position on the finance committee also helped spur his motivation.

“In light of the financial situation, I found myself drawn to events at Calvin and drawn to talk to professors and other students involved. It was something I felt I could play a part in,” he said.

“The VP search went on for a long time,” said Kuenzi, adding that many were interested but had other commitments for next year.

The two were brought together through a mutual acquaintance in student senate, with Kuenzi calling the connection “awesome.”

“It’s been working out phenomenally,” agreed Smit, who was unsure about running initially, but quickly realized that the job really fit her interests.

“It seemed that this opportunity was open to me, and I couldn’t just shut the door on it,” she said.

Elections will take place via email ballot this coming Thursday and Friday. Results are expected early Friday evening.

About the Author

Justin Vanden Ende

Justin Vanden Ende is a Chimes on-call writer for the 2012-13 school year.

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