2016-2017 Co-Presidential Candidates: Rosie Poku ’17 & Johnny Rex ’17

And then there were two. The field of candidates in the race for the co-presidency was winnowed down to the final two pairs, Arthur Paleologos ’17 & Madison Pettaway ’17 and Rosie Poku ’17 & Johnny Rex ’17. Speaking about their platforms, the 4×5 schedule and the upcoming Empathy and Balance curriculum, the two pairs sat down with The Phillipian and shared their thoughts.

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Why do you guys want to be Co-Presidents?

Rosie: I really can’t imagine my life without Andover at this point. It has really done so much to shape how I view the world and live my life and interact with others. I’m so grateful and appreciative of Andover and I want to give back to this community that I feel has given me so much and helped me to shape my identity. I want to be able to give back [to Andover] and I want to do it with Johnny too because he’s amazing and we work well together.

Johnny: My answer goes hand in hand with Rosie’s, I just couldn’t imagine my life without Andover… I think going to Andover has really shaped me as a person and changed my viewpoints and helped me to be aware of my surroundings and understand others around me. For that reason, I’m really grateful for Andover. Same as Rosie, I really want to give back and be a leader for my school. I’m really psyched to run with Rosie, she’s super cool.

What do you think makes an ideal Co-President?

Johnny: I think somebody who doesn’t [put] themselves above others. I think a good Co- President should be really approachable and relatable, and I feel like Rosie and I have those qualities. We’re both very down-to-earth and we would be willing to talk with anybody who wanted to talk to us. I think Co-Presidents should definitely be approachable.

Rosie: Yeah definitely…I think they should be able to work together, but [also] bring different perspectives to things, which I think Johnny and I are able to do because we’re very different people. We have different beliefs, different [view on] lots of things, but we do work well together. A major key.

What do you think makes you two a good pair?

Johnny: Initially, I wasn’t planning on running for Co-President, but a friend of mine asked me if I would run with Rosie and I couldn’t [turn] away that opportunity. I just thought we would work well together… We’re both very involved on campus and we’re both super committed to everything we do and we love this school.

Rosie: We work well together, we’re willing to talk with any and every member of this community, and I think we cover a lot of people, a lot of different beliefs, [and] a lot of different aspects of campus, so we can represent the student body more fully.

What would you say is the most important aspect of your platform?

Rosie: Probably, student health and wellness.

Johnny: Our campus lacks a sort of education about substance abuse, and I think there is a lot of stress and peer pressure on campus to [participate in] these things. I feel like people don’t have any notion on how it could affect them before they do it, and only realize after they get into the substances or drugs and alcohol that they realize that these can be harmful. So, um, I think the big focus of our platform is to provide, to enhance and encourage discussions about substance abuse.

Rosie: And also within the general realm of health is sexual health. We know that in two years, the 4x 5 schedule will be implemented and there will be a whole Wellness, Empathy, and Balance curriculum within that, but next year it’s still sort of a lack of that; it’s the same schedule that we have this year. So, we want to be sure in that transition year, there will still be opportunities to learn about general wellness and in particular, sexual education. What we wanted to do was to have someone from the Sykes center come to every dorm and every day student advising group and answer your anonymously written questions about sexual health because that’s not required right now, but it’s an option. We want to make sure that everyone has the same grounding, same foundation in that.

And also, we want to make sure that Wellness Week isn’t just being lectured at, but they’re engaging presentations and you also have a chance to talk about them afterwards because you have to reflect in order for anything to be effective.

Do you guys have a campaign slogan?

Rosie: Rojo… rhymes with mojo. “RoJo is PA’s mojo” (they just came up with this on the spot)

In what ways have you guys executed your campaigning for the Co-Presidency campaign?

Johnny: First, we started collecting signatures, that was probably the most important.

Rosie: And we talked with everyone about our platform. We actually got extra signatures, so we could make sure we talked to as many people as we could about it.

Johnny: We started devising a platform beforehand, so we talked about our ideas with people and we got good feedback for the most part. And then we created a Facebook page. We tried to get attention from [Facebook] about our campaign, to post updates and thank yous.

Rosie: We were in the debate last week. And just talking to people if they ask, sometimes just bringing it up ourselves and letting them know what we stand for and what our platform is.