I have always seen Student Assembly as nothing more than a resume boost for those in it. Never have I been able to name an initiative that SA has accomplished; that is, never was I able to name a noteworthy initiative until meeting David DeMarco. As a transfer student new to the College of William and Mary this year, I am in awe of David’s commitment to making this school a better place for everyone, not just for his fellow members of SA. His actions have made me realize that student governments truly have the ability to make substantial change, provided the right people are running it.
The first time I met David was before I was even a student here. I visited the school during my initial thoughts of transferring, and in the short minutes I interacted with him, I was amazed and almost intimidated by his dedication and ability to make connections with people. Almost a year later, on the first day of classes last fall, I walked into my climate change class not expecting to know anyone. Moments after taking my seat, none other than David came in and sat down right next to me and welcomed me like we had been friends for years.
Since then, David has never stopped encouraging me to share concerns with him. He even has personally reached out to my friends, who he has no direct connection to, to find out how he can improve their time at the College. For two years he has been attending different club and chapter meetings, putting out surveys, and sitting out on the Sadler terrace dressed as Santa, all to find out what students’ main issues are.
Of course, anyone can ask students for their opinions, but the hard part is truly listening and then acting on it. David has shown repeatedly that he has the drive and the capability to confront student concerns and then make meaningful change for the better. Some of my best friends are vegetarian, and it is a challenge every day for them to find food options in the dining halls. I have seen them sit down to eat with a plate of carrots and cucumbers for lunch because there is nothing else available. We have seen everything from labeled vegetarian options with bacon in it, to bugs in the vegetables. When we reached out to David about it, his response was “I have a meeting with a Sodexo representative soon, and I will bring it up then.” We now have a Tribe Truck that accepts meal swipes and has vegetarian options every week because of what David was able to do after hearing student voices.
Food and other problems of that magnitude aren’t the only things he cares about. I have come to him with issues as small as one bad experience with Tribe Card Services and within a week he had a meeting scheduled with them. He even gave me the opportunity to attend the meeting with him. His action against such small concerns, if nothing else, shows his genuine devotion to every individual student.
Additionally, Nyla represents a critical fresh perspective to SA. SA has continuously disregarded the opinions of students. More than any other candidate, Nyla understands what the common student experience is and how it can be improved. Her involvement in athletics and in the College’s Black Student Organization on campus exposes her to a broad range of students and their individual experiences. She can truly relate to what it feels like to be a student not heard by the people whose job it is to listen.
Partnered together, David and Nyla have the ability to dramatically improve student life. Having been in SA since arriving at the College, David knows how it runs and how to use the position to accurately address what students are concerned about. Having never been in Student Assembly, Nyla can address what she has witnessed first-hand and offer her unique perspective on student representation. Because of this, David and Nyla have my vote for SA President and Vice President.
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