On Sunday evening Student Assembly presidential candidates Kaveh Sadeghian ’12 and David Alpert ’13 and their respective running mates Molly Bulman ’12 and Tamara Middleton ’14 took to the podium in a presidential debate.
Candidates started off the evening with a five-minute introductory speech, presenting their views and goals, then proceeded into a formal question and answer period. They finished by taking questions from the audience.
Both Sadeghian and Bulman have served in positions of leadership in the Student Assembly before; they currently serve as Vice President of the Student Assembly and Secretary of Student Life, respectively. The rising seniors are running on three pillars: collaboration, practicality and accountability.
“They’re not just ideal prototypes of what we can get done,” Sadeghian said. “[Our ideas] have been researched, they’ve been looked into, and there’s a practicality to all these goals that we’ve been talking about.”
While Sadeghian and Bulman both tout experience, Alpert also emphasized that he has gained a considerable amount of experience during his two years as the president of the Class of 2013. Middleton has never held an SA position before, but enters the ticket with a broad perspective, as she has been involved with Project S.W.A.G., Tribe Ambassadors and H.O.P.E in less than a year on campus.
“As a younger ticket we’re really excited to just get in and get things done,” Middleton said. “With my fresh perspective and David’s experience, we’re just really excited to jump in and work with Student Assembly and talk to you guys.”
Sadeghian’s and Bulman’s main ideas for the College include fostering more collaboration between student organizations, as well as between undergraduate and graduate students. They emphasized that they realize there is a lot of work left to do.
“Something that’s different about our ticket is that we focus on what we can get done,” Bulman said. “We really wanted to make sure we could deliver and get results within a year.”
Student life reform is at the forefront on both candidates’ campaigns.
Sadeghian’s goals for student life include increasing the accessibility of parking services, offering a non-credit personal finance class and looking into low-cost school health insurance options.
Sadeghian and Bulman’s brainchild, HARK, is a student-based web portal that allows members of the College community to post event flyers, sell textbooks, organize carpools and advertise local jobs. The website, which has already been formulated, will launch by the end of the semester.
Alpert and Middleton, meanwhile, also have a wide range of new ideas to improve student life including free laundry machines on campus and the return of the William and Mary Movie Chanel.
In addition, Alpert and Middleton also focused on improving the student experience in Earl Greg Swem Library. They advocate Swem being opened 24 hours year round, room reserve systems, and phone and computer charger checkouts in the library.
In terms of the organizing their budget, Sadeghian and Bulman plan to bring online bill payments back and to allow an online book exchange through HARK. Alpert and Middleton hope to increase funding for larger student organizations while decreasing arbitrary budget restrictions on clubs and streamlining the budget process with in the SA.
Both candidates are pro gender-neutral housing, with Sadeghian promising to advocate for students who require such housing and push the administration to follow through. Alpert pledged to appoint an undersecretary geared specifically toward working to clear the remaining hurdles involved in the issue.
Another issue upon which both candidates agree is that students should be more involved in the 2012 Williamsburg City Council Elections. By bringing candidates to campus, Sadeghian hopes to spread awareness and increase voter registration, while Alpert hopes to get more students out to the polls.
Student Assembly elections will take place online March 24