Story by| Billy Tran, Staff Writer
The current Senate elections are offering new students from the class of 2024 a chance to be involved in the Student Government. If elected, these students are assigned as the 2024 Class Representative in the Student Senate, giving them the ability to create, deliberate on and pass resolutions and statements for the Student Government Executive to carry out.
The Student Senate was created over the summer of 2018. Despite being relatively new, previous Senates have passed many resolutions such as those on enhancing sustainability, exchange student voting rights and establishing a campus data office. Additionally, the Senate also serves to check the power of the President and gives the Student Government directives to work on.
After a week of Telegram campaigning, posters in the elevator walls and many election promises, let’s round up the candidates for a final Q&A to know more about their platform and policies.
Tell us about yourself.
Q: My name is Gyuyong, otherwise known as Q. I’m originally from South Korea, but I also studied in the US and China. A fun fact is, because I had to learn different languages, I had to study 9th grade for three years. I played basketball competitively. I also enjoy singing and playing the guitar, and as you know, I decided to run for the class of 2024 representative.
Joleen: I’m known as the mum of my suite so I figured that if I already have the sprout, I can cultivate and extend that ‘mum-ness’ to the rest of the batch (sorry for the Mengzi flashbacks).
Jireh: Hello! I’m Jireh. YNC was my only uni application so I’m super pumped to be in this school! I realise that some of y’all may know me only as the weird candidate – let me explain: I believe that in embodying eccentricity, no one gets left out; I am weird, so no one has to feel weird. It helps with the approachability, you feel?
Jerri: My name is Jerri. I love art, football and breakfast sets. I go to the gym quite often, hence you can always find me there before lunchtime. I love to ask people questions and listen to their answers. I find listening more meaningful than speaking.
Why are you running to be the 2024 Class Representative?
Q: When I was 17, back in China, I suffered from panic disorders. I’m now fully recovered; however, when I saw a friend of mine texting the [YNC ‘24 Telegram Group], pointing out Yale-NUS’ attitude towards those who are struggling [with mental health], I felt strongly that this is not the community that I wanted to belong to, and I believe everyone else felt the same. I am hoping that if I could become the class of 2024 representative, I could be of help and listening ears to those who are in corners.
Joleen: It came pretty organically after receiving an anonymous nomination for class rep. I find that it’s a great opportunity to connect with my peers and represent their interests.
Jireh: I believe in everyone finding their space in the school. I believe in welfare and the provision of support. I believe that voices should be heard and taken seriously. The nomination came, and I obliged.
Jerri: I love Yale-NUS College, especially the people in it. I aspire to contribute more to this amazing community by being the point of contact between my batchmates and StuGov. I believe that I am approachable and outgoing, hence I hope that everyone would find it easier to convey their opinions to StuGov. I am determined to ensure that everyone’s opinion is heard.
What are some key issues you’d like to raise concerns about?
Q: Connecting aforesaid answers, I would first like to confirm that the major role of the class representative: to represent. Thus, the problems of 234 students in our class matter to me. I am not going to only listen to the voice of the majority, but I am also going to listen to the voices of every corner in this community. I have recently run a survey to better understand our community, and people raised concerns surrounding (but not limited to) issues such as campus unity, student mental health, celebrating diversity, and supporting remote students. I would like to add a small comment raised from my survey, “As long as you listen to the needs of all different members of the community (and not just do favours for your friends or make it a popularity contest), I’m happy for you to represent my interests in student government.” Yes, that will be my job.
Joleen: Our actions and words are highly reflective of our concerns about the college. A few notable ones that I gleaned and would love to support are building more intimate relationships with our peers across RCs/ RCA groups, destigmatising mental health and pushing for grab n go’s to be available after 6pm.
Jireh: Two things. First, wellness. Societal structures can be suffocating at times innit? My policies would focus on the embracing of our intricacies; we are, after all, unique, unique beings. And still, each and every one of you has a place carved out for you in this school, you can bet on that.
Second, home. The compound on which we spend a chunk of our next four years will become home for many, if not all, of us. Fostering, inter-Suite, inter-RC, and even inter-Class ties, especially in this restricting season, would be a main priority. A class united is a class beautiful and vibrant. I want that.
Jerri: I would like to promote greater inclusivity in the campus. Even though Yale-NUS has been a really inclusive environment, I believe that we could do more. I would like to promote the culture of listening, as everyone deserves to be appreciated and respected.
What sets you apart from other candidates?
Q: YNC is a community full of diversity and respect; that’s the social norm. We are Yale-NUS College, not Yale, nor NUS. I want to point out that there is a ‘hyphen’ in between. As hyphens connect different words to create a whole new meaning, I would like to be the bridge in this community to mend big and small gaps. I am sure I could do this job better than any other candidate.
Joleen: My campaign is a very fun and chill one – I try to avoid politics. My main goal is to be approachable and spread some positive vibes in the community.
Jireh: I gambol on grass so you can flap your hands in joy; I do a duck walk in epiphany so you can dance like no one’s looking; I stand in the rain so you can sniffle over a cuppa. I believe in being real so you can be you. But in the end, nothing really. I believe we are all seeking the same goal; let our unity not be born of distinctions. Our cohort is ours to be. And we shall.
Jerri: I always make it a priority to not use my phone when I am interacting with other people. My phone is always on silent. Even though people would find it difficult to contact me, I believe that it is more important to listen to the person I am talking to.
Voting for the Senate will begin at 9 am, 14 September and will end at 11:59pm, 16 September. The process will be done via Canvas.