Keely Aouga ’19 and Nick Demetroulakos ’19 secured their place as Student Body Co-Presidents for the 2018-2019 school year. According to Demetroulakos, the two have been friends since their Junior Fall history class. On Wednesday, after a long campaign process, the pair celebrated winning together.
Demetroulakos said, “Working with Keely has been a pleasure, and I think we’ve done a really good job of feeding off each other, in terms of getting really excited about it. When we realize how scary it is, we make sure we’re there for each other. For me, it’s reinforced what I really appreciate about Andover, and that’s the people. You can’t be the Student Body Co-President without really knowing the student body.”
In their platform, Aouga and Demetroulakos focused on three main goals: positivity on campus, communication between students and faculty, and wellness, which includes parietal changes and improving the availability of counselors at Sykes Wellness Center.
Aouga said, “One big thing for us is spreading positivity on campus because Andover is not an easy place to be [at] sometimes. That’s something Nick and I thought would be the most feasible on our platform because it doesn’t take a lot to spread positivity. Just letting someone know that you’re there for them is really important, especially when you’re at a school that can be really difficult.”
Demetroulakos said, “I think our positivity makes us really great partners, and being able to build off each other. We’re both friendly people, and I think that that really goes a long way in helping us move forward, but when we need to get stuff done, we get it done.”
According to Aouga, one way to foster positivity and happiness on campus is to improve student-faculty communication.
“If you’re communicating with a faculty member you trust, when you’re having a problem, it helps you do better and excel at Andover. When you know you can go to your resources, you’re more equipped to go through your Andover experience,” said Aouga.
In their platform, Aouga and Demetroulakos proposed having an online suggestion box where students can submit their concerns, as well as establishing a biweekly newsletter outlining what Student Council is working on, and organizing faculty-student meetings more frequently.
Demetroulakos said, “Everyone [who runs for co-presidency] says communication, because I think that is genuinely a really big problem. The faculty and the students don’t see eye-to-eye, and I don’t think there’s enough interaction. When are you ever seeing faculty outside of class? Even if they’re not a dean or a policy-maker, they are still important, and if they hear concerns from a student, hopefully during a faculty meeting those are concerns they would raise.”
In pushing for reform of the parietal system, Aouga and Demetroulakos hope to continue the work of former Co-Presidents Sam Bird ’18 and Eastlyn Frankel ’18.
Demetroulakos said, “I think a lot of people want to see that changed, and I think Sam and Eastlyn have done a really good job of pushing for it and getting momentum, and if we can build on that, we can really get stuff done.”
In addition to making parietal rules more lenient, their platform suggested using online, off-campus counseling services to improve wellness on campus. Because there is such a high demand for counselors at the Sykes Center, the pair want to make the services at Sykes more accessible.
Another issue they want to focus on is how to compensate for the loss of study space when the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library closes for renovation during the 2018-2019 school year.
“We want to make sure that there are study spaces for the day students, especially, but for the boarders as well. It’s going to be a hard transition, but we just want the faculty to be aware of the student body’s needs,” said Demetroulakos.
Although policy is big part of their role as Co-Presidents, Aouga and Demetroulakos also want to focus on connecting with students.
Demetroulakos said, “For Keely and I both, at the end of the day, we’re just fun-loving people. That sounds very cheesy, but we both just like making people laugh, and I think that’s just as important a job for the Co-Presidents. Yes, policy is very important, but part of it is also to be a face on campus, and be someone who is engaging with the students and someone people want to talk to.”
When asked about what message she would like to send to the Andover community, Aouga said, “We’re in Spring Term, and everyone is ready for Summer Vacation, since it’s not very warm out. It’s only the first week back, so people are in a good mood, but people are kind of thinking that, next week, that excitement will end. I just want to tell everyone to keep pushing and that you’re going to make it to the end of the term. If you can make it through Fall and Winter Term, you can make it through Spring Term.”
Editor’s Note: Keely Aouga is a Commentary Editor for The Phillipian.