Hello Wheaton! My name is Mikaela Savarese, I use she/her or they/them pronouns, and I am running for President of the Student Government Association. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the SGA for the past three years, and because of this I have extensive knowledge on our college’s administrative structures and procedures. In the past two years, I have built the Accessibility Chair position while working closely with the student body and campus administrators such as the Dean of Students to advocate for improved mental health services and an increase in campus accessibility. I have learned an incredible amount about being an advocate and about the barriers to Wheaton’s students’ own advocacy.
As President, I will work tirelessly to change the current culture of advocacy at Wheaton into something that works for all of our students while prioritizing the diversity, equity, and inclusion work that should have been central to SGA’s work for years.
Put major institutional change and advocacy back in the hands of students.
Ultimately, I believe that advocacy and change should be up to the student body. I believe that SGA’s role in student initiated change should be to bridge the gap between administration and students. Rather than take over the conversations, we should provide a platform for students themselves to bring concerns forward with our support and knowledge of administrative processes. SGA must do better to elevate student voices by including them in initiatives, asking for feedback, and by regularly communicating updates and projects to the campus community. As President, I will work to create monthly communications between SGA and the student body including updates and initiatives, progress reports, and a direct mechanism for student feedback. I will also work to increase the accessibility of changemaking tools for every student on campus. I will work to educate students on proposal writing and administrative processes within SGA and Wheaton’s administration in order to aid students in generating change.
Reform SGA’s own processes to centralize DEI work.
I hope to reform SGA’s structure so that diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are central in the work that SGA does. The executive boards do amazing work, but that doesn’t excuse SGA as a whole from learning about DEI and applying those principles to all of the work that we do. To do this, I would like to forge closer ties between SGA and other student organizations. I personally aim to reach out and meet with as many club executive boards as possible in order to better understand the priorities of individual groups. Additionally, I will aim to work closely with the new Associate Vice President of the Institute of Equity and Belonging and Vice President of Student Affairs. As the advisor to the Student Life and Services committee, I will amend the mission of the committee to focus on equity and inclusion on campus.
Work closely with campus offices and within SGA to increase transparency and accountability.
Through my work with the Counseling Center and DEAL Senate, I have an understanding of the administration’s perspective on transparency and information sharing. I intend to use this knowledge to tear down these barriers, one such barrier being the lack of student involvement in talks of college structural change, such as the incident that occured with the switch to Campus Safety. I believe that student voices should be instrumental in forming policies such as the student conduct process, and therefore there should be increased student representation on administrative committees. In terms of SGA, the organization works for the students. We are here to benefit our student body, and therefore our own binding documents and processes should be published more transparently and explained more clearly.
I am always impressed by the way SGA members grow attached to their work and their peers. I hope to continue to foster this passion for the betterment of Wheaton’s campus and to continue to push our members to embody their roles as representatives of the student body. Wheaton’s community is one of the strongest features of the college, and I hope to continue to encourage our SGA representatives to communicate with, listen to, and help their peers.
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