With no incumbents running in the March 26 Student Assembly elections, students at the College of William and Mary have a rare opportunity to bring new faces to the College’s political stage. Horacio Carreño ’10 and Michael Douglass ’11 hope those new faces will be their own.
Carreño, a double-major in government and history at the College, was born in Mexico, and immigrated to the United States at the age of five. Douglass, of Richmond, Va., is a government major at the College.
Carreño and Douglass said their campaign began with a desire to unite the College community into “one tribe.”
“Horacio has a vision of creating one community,” Douglass said. “Right now, we have a lot of ‘little tribes.’ We want to bring it together, we want to unite the campus.”
Carreño and Douglass laid out their plan for the College in a single document called the “Blueprint for Change.” The plan articulates Carreño and Douglass’ ideas on issues ranging from student volunteerism, SA transparency and reform of College policies on the environment and alcohol.
“We talked to over one hundred student leaders in our outreach effort,” Carreño said. “We’ve talked to a lot of members of the Greek community and other organizations about housing and other issues to see what they think.”
Carreño and Douglass said their main goal was an overhaul of the SA’s finance code.
“The main problem is the spending limits,” Carreño said. “Organizations can’t spend that much on food, operational [expenses] and publicity is limited to $20.”
Carreño said the SA’s finance rules are complicated and irregularly enforced.
“The SA is really hypocritical with the finance laws,” Carreño said. “They spent $150 on the ‘What Can Your Student Assembly Do For You’ event, and only three non-SA members showed up. We think the organizations that put on successful events should get priority.”
Carreño and Douglass both said the SA’s allocation of money is inefficient and can be improved.
“Instead of shelling out money anywhere, we will give it where it’s needed most,” Douglass said.
Some have criticized Carreño for lack of SA experience, something Carreño sees as a strength.
“I feel like I’m qualified as an outsider,” Carreño said. “A lot of people say you need a lot of institutional knowledge of the SA to succeed, but [Zach] Pilchen and [Valerie] Hopkins didn’t have much experience and they did a good job,” Carreño said.
Douglass said Carreño brings a new perspective to a student assembly some say is too insulated.
“Everybody in the SA lives in a bubble, and Horacio is outside of that bubble,” Douglass said. “He’ll tell you straight up what he thinks.”
While Carreño lacks direct SA experience, Douglass brings nearly two years of student government knowledge to the ticket.
“As an SA member, you understand how people think,” Douglass said. “The thing is, one of the vice president’s jobs is to work with the senate, and I know the players.”
Carreño and Douglass want to work with the SA to implement their agenda, but both have criticized the organization in the past. Carreño is disappointed with the SA and the way it funds organizations, saying that it could do a better job.
Douglass said SA members are preoccupied with appearances rather than fulfilling their responsibilities.
“The SA wants to look good, but it has to be good,” Douglass said. “In some aspects, the SA has failed completely. We want to restore authenticity and trust in the SA.”
Before they can effect the changes they want, Carreño and Douglass must win the election first. Both are optimistic about their chances.
Regardless of the outcome of the election, however, Carreño and Douglass are prepared to work with student leaders to bring about their vision of a united tribe.