After months of campaigning, debating, and planning, Mary Muromcew ’22 and Sean Meng ’22 were elected as Andover’s 2021-2022 Student Body Co-Presidents on May 1.
According to Meng, the election process was full of memorable moments and now, as co-presidents, he and Muromcew will look to enact change and build onto their past experiences in student council.
“This last month has been a roller coaster, but also I think it’s been a good learning experience. We’ve never really gone through anything like this before and it was nice to be able to go through it with an amazing partner like Mary. We’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Mary’s been our class rep for the past few years… I was class rep [Junior] year, so we have seen student council and its cycles and we’re just excited to bring our platform to life and to really see where student council as a group can take it,” said Meng.
Muromcew and Meng noted the importance of mutual respect in the partnership they forged during their campaign. Muromcew felt that Meng was a good running partner not only because of her respect for him but also due to his work ethic and warmth.
Muromcew said, “I really respect Sean. He’s so hard-working and just a really kind person. I feel like he emits a lot of warmth and light to the people he talks to and I always feel really happy after I talk to him, so I was like why would I run with anyone but Sean.”
Next year, the pair is excited to get to know the younger students. With the current feelings of disconnect due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Muromcew eventually wants to go to student dorms and create a connection with the underclassmen she has not interacted with.
“I think something we’re both really eager to do is to go to dorms and to get to know the underclassmen. I feel like this is a general sentiment among our class is that we really don’t know many of the Lowers and [Juniors] just because [of] everything that’s been going on this past year, so I think that’s definitely something that’s been on my mind,” said Muromcew.
Additionally, the pair is looking forward to implementing their platform through the student council. A large facet of their platform is a reformation of the Disciplinary Committee (D.C.) by adding counselors at every stage. From personal experience and stories, the pair found counselors imperative to prioritizing student mental health during the D.C. process.
Meng said, “We’ve had a number of friends who have had this D.C. experience, and if you think about a disciplinary committee, there [are ]only so many options that come out of it… it can rank all the way up to expulsion, which is a huge step back in your life. We think that… you should have someone there who’s trained to talk to you throughout the entire thing, so integration of counselors is huge.”
On the subject of mental health, Muromcew spoke of her personal experiences at Andover. Through the lens of her own experiences, Muromcew looks forward to working with Andover to create a better place for student mental health. She and Meng plan to do this partially through re-implementing Andover’s personal time program.
“I had a really tough experience with mental health on campus. I went through the medical leave process, and I ended up not going on med-leave, but I was still involved in that process to a pretty big extent, hence [Sean and I have been] thinking about what actual, tangible, specific actions we can take on campus like personal time,” said Muromcew.
This focus on mental health led Muromcew and Meng to their main goal as co-presidents: support. They believe in a focus on support in all aspects of campus life, and place an importance on giving students a platform for their ideas.
“If [we] were to distill everything that we want to do into one word, the word would be support… We want to create infrastructure for you to have that support, and that ties into student body unification. How do we give your voice at the table? How do we give you an audience? How can you be heard and how can you be supported? That also ties into working directly with student groups. How can we give you the manpower that you need, the audience that you need, the support that you need, the resources?” said Meng.
Meng emphasized that support will not stop with students’ ideas. He explained that he and Muromcew plan to create an intrapersonal support system on campus to institutionalize help for students and improve mental health on campus.
Meng said, “The other side of support is what happens if you’re not doing ok. You have one of those days or one of those weeks where you’re just sitting in your room and you’re like dude, I can not do this. How can we, as a student government, also be there for you? So how can we create infrastructure and how can we create systems that ensure there is someone there for you to talk to you, to support you when you need it?”
Editor’s Note: Sean Meng ’22 is a Business Editor for The Phillipian.