With “Listening to You” campaign posters scattered around the College of William and Mary campus, a Kickstarter initiative called “TWAMPstart” released through social media platforms, and one week of talking to student groups complete, Trevor Parkes ’15 and Liz Hernandez ’15 are in the midst of running to become president and vice president of the Student Assembly next year.
If elected, Parkes and Hernandez hope to improve students’ mental, physical and sexual health services, eliminate required meal plans for students who live on campus, and improve relations between students and the City of Williamsburg.
The pair also plans to fund off-campus counseling visits and expand the Student Health Center’s hours. Parkes and Hernandez said they also believe that every student organization that receives money from the SA should receive annual sexual-assault intervention training.
“I hold this issue really close to my heart, especially in light of the email that circulated,” Hernandez said. “We think this isn’t just a female issue; this is a safety and security issue… That’s something we’re really going to push to [the] forefront of our agenda if we do get elected, and that starts with training and educating everyone on these issues.”
Parkes and Hernandez also hope to educate the College’s faculty, which currently receives no training in dealing with sexual assault.
The pair said they also think students should have more dining options, citing students with dietary restrictions and students who live in dorms with full kitchens, like the new fraternity houses and the apartment complexes.
Parkes and Hernandez want to work with Williamsburg on changing the “three person rule,” noise violation process and involvement in city politics.
“We would like to work with legislators to knock [the noise violations] down so it’s not a court event. …We would like to make sure that students have an exception [to the ‘three person rule’] in general,” Parkes said.
Parkes and Hernandez said they also want to increase opportunities for student involvement in the city. Their initiative “TWAMPstart” — a think tank designed to pair students’ creative business ideas with Williamsburg investors and businesses — is one way the pair plans to improve communication.
“We have a great resource, and that resource is a human resource,” Parkes said. “We have 6,000 undergrad[uate]s and 2,000 grad[uate] students — over 8,000 total — and this human resource can really be used to make not only William and Mary a better place, and really foster these bright students, but also Williamsburg a better place.”
Parkes, an Eagle Scout from Pennsylvania and the current Secretary of College Policy for the Student Assembly, is the president of the Omega Alpha Chapter of Delta Phi Fraternity at the College. Parkes also led the Inter-Fraternity Council last year as a sophomore.
Hernandez works with the Undergraduate Admission Office as a Multicultural Affairs Intern and encourages students to give back to campus as a Developmental Ambassador. Hernandez is also a member of the Alpha Pi Chapter of Kappa Delta Sorority.
Parkes and Hernandez, who met freshman year, said that their experiences both inside and outside the SA makes them strong candidates for the president and vice president roles. They chose their slogan — “Listening to You” — because the duo said they hope to give back to the community by listening to them.
“I think I’m leaving a really well-rounded individual and really I owe that to a lot of older people I looked up to my entire time here who, when I approached them and asked them what some ideas they had to get me involved were, they took the time to listen to me and hear what I needed and what I was looking for here,” Parkes said. “They really got me started on a life-changing path and I cannot be appreciative enough. We want to give that opportunity to every student here.”