Two Pairs Advance in Student Body Co-President Election

Pictured above are the two Co-Presidents pairs, Ryan Lam ’24 and Nor Dehoog ’24, Ryan Chen ’24 and Sakina Cotton ’24.

The two final pairs in the Student Body Co-President election are Ryan Chen ’24 and Sakina Cotton ’24, and Nor DeHoog ’24 and Ryan Lam ’24. The results of the semi-final voting round were announced to the Andover community in an email sent on February 20 by Kate Dolan, Associate Dean of Students and Residential Life. A debate will be held between the two final pairs on March 24, followed by the final round of voting. 

Chen, who is running alongside Cotton, discussed their platforms, including topics like room visitation reform, redesigning orientation, and an “Earth Day-on.” Furthermore, Chen shared his plans for integrating day students into the dorm community.

“I have a lot of day student friends and especially like the lower classmen and they felt that as they were transitioning to Andover, it was very hard for them to meet borders, who just felt that there was like a home for them on campus. By assigning [day students] to dorms we can be able to pair day student mentor groups and Prefect groups together, especially in the beginning, and give them a designated time to bond with things like pizza parties, or scavenger hunts and just improve the relations in general,” said Chen in an interview with The Phillipian

DeHoog and Lam, the other Co-President election finalists, expressed their platform’s goals of community health, bonding, and involvement. According to DeHoog, one special facet of her campaign is the introduction of community-focused spaces such as “oasis spaces” and the George Washington Hall “cafe-corner.”

“One thing that I would really love to see is a partnership with local businesses. Andover talks a lot about trying to support the community around them, but I feel like it’s a little bit harder for me to see those direct links. So, for example, Perfectos, I love Prefectos, I probably have them once or twice a week I won’t lie, but I would really love to see if they could perhaps use this space as a flagship store for them and have an outside business, maybe run it so it’s taken care of on the logistical side.” said DeHoog. 

Meanwhile, Cotton expanded on her hopes to give students the ability to access planned days off for mental health and personal reasons. Cotton expressed her goal to have these new personal days supplement already existing student support methods such as Dean’s Excuses.

“A big part of personal days is that it used to be implemented before when we worked it into the schedule. I think there will be guidelines like you can’t move a major, but once a term you can speak with your teachers and say, like, ‘Hey, I’m taking the day off of these classes for personal day.’ And if it’s just you…moving a few assignments, and you plan all out [then] you can take the day off. It’s really just to move around the stigma of taking the days off. Because while there are things like mental health day if you want it for a family event or cultural practice, or if something horrible has happened to you, other than that, there are not a lot of ways to access breaks just for being drained or being burnt-out.” said Cotton

Similarly, Lam, who is running alongside DeHoog, shared his plan for students to be able to access “Community days.” Lam expressed his hope that students would be able to use such days for personal, spiritual, or mental health reasons.

“I think the hardest thing we’re trying to accomplish is something called ‘Community days’ on our platform. And that’s basically an opportunity for students to connect with their support systems, whether it be a teacher, a trusted faculty member, or their house counselor, to just take the day off for their mental health. And that’s different from previous personal days because this time we’re introducing a kind of reason with it. Students should be able to take [a day] off for cultural reasons, like Lunar New Year, students should be able to spend time with their family, or if they have personal grief, tragic news, or just family. And it’s different from cuts because we want this to be an opportunity for students to really get support from teachers and not just cutting without any communication.” said Lam.

Editors Note: Ryan Lam ’24 is a Business Staff Member for The Phillipian.