Candidate Chippy Kennedy

Candidate Chippy Kennedy

Why do you want this position?

“I think there’s a lot that has been started this year in USG that needs to continue, the biggest example being how USG has been treating our student orgs in terms of offering resources for them and all students. I want to make sure that I see those things through and that they continue to operate at the best of their ability and become traditions for the student government to offer to the student body. Similarly, with my job on the Student Executive Council (SEC), I think that there’s a lot of potential to reform. What exactly that means is up for debate. In the position of USG president, I can continue that work in terms of someone who is advocating for change, regardless of what that may be.”

What is one initiative that you really want to complete in your first semester?

“I’d say first and foremost making the general assembly (GA) a public event. Currently, it’s open to the student body, but the attendance is not really indicative of that. My goal would be to make GA as open as possible, and there’s a lot of ways to do that, from PR to reforming them as much more of a community event. Right now there’s a lot of internal things that happen that don’t necessarily need to happen every two weeks… Our time would be a lot more fulfilled if we were taking feedback. I want to make sure USG representatives are in their community doing their job on a public level. There are a lot of USG reps who work extremely hard and the students don’t know to go to them. For example, with the Starbucks $2 drinks. A few students wrote letters to Jim O’Brien and Dick Jamieson. That’s really good, but I want to be in a community where students don’t have to take the time or don’t feel the need to take the time and can go to their USG representatives instead. I also want to have office hours where USG representatives do mandatory constituency outreach.”

What do you see as the most persistent recurring issues on campus?

“I’d say the current biggest issue on campus is general apathy amongst students for campus life and campus issues. Its not necessarily that students are generally apathetic, its just sometimes they’re not taking all the steps they could to learning more about what is happening around them. This ranges from politics and change to events. I think CWRU is unique for the size of its student body, how many events are happening on a given day or a given weekend. With my current position, its sometimes hard to see some of these really well executed events not get as much attendance as they should.”

As president of USG, what actions would you take to solve some of these recurring issues on campus?

“The first is opening up dialogue. On the political side, students will be a lot less apathetic if its a lot easier for them to get their opinion out, whatever it may be. Rather than waiting for them to come to you with a big issue, just try to hear all the small issues along the way… That way all these voices and ideas are coming to USG constantly. USG is an apparatus that in my opinion is very good at taking care of student issues as they come up, we just have a huge problem with getting student issues up in the first place and getting students to feel we’re a safe place to bring their ideas and concerns. Beyond that, I want to promote the role of USG president as someone whose somewhat in charge of campus morale and spirit. Someone who can really push to have the community continue to up its role in supporting itself.”

What is the thing you are most proud of in your time in USG so far?

“In a general sense, its the relationship that my committee and my role have had with the student organizations. Over past years, I’m proud of what my committee has accomplished to make ourselves more publically available for help to educating student groups about our systems to making the entire system more transparent and easier to use. This shows in everything from OrgSync to streamlining processes we use to thinking of new ideas like the SPARTA Center and Tapingo. It’s all to make the whole process of being a student group on campus easier and to make the people that are managing your finances on your side and easier available… I hope that the close student relationship with the vice president of finance and the finance committee as a whole continues well into the future.”

As a member of SEC, what role do you see yourself taking? Editor’s Note: Kennedy currently serves on SEC as the USG Vice President of Finance.

“Next year on SEC, I see myself as being a part of changing SEC for the better. Right now, a lot of concepts have been brought up about SEC from both the students and SEC members include issues with their transparency and lack of student input into their decision making. My goal is to see through reforms, whatever they may be, that make SEC more tranpsarent and involve more students in the process… Despite myself pushing reforms of my own this year, I want to take a step back next year and make sure that I’m pushing for change, as long as the students are happy with it.”

In your letter of intent, you mention wanting to “creatively structur[e] the USG budget to provide for the student body.” How do you plan on doing this?

“It’s a lot of continuing what I’ve done this year, without ever stepping on the future vice president of finance’s toes. I hope to continue the trend which has been streamlining USG’s internal budget and using any money not necessarily needed for that into mass funding, rolling funding and public outreach. In my first two times making budgets, $20,000 went from internal spending to mass funding and rolling funding. This time, we also have a tabled budget at GA that moved $10,000 to $15,000 in same vein.”

How do plan on getting under-engaged students to come out to events?

“Students who are under-engaged or apathetic about politics, its not because they don’t want to care, its just that no one is really holding it in front of their face. We just need to make it as easy as possible. RIght now, no GA, current USG initiative, large student events are heavily PRed or shouted from the rooftops. It’s about being on the quad with people, really building off of USG’s Feedback Fridays, which have been really successful getting student input who aren’t giving much input. The people who are there are giving opinions, they have them. We should be extending that idea to when there is a hot topic USG initiative— making sure that students are hearing about it. It’s just letting the student body know this is what’s being worked on, this is what could be worked on, what do you think about it? That way all the ideas that we wouldn’t have heard from students who are under-engaged, they are 100 percent engaged just by walking out of Nord and being asked to write down their thoughts.”

School spirit is a tough issue to tackle. What actionable plan do you have to change that?

“It’s an issue. I’d say first and foremost especially as USG president is to set a good example. I’m part of athletics here at Case, and I think the athletic department has taken awesome steps in the past few semesters to promote intervarsity support. There’s no reason why we can’t extend that out to students. There’s no reason why we can’t push to have the students who are already doing that and support them any way we can… It’s about getting that superfan culture substantiated at Case. As student body president you can really offer support to that… You can help the campus community as a whole to push that out there. My own example is going to be huge. Secondly, take the examples of other students and making sure they’re not going unnoticed and they get all the help they can get.”