Future Student Body Co-Presidents Aim to Strengthen Connections and Rebuild Andover Culture

Future Student Body Co-Presidents for the 2021-2022 school year, Mary Muromcew ’22 and Sean Meng ’22, were notified of their election results through a playful message from current Co-President Salvador Gómez-Colón ’21.

“[Gómez-Colón] texted us, and he was super serious. He was like, ‘I’m gonna call you now, make sure that you two are together.’ So we found a space—we were right outside the library at one of the sitting areas—so we got the call from him, and then he started off saying, ‘Oh, your efforts were commendable, these elements of your platform would have been really nice to implement.’ So we thought we lost,” said Meng.

Meng continued, “But then, after two minutes of messing with us, [Gómez-Colón] was like, ‘Just kidding, congrats!’ And I think, at that moment, we were so relieved because while we were getting the call from [Gómez-Colón, ]we looked at each other, and we were like, ‘Oh my god, this kind of sucks.’ But getting that news was so relieving. Finally having the election process over was really, really nice, and I gave [Muromcew] a hug afterward. We were like, ‘Wow, we did it!’” 

As co-presidents, Muromcew and Meng hope to focus on unifying the student body and take the lead in re-establishing the Andover community culture after an unprecedented school year. 

“A big question we ask ourselves is, ‘How do we reinstate campus culture?’ [Meng] and I have been talking about not only the spirit side of things but also the policy. A lot of deans we’ve been talking to have been mentioning that we have a lot of [opportunities,] in terms of what’s possible. I think while that does mean that we have a lot that we can do, we obviously need to work harder to really clarify things [in] multiple [areas],” said Muromcew.

Muromcew and Meng plan to tackle this challenge of rebuilding a sense of campus togetherness by visiting dorms and getting more chances to meet people. The pair also looks forward to hosting more all-school events and opportunities that encourage conversation. 

“I think there is a lot of creative space for us to set new traditions that haven’t been done before. We hope to work with the Blue Key Heads—we’re gonna have to be on it next year, and really bring out the best in ourselves… [Meng] and I are also planning some all-school conversation sessions, which will be key for not only student unification but also getting to know teachers and having conversations with them,” said Muromcew. 

Another plan Muromcew and Meng have is to bring more student voices to the Deans’ table–a meeting with all the deans. Through this, they hope to foster collaboration and increase communication between the Andover community.

“We want to make it so that we can bring student leaders … into the Deans’ table system and just have joint efforts working towards a common goal. And we think in that way of working directly with student organizations, working directly with students, [and] not just student leaders who hear things from different places, but actually, from the voices who care the most about things, we can create a type of community that is productive in terms of policy change,” said Meng.

According to Meng, the pair has already started setting up meetings to collaborate with various student and campus organizations. Together, they will focus on sustainability initiatives, Community and Multicultural Development coalition building, and revamping academic integrity education.

“There [are] really two parts of being co-presidents. There’s the policy––things to get done. But also just being a [spiritual] leader and representing the student body. I do also hope that people remember us as being really kind and outgoing—that we made an effort to get to know people. Those are things that we’re really focusing on for next year,” said Muromcew.

Muromcew and Meng hope to be guided by the efforts of previous co-presidents, especially the positivity and kindness shown by current Co-Presidents Megan Cui ’21 and Gómez-Colón.

“I think [Cui and Gómez-Colón] have been amazing. It’s been tough for them, because in this Covid-19 year, meeting with the deans has been incredibly difficult—like really, carrying out their platform plans would have been really difficult. But one thing they’ve done an amazing job with is truly showing what it means to be an Andover student leader and embodying what Andover is about; if you see [Cui and Gómez-Colón] walking around, they exude this kindness and this confidence… [Muromcew and I] are hoping to be able to emulate that,” said Meng.

Muromcew continued, “Something I’ve also been thinking about is obviously, being co-president, I want to every day show up being positive [and have] a good impact on people. So something I’m trying to be mindful of is how am I going to best prioritize my mental health and be authentic while doing that too.”

Muromcew and Meng also expressed their immense gratitude for the Andover community’s support throughout the election process and for trusting them to take on the role of co-presidents.

“First, [Meng] and I are so, so grateful that the Andover student body elected us. Something we were talking about—we’re two Asian co-presidents at the oldest boarding school in America. That just feels really wild. It just feels really incredible and we’re really humbled; so [we would like to say] a big ‘thank you.’ And secondly, we’re really excited. We’re so excited to get to know, work with, and support people,” said Muromcew.