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Online only: Residential colleges elect new presidents

By Tina Ou     3/10/11 6:00pm

The Thresher sat down briefly with each of the new college presidents and asked about their goals, their colleges and their spirit animals.

Joey Spinella, Brown College

What are your goals for your presidency?



"My goal is to build community at Brown. I define community as people learning about each other, loving each other and living together. Some specific ways I hope to do this are by building a bike-sharing program and providing floor-rep training."

How do you view your residential college?

"Brown is a very strong family that cares deeply about each of its members. We have wonderful traditions and events and a healthy sense of college pride."

What do you think is the biggest issue facing your college?

"Some members of the college feel disconnected from the general culture. Additionally, there seems to be some separation between upperclassmen and underclassmen social circles. While I do not think that Brown is broken, I am excited about the effect that new traditions and events promoting cross-interaction between separate groups can have on the college."

What do you hope will be your legacy?

"I want to leave a legacy of challenging the status quo and gathering student input about how we can grow on each issue. More than making specific decisions, I hope students will be empowered to engage with the world around them and make progressive improvements."

What is your spirit animal?

Chickadee (because they tweet loudly, but others don't feel threatened by them).

Steven Boswell, Jones College

What are your goals for your presidency?

"I will be making it an immediate priority to see to the swift integration of Jones' new masters into our college family. I'll also be working closely with the new chief justice so that he can see to revitalizing the college court system while continuing to promote a culture that minimizes how often we have to use it."

How do you view your college?

"Jones is a wonderful place to call home. We're a bunch of awesome people who always win - it doesn't get any better than that."

What do you think is the biggest issue facing your college?

"Although our impending master transition is a big issue, it's a very exciting one. Jones is beyond thrilled to have the Achards join us."

What do you hope will be your legacy?

"A legacy that inspires enthusiastic service in all Jonesians. There is a clear link between the value of a collective residential experience and the hard work the members of those communities are willing to put in."

What is your spirit animal?

Goat.

Charlie Dai, Wiess College

What are your goals for your presidency?

"My role as college president will be to facilitate and help out the many other leaders of our college, whether it be in organizing events or in addressing college and campus-wide issues. In the end, I am a representative of the various perspectives of my college, and my biggest concern would be to make sure issues are approached with this understanding."

How do you view your college?

"I think in its current state, Wiess has a lot of excellence. My predecessors up to this point have worked very hard to establish the institution, to instill a college [spirit] and to uphold many of our great traditions. What I see as most important for next year is to continue that excellence. I personally define excellence in the pride that we have, in the respect we have for the community and for other Wiessmen, in our uniqueness and in the awesomeness of NOD."

What do you think is the biggest issue facing your college?

"I think it is very important to ease the transition between this year and the next as we welcome the new college masters. During this time, we understand that the Byrds will be very busy, learning about Wiess and how it functions. I am looking forward to being there, working with Dr. Byrd, to preserve many of our college traditions but also perhaps to invent new ones. Transitions are often difficult, but I think this one will go very well, given our philosophy at Wiess on student initiative and respect for the well-being of the college."

What do you hope will be your legacy?

"I'm not sure what my legacy would be, but I think that I would like to come out of the presidency knowing that I had given 100% of my effort, that I took every opportunity that I had to improve Wiess and that people at my college felt as though my decisions and actions were made for them. Everything else in my legacy would come from this goal of mine."

What is your spirit animal?

Chinchilla

Eddie Reyes, Will Rice College

What are your goals for your presidency?

"I want to make Will Rice leadership more inviting to a greater audience, restructure some of the committees at Will Rice and finally expand the role of the at-large representatives in the college. Ultimately, I want everybody to feel like they have a say in what's going on at Will Rice."

How do you view your college?

"I see Will Rice as an eager and socially-inviting community. I know everybody secretly likes us, despite our competitiveness. As a whole we're involved and decidedly spirited. I think that's what makes us so good."

What do you think is the biggest issue facing your college?

"Having just returned from McMurtry to a new dorm and servery, we're seeing a major shift in the way we hang out around the college. I don't believe we've lost our identity, but we're at a point where our traditions are changing. On one hand, with new masters and structures, we're enjoying exciting changes, and on the other, we're having to decide how Will Rice will be for several years to come."

What do you hope will be your legacy?

"I would love for the college to work from the bottom up and have a really strong quad culture where everyone comes to hang out, relax and get to know each other. If I come back 10 years from now to see half of the college involved and having a good time, I would be ecstatic. Howdy."

What is your spirit animal?

The Kraken

Emmanuel Fuentes, Baker College

What are your goals for your presidency?

"During my term as president, I plan on completing our return back to Baker by re-Bakerfying every aspect of the college."

How do you view your college?

"The first college, the best college."

What do you think is the biggest issue facing your college?

"The biggest issue facing our college is the reintegration of past customs and traditions that were well established before the move to Duncan."

What do you hope will be your legacy?

"I hope my legacy will be that you can be a committed student and care deeply about your college as well as be highly active. I feel like there is this impression that you cannot do both."

What is your spirit animal?

Yogi Bear ("I like wearing ties and love me my picnic baskets.").

Bridgette Bennett, Lovett College

What are your goals for your presidency?

"As President, I plan to work incredibly hard to address the concerns of Lovetteers within the College and across campus. Interactions with the university administration, other college presidents and with the senior adults at Lovett are such attractive components of this position. Sharing ideas and improving relationships between all the aforementioned and Lovetteers is my ultimate goal. I am excited and honored when I think of how much more I will grow over this year with this new position of leadership. This is going be such a great experience. I'm pumped."

How do you view your college?

"Similar to many Lovetteers, I view my College as an exceptional community on this campus. We use our commons. We know each other's names. We help each other out. Whether throwing parties that RUPD loves or dominating powderpuff, Lovetters are serious about improving our community. We are so close to exemplifying the 'Culture of Care' that the University administration wants to see more of around campus and that makes me proud. I love that I am a part of a community that truly supports and cares about me."

What do you think is the biggest issue facing your college?

"Honestly, I want where we live to stop interfering with how we live. For example, where and how we hang out and conduct ourselves accordingly is determined by our spaces or lack thereof. We need Lyle's back and more productive areas to gather and have fun."

What do you hope will be your legacy?

"When people think back to the 2011 - 2012 school year I want them to think of the dynamic leader they helped support at Lovett. That I was a rock when my college needed me; I could rally and move my peers effortlessly; I was a force to be reckoned with in terms of getting what Lovett needed during interactions with University administration; and that I was an incredibly approachable leader and proud to represent them across campus."

What is your spirit animal?

A melanistic jaguar. ("They sleep a lot, their bite can pierce turtle shells, and they're Black ;)")

Amy Buxbaum, Martel College

What are your goals for your presidency?

"Martel is such an incredibly special place and I want to continue establishing the college as a caring environment where everyone has the opportunity to be heard. I would like to motivate Martelians to voice their opinions, advocate for change, and execute their visions for our college. Specifically, I am adding a forum component to our weekly Parliament so that Martelians can directly speak to issues at Martel or around campus and I also plan on streamlining several committees, positions, and procedures."

How do you view your college?

"Someone asked me the other day what I would do as President to dispel the notion that Martel is not a college. Truthfully, I'm proud that Martel is 'not a college' because there are so many wonderful things come along with that. As a newer college that has had time to establish itself, I feel that 'not being a college' gives us an opportunity to really care about each other and tailor the college to fit all of our members. We are willing to make changes and end practices that don't work, while operating in an environment that is conducive to the happiness of each individual member. We are able to really care about each other. People are right, Martel isn't just another college and I want to celebrate that fact."

What do you think is the biggest issue facing your college?

"I want to work against complacency and continue to envision, carry out, and institutionalize change at Martel. I consider it one of my biggest goals to ensure that Martelians to experience a renewed sense of enthusiasm and engagement in our college."

What do you hope will be your legacy?

"I hope that my legacy will be ushering in a renewed sense of enthusiasm and engagement in our college, streamlining committees, positions and procedures, including every Martelian in the decision-making process, motivating Martelians to voice their opinions and advocate for change when necessary and most importantly continuing to establish Martel as an incredibly special place."

What is your spirit animal?

A narwhal ("They are the unicorns of the sea.")

Gilberto Hernandez, McMurtry College

What are your goals for your presidency?

"One of the biggest things we've been talking about at McMurtry is involvement. My goal is to foster more involvement to a level where there is no noticeable disconnect between the underclassmen and the upperclassmen. Also, we're a new college, so another goal is to establish a strong identity for ourselves."

How do you view your college?

"I see McMurtry as opportunity. It's something students have the ability to form because we're so young. We don't have an extensive list of traditions, but that gives us the chance to create them. I also see McMurtry as an extremely welcoming place for anyone."

What do you think is the biggest issue facing your college?

"I would say one of the biggest issues is involvement. It's not a problem, per se, but it's definitely an issue. It's something people know exists - people see the disconnect, and I don't want it to be there. The freshmen and sophomores from this year don't know many of the transfer juniors and seniors, so one way we've thought of bridging that gap is by appealing to a wider range of interests, for example, through music, DJing, or something of that sort."

What do you hope will be your legacy?

"I want people to know that I was someone with an active interest in bringing McMurtry closer than it already is, especially in its younger years. McMurtry is going to change, but no matter what, I always want the welcoming aspect to be a part of McMurtry."

What is your spirit animal?

Coyote

Mia Velasquez, Sid Richardson College

What are your goals for your presidency?

"In terms of campus-wide goals, I want Sid to continue to be very involved, just as we were this past year with the RPC and the SAC, but also to improve our communications with the administration. Within Sid, it's really important to me to have as much student involvement as possible, especially from OC students and students who do not have named positions."

How do you view your college?

"Sid has always been the rebel and the college that does what it wants. Pretty much just bad-ass. But something a lot of people don't know is that we have an incredible community and support system established."

What do you think is the biggest issue facing your college?

"Ensuring a strong upperclassman presence next year is going to be really important since we have a small rising senior class and our rising juniors are going off-campus. I like to view this also as an opportunity for underclassmen to step up and be leaders in the college."

What do you hope will be your legacy?

"I hope we raise enough funds to purchase Lovett College."

What is your spirit animal?

Monkey

Coco Owens, Hanszen College

What are your goals for your presidency?

"Hanszen's damn near perfect to me so now it's time to dominate as I see it (though less aggressively, we are the family college, after all). Honestly, and I know this will come off as ridiculously cheesy, but I want people to know how special Hanszen is as a community. To accomplish this, I'm supporting a very active social year. I also plan to drive forward student initiatives and support their desires to develop and improve Hanszen facilities and events."

How do you view your college?

"We are the family college, that's not just a name to us. It defines our strong sense of character. I would wager we're also one of the friendlier colleges: It comes with the territory of the 'family' identity. We're fairly traditional and we have an incredibly strong network of support."

What do you think is the biggest issue facing your college?

"Probably overcoming others' misperceptions of us. I don't think Hanszen has many pressing 'issues' per se. We are each other's best friends, and for the most part, grade lines are less visible here than at other colleges. But we are also very open to new experiences and people. I mean, I was a transfer student and they elected me their next president. That takes an open-minded college."

What do you hope will be your legacy?

"I want to motivate the next generation of Hanszen leaders - that's what legacy is. I've started a President's Journal to jot down pertinent information, advice, and experiences I want to give to my successors. I would also like a statue erected of me next to the Hanszen Guardian."

What is your spirit animal?

A cat. Hands down.

Ruben Sandoval, Duncan College

What are your goals for your presidency?

"To maintain our growth. We have found success through our intense community involvement, and I want to continue that involvement and sustain our success as a new college."

How do you view your college?

"As a a community that can be molded into whatever we want it to be."

What do you think is the biggest issue facing your college?

"Our lack of a 'true' upper-class and thus absence of standards to follow. Being a new college, we do not have a group of people to say, 'This is what Duncan is and what it stands for,' but that also means we have the opportunity to shape the college into something we want."

What do you hope will be your legacy?

"I hope that people say I played a major part in making Duncan into something awesome ad worthy of pride."

What is your spirit animal?

Dolphin. ("It's happy, energetic, and likes to jump.")



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