Making Progress Practical

Part of my stance as a candidate throughout this election has been to work pragmatically and set realistic goals. As both a Lower and Upper Representative, I gained perspective on policies that had been pursued without success, such as attempts to extend gym hours under Malin Adams ’09. In my presidency, I would first like to address the things I know can be accomplished. With regards to administrative decisions, it is imperative to keep in mind that Student Council does not dictate school policy. The administration does. I believe that the use of a breathalyzer is an affront to the notion of mutual trust between students and faculty, and that actions of this nature only further the rift between these two parties. However, we must acknowledge that the our form of student government is subservient to a certain degree, and that we must obey the policies set by the administration. So, in that regard, I propose that the only realistic way for Student Council to institute change on a policy basis, especially in disciplinary matters, is through discussion and conversation with deans and faculty members. Considering these circumstances, the main question at hand is what can the president do and, more specifically, what can I do, to initiate change? I can and will start with the little day-to-day problems that frequently disturb student life. These are the minor issues that collectively plague our campus and go unfixed regardless of how many years pass by. There’s no point in worrying about large-scale goals if we can’t even tackle the easy tasks in front of us. If elected, I’ll pursue these lesser goals immediately, most likely within the coming spring term. This will allow the Student Council to focus our efforts on larger goals for the 2010-11 school year. A lack of organization, as well as the excitement of leading a newly-elected Student Council, has hindered the efforts of past presidents. During my time on Student Council, I have seen this trend far too often. Success is measured primarily on an individual basis and by how much effort one is willing to put into a project. My friends, I am ready to work. My experience and familiarity with Student Council procedures would easily allow me to transition, move forward my agenda and tear apart the burden of problems that have gone neglected or unsolved over the course of my three years here. Under my presidency, Student Council will have spent a whole term addressing technical issues like the vending machines, change machines and clock synchronization. This way, OPP can address and fix these things over the summer, at a time when campus life is much quieter. Then, when we come back in the fall, we can focus on our bigger goals. During my campaign I’ve proposed a number of these larger goals, none of which are unfeasible or impossible to accomplish. They include community biking (a project that could be funded by the Abbot Grant Association), parietal reform (change that could be brought about by amending the system so that those legally over the age of consent could bypass certain regulations), restricting penultimate week (in an attempt to stagger departmental testing, so that students don’t end up dropping a full grade point come finals week because of their convergent syllabi) and, lastly, moving textbooks online (a feasible project that would affirm Andover’s position as a greener institution). I want to make Student Council a body for the students again, and not just a conglomeration of titular offices. Student Council can change campus life, and we’ve seen it done numerous times, such as the institution of the Blue Card system. Now, I do not blame students in recent years for their criticism of the Council. Admittedly, at times it has seemed stagnant. But, believe me, I am trying to reverse this misconception. From having created student discounts with local merchants downtown to having coordinated class field trips, it is evident that I am running as a politician. I’m not in this race for the pretense of a title. My aspiration is not to be referred to as “Mr. President,” by my peers. I’m in it because I want to revitalize our Council and get things done. I want to stop playing kick-the-can and hearing buzzwords like “faster internet,” or “week-by-week test restrictions.” Such things are simply smoke and mirrors, illusions that have not accompanied by a process. What I offer as a candidate is practical change, possible change and ambitious goals with a purpose. Nothing in my platform is unfounded or impossible to achieve. All that is required is time-management. My fellow Phillipians: the time has come. Not here to play? Neither am I. Vote MacKay. Mike MacKay is a three-year Upper from Westford, MA. He is one of the Upper Representatives for Student Council.