Kantaria and Danford assume new positions
By Kira Witkin, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Former Student Body President Max Yoeli ’12 and Vice President Amrita Sankar ’12 officially stepped down from their positions at the General Assembly meeting on Tuesday, making way for new President Suril Kantaria ’13 and Vice President Julia Danford ’13. Kantaria and Danford outlined both long and short-term goals for Student Assembly, such as revamping the Assembly’s image and improving communication with the student body and administration.
Kantaria said he spoke to many students who did not understand the Assembly’s role on campus while campaigning for the presidency. He and Danford said they hope to foster student body involvement in the Assembly, potentially by installing a bulletin board in the Collis Center that offers information about the Assembly’s recent initiatives and by redesigning the Assembly’s website.
Kantaria and Danford said they hope to reach out to different groups on campus by establishing “senator” positions, or liaisons between campus groups and the Assembly, who will advocate for their respective groups’ interests at meetings. The Assembly may vote on an amendment to the Assembly’s constitution that would give these senators voting rights, according to Kantaria and Danford.
As College President Jim Yong Kim prepares to leave his post for the World Bank, the upcoming year will be especially important for the Assembly, which Kantaria said he hopes will allow students to influence the selection of the next College president. Kantaria said he hopes to ensure that Presidential Search Committee Chair Bill Helman ’80 will consider student perspectives by launching a website to solicit student input on key qualities for Kim’s successor.
“I think the student voice will be very loud and strong and clear during the search process itself,” Kantaria said.
Danford said the team also aims to design a leadership summit that would occur prior to Fall term and would enable campus leaders from different groups to come together for discussion.
The groups at the summit would compile a report that could be presented to the College president.
The administration also hopes to organize peer-to-peer freshman advising pilot program, according to Danford.
During the meeting, the group voted to approve legislation allocating $2,000 in funds for a tailgate at Alpha Delta fraternity on Saturday.
“I really think it’s a way to improve our image, and I think that’s really needed right now,” Kantaria said.
He said he hopes Assembly members will be at the event to discuss the group’s initiatives for the upcoming year.
To finish their respective terms, Yoeli and Sankar said they hope to complete two student service projects — a revised Hacker Club course guide that would use information about students’ majors and grade point averages to provide expected grades in classes and an interactive map of campus offering data about events occurring at certain locations in real time.
“Our greatest ambition is that you will only be more successful than us,” Sankar said in a speech at the meeting.
Yoeli said that serving as president was “frustrating at times,” but added that the experience was an honor and expressed optimism about Kantaria and Danford’s tenure.
“You guys have a very bright future, and I think you’re going to play a great role in a transitional year and really advocate for the student voice,” Yoeli said.