Heidt takes the helm, forms ACT platform

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Vicka Heidi '24 ledas the class of 2024 as president and is interested in politics. COURTESY PHOTO / VICKA HEIDT

Class of 2024 President Vicka Heidt ’24 has always had a passion for politics. Ever since she was a freshman in high school, Heidt has been involved with both student government and real-world politics. 

Only a month into her college career, Heidt decided to run for president of the class of 2024 in the College of William and Mary’s Student Assembly election. Sept. 17, Heidt received 63.35 percent of the vote, securing the 2024 presidency.  

In addition to the usual campaigning efforts, Heidt found herself navigating new guidelines set by the administration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“A huge portion of my campaign was just talking to students,” Heidt said. “I met with almost all of Lion L just because I had a friend in there and I was sitting down with them and getting dinner and I then I met with a bunch of other halls. In the weeks before the election … I tried to make sure that I was getting every single meal with a new person. At the end of the day, I just wanted to become friends with the people I hoped would vote for me. I just wanted to hear what they had to say and what they care about and what they have to say about the community. Outreach was very important.” 

However, Heidt is not unfamiliar with the world of campaigning. During the 2016 presidential  election, Heidt helped with Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton’s campaign, which she considers as her first real introduction to politics. Since then, she has been involved in local county politics around Virginia, interning with various campaigns around the state.  

For Heidt, it was only natural to want to run for class president once she got to the College. She said that she holds a very strong belief in being a representative for the students at the College and is excited to work with her fellow  class of 2024 senators, Sen. Mia Tilman ’24, Sen. Sailor Miao ’24, Sen. Gloriana Cubero Fernandez ’24 and Sen. Isabella Strauss ’24, in bringing about positive changes in the College community. 

Heidt’s campaign ran on a platform of an acronym she made called ACT, which stands for Accessibility, Change and Transparency. When she first started her campaign, Heidt had a long list of goals that she wanted to accomplish, and part of the process was narrowing them down to something simple yet all-encompassing.

Ultimately, she explained, all her campaign’s goals came down to one of those three pillars. 

“Starting with accessibility, I really wanted to look through the lens of both mental wellness and disability accessibility,” Heidt said. “For me, they’re both personally important and I know they’re incredibly important to a lot of people on campus too, especially with regards to mental wellness since that’s something that William and Mary has struggled with in the past. I know the Student Assembly has constantly prioritized … mental health. As for disability, I shared this with my platform, which was really difficult for me. I talked about my mom, who has multiple sclerosis … so for me, accessibility on all fronts is incredibly important.”

“Starting with accessibility, I really wanted to look through the lens of both mental wellness and disability accessibility,” Heidt said. “For me, they’re both personally important and I know they’re incredibly important to a lot of people on campus too, especially with regards to mental wellness since that’s something that William and Mary has struggled with in the past. I know the Student Assembly has constantly prioritized … mental health. As for disability, I shared this with my platform, which was really difficult for me. I talked about my mom, who has multiple sclerosis … so for me, accessibility on all fronts is incredibly important.” 

Heidt expanded on her platform, addressing what change she wants to see and facilitate on campus.  

“I talked about systemic racism, and William and Mary’s act in it, and their inability to respond to it over the past couple of months,” Heidt said. “… we pride ourselves on having ‘one Tribe, one community’ and that starts with having a diverse … faculty, and I know we’re not there yet. It’s been advocated for by students of color and indigenous people in this community, so that was massive for me. In that role, I need to take the backburner and listen to my peers, which is why I wanted to talk to students from all aspects of the College, and learn how to be a good ally.” 

It is important to Heidt that she make herself available to her fellow classmates. She spoke on her own personal experience seeing the issues with transparency within the community. Heidt hopes that she has shown to her community that she is there to be available to their needs.

“I’ve only been in the presidency for eight days and it seems like every single day there’s a new issue with transparency or a new thing that’s hindering the transparency of the community,” Heidt said. “It’s so frustrating. As for me as a representative, I want people to be able to come to me and I’m going to tell them what I’m going to do or what I believe in. I’m not going to hide behind a curtain. With my campaign, my biggest focal point was being available for other students to talk to me and tell me what they think.”

“I’ve only been in the presidency for eight days and it seems like every single day there’s a new issue with transparency or a new thing that’s hindering the transparency of the community,” Heidt said. “It’s so frustrating. As for me as a representative, I want people to be able to come to me and I’m going to tell them what I’m going to do or what I believe in. I’m not going to hide behind a curtain. With my campaign, my biggest focal point was being available for other students to talk to me and tell me what they think.” 

Heidt said she wants to continue her platform of ACT during her time in the Senate and work with others to help improve accessibility, foster positive change and increase the transparency between the student body and the administration. While she would like to tackle every issue she can, she said that she knows that she can only do so much. 

Heidt said that she and her peers and commit a lot of time to SA, and work a minimum of five hours per week on meetings and work for the senate, as well as debates, discussions and outside communications. Heidt said that she wants to be there for students as much as she can, and that even if she is not a part of a specific organization, she still wants to support them. 

Heidt’s described her current projects are working on improving mental wellness around campus and working on creating some initiatives, as well as looking into ways to help with the Black Lives Matter movement on campus, and the Student Rights Initiative with the other senators and class presidents. 

In addition to serving as the president of the class of 2024, Heidt is interested in law and international relations. 

Heidt said that she is excited to be at the College and to make an impact in the community through collaboration with others. She said she is going to put in the work in and continue to put the work in to make the campus a better place for everyone, as much as she can. 

“That is my promise to the class of 2024,” Heidt said.