Valerie Hopkins ’09 and Zach Pilchen ’09 are running on experience.
p. It would be a stretch to call it a campaign for the status quo, as their platform and record indicates panache for shaking things up. However, Pilchen and Hopkins’ current roles as president and vice president, respectively, prevent them from campaigning as the candidates of change.
p. As incumbents, the Hopkins/Pilchen ticket focuses on building upon the progress made over the last year.
p. Their campaign website, ValerieandZach.com, focuses equally on their accomplishments over the past year, their current projects with the Student Assembly and their plans for the future.
p. “We’re already working … so many hours a week,” Hopkins said, describing the efforts of her and Pilchen’s current cabinet.
“We’re now at a place where we can see the next horizon,” Pilchen said.
p. The developments on campus and in Williamsburg over the last year have been substantial. Voter registration, the numerous issues with the Board of Visitors and the controversy surrounding the resignation of former College President Gene Nichol have all presented serious challenges to the incumbents, and their responses to these challenges have been lauded by many student leaders.
p. Many of their stances are a continuation of the issues which they have consistently advocated over the course of their term.
Opposition to the three-person rule, expansion of SA services to p. the student body, and greater communication between the campus and the BOV are important planks on their platform.
Those familiar with the workings of the SA have said that Hopkins and Pilchen have not consistently faced opposition to their past and current platforms.
p. “They did a very good job,” editor of the conservative student newspaper The Virginia Informer and SA Sen. Joe Luppino-Esposito ’08 said. “They made great strides in areas they focused on.” He added that they advanced voter registration, and that Matt Beato’s ’09 run for City Council proves testifies to their efforts.
p. A striking feature of their campaign website is its size; it provides a laundry list of 37 goals and accomplishments. The candidates described their platform as a collection of big ideas, with highly specific goals devised to support these big ideas. When asked to compare their plans for the College with those of their opponents, they used their energy efficiency plan as an example of their stratified platform.
p. “[Adam Rosen and Emily Nuñez] have interesting ideas,” Pilchen said. “But we’re looking at a larger campaign toward energy efficiency. Everything we do has a big goal with underlying medium and smaller goals.”
p. According to the candidates, the primary focus of their campaign is the empowerment of individual students with regard to the SA, city and state government and the BOV. Hopkins added that by composing a diverse cabinet and staff, they have given voice to many elements of the student population that had previously not been heard in the SA.
p. “We surround ourselves with people from various groups,” Pilchen said.
p. Their experience, as well as the strength and diversity of their cabinet, has given them a “more nuanced and expansive view on the needs of the College,” Hopkins said. “We like hearing people, getting opinions.”
p. Neither Hopkins nor Pilchen would characterize their candidacy as “more of the same,” and their stances indicate as much. Perhaps that is why, when asked for a campaign slogan, they did not have one. Instead it seems that although these candidates believe they have accomplished a lot, but that more could be done.