2021 Candidate Statements and Headshots
Jarrett Prchal - SA President Candidate
I wear a wristband from a women’s basketball game I went to last spring. It says “Go Together” on one side and “Rice Owls” on the other. It reminds me of Rice, but also reminds me of the power of togetherness. I am hoping to transition from college government to campus-wide government to pursue that notion of togetherness.
The past year has been difficult, and we have been faced with a number of challenges. I am proud to have seen how our community has addressed them. The coming year will certainly bring its challenges, both new and old, but my two and a half years at Rice have taught me that I am surrounded by so many people who are more than capable of addressing them.
In my view, SA’s role is to address problems brought up by and affecting students across campus. I do not believe that the SA should be driven by the agenda of any one person, just as we cannot hope to solve big issues facing us as individuals. With so many capable people here on campus, we have the capacity to address a wide variety of issues. My goal as SA president is to grow an infrastructure that better allows students to share and address concerns as a united community, and to foster a greater sense of a Rice community. I hope you’ll join me and, as a Rice community, Go Together into a new year with the SA.
Kendall Vining - SA President Candidate
Although every Rice student enrolls in classes, matches with a residential college, and pursues a degree, not every student has a “Rice Experience.” This experience is uniquely defined by each student--as your Student Association (SA) President, my primary goal will be to help as many students experience Rice the way they personally imagine, desire, or need. To accomplish this, I will focus my term around three keys: Advocacy, Anti-Racism, and Adjustment.
I will amplify student voices and serve as a tool for enacting change.I successfully advocated for academic accommodations last spring and regularly advocate for equity and inclusion--as someone who recognizes the difficulty and importance of student advocacy, I will actively serve as a resource for all students.
This is an issue all Rice students have engaged with this year. I helped organize a fundraiser for Pro-Black groups over the summer and I’m co-creating a future graduation-required Diversity course --as President, I will nurture an antiracist Rice culture. For example: establishing a monthly schedule to gather and meet with all cultural group leaders in a shared space.
This year, I enacted structural changes within student government that stemmed from my openness to exploring new ideas. As your President, I will collaborate with others to examine existing issues within student government, reimagine them, and make changes to better the effectiveness of the SA Leadership team’s service to you.
Visit my website to get to know me and read the concrete plans I have so far!
Madison Bunting - SA Internal Vice President Candidate
Hi! My name is Madison Bunting, and I’m running to be your Student Association Internal Vice President!
My IVP platform consists of three pillars:
Academics: Rice primarily exists as a place for exploring scholarly interests and expanding our view of the world. I am passionate about ensuring students are afforded every opportunity to reach their intellectual potential.
Connection: The SA exists for the Rice student body. You deserve to know who we are, what we do, and benefit from our actions. We are a resource to connect you to other resources that empower you to make the impact you dream!
Iterative improvement: The SA had significant organizational improvements this past year, but it still has areas for growth. I will promote a culture of mentorship and thoroughly expand and clarify documents and expectations for both NSRs and committee chairs.
Why should you vote for me?
A successful IVP is skilled in relationship development and project management - qualities exhibited in my prior experiences! As Co-Chair of the SA Academics Committee, I have developed relationships with committee members and pursued numerous projects. My startup internship this past summer also prepared me to increase structure, organization, and clarith when it is lacking. Additionally, I love building relationships with prospies (even though many of them don’t end up at Rice).
See my website for more information about my experiences, project ideas, and vision for the SA! https://mb4ivp.wixsite.com/mysite Together, we will create an SA that leaves a legacy!
Hunter Brown - SA External Vice President Candidate
Howdy Rice students! My name’s Hunter, and I’m honored to be running as your External Vice President.
No matter how you view the past year of college life, there is no denying that it has been extremely difficult to stay a focused full-time student. Facing both the physical and emotional tolls of an active pandemic, it becomes all the more important to have an administration that backs student interests. Yet, as our faculty shies away from strong academic accommodations and actively considers distorting the pass/fail system -- jeopardizing the transcripts of hundreds of undergraduates -- it is evident that the weight facing us as students will likely continue to build unless something is done.
With two years of experience in the Student Association, I’ll be the first to tell you it presents an valuable tool for alleviating that weight when used properly. However, too often our time is spent accommodating the wishes of the administration, rather than advocating for the will of the individuals that we promised to represent in the first place. It’s that mentality I want to play a role in changing as your EVP. Working with Senators and the University Committee reps, I will foster an environment where the desire to “preserve working relationships'' does not mean backing down on issues that matter most to the students - whether it be academic accommodations, servery access, or inclusivity concerns. It’s this collaborative effort that can strengthen the SA as a vehicle for student voice, enabling us to finally speak up.
Jared Butler - SA External Vice President Candidate
Hi, I’m Jared, 2020-2021 Lovett Senator, and I have had the distinct pleasure of being nominated by my peers to serve as the 2021-2022 SA External Vice President! Through my service as SA Senator, New Student Representative, and a member on such SA committees as the Standing Committee on Student Life, the Interpersonal Violence Policy Committee, and Dean Gorman’s Title IX Working Group, I have gained a deep appreciation for the intricacies of student leadership and coalition building at Rice. Since my freshman year, I have wanted to be one of the “decision-makers” at Rice. It was only after I received my first student leadership position that I realized that we are all the decision-makers. The Student Association, by design, encompasses all Rice undergraduate students; thus, as your Senate, it is our job to elevate your voices to administrators and faculty, as well as the community-at-large. As EVP, I will work with Senators like myself to help them pursue those projects that elevate their voices and those of their constituents. I will work to break down the institutional barriers that exist between administrative offices, student leadership, and the greater Rice community. I will work to redefine the Senator’s role, not as a “deputy-President” or “Senior NSR,” but as a distinct and important conduit between the needs and desires of the colleges and the resources most helpful to them! Thank you for trusting me thus far as a student leader on campus, and I hope you will continue to do so!
Lily Sethre-Brink - SA External Vice President Candidate
As Baker’s Senator and a co-organizer in the Rice Student Labor Coalition, Rice Divestment and Students for HCEDD, I envision the SA as an inclusive, and equitable environment that both facilitates conversations critical to positive change and serves as a tool for advocacy efforts across Rice.
To achieve this, I will focus on:
● Make it the norm to secure meetings for students as opposed to "bringing in their concerns"
● Actively reach out to student organizers to be a part of important
conversations/actions, and ensure that all SA meetings/events are on Canvas to cement two-way communication
● Ensure that the Senate agenda reflects urgent issues at Rice and centers conversations on how the SA can initiate/support work
● Leave meetings with a commitment to collective action items, set expectations for honesty within SA work, and affirm stances to support students affected by social harms
● Create consistent and externally focused strategy meetings focused on how to best utilize the SA for the benefit of all students
● Work with SA cohorts to redesign SA resources so they reflect campus realties and work with Senators to deliver these as workshops to their colleges
Tangibly, I will:
A. Work with administrators to develop financial visibility resources so students can create proposals to fund needed changes.
B. Sustain conversation with local communities that Rice affects to discuss how the SA can be leveraged to support them.
C. Continue work to increase the capacity of the Wellbeing and Counseling Centers and advance student labor compensation efforts.
Savannah Parrot - SA Secretary Candidate
Hello! My name is Savannah Parrot, and I am a sophomore from Sid.
This past year I served as the Student Association Secretary and spent the year learning how real change is made within the Student Association. I started my term in a global pandemic, and I learned how to navigate adversity and create an entirely new way to share and distribute information among Rice students. I want to expand what I’ve learned and built to create stronger, more transparent communication within Rice and empower students to learn about the SA and how they can make a lasting change on campus.
I have a few plans to make this vision a reality.
- Increase the communication with the residential colleges by creating a cohort among the college secretaries and the Student Association Secretary, so campus-wide matters don’t fall solely on the respective Senators.
- Working with the IVP to open the communications committee up for NSR access to provide more options to the incoming students and provide an opportunity for mentorship.
- Create consistent communication with the Thresher and other Rice organizations to properly advertise and share what is happening within the Student Association at all times.
If I am re-elected as Secretary, I will ensure that every voice that wants to be heard is amplified and represented by the SA. I will work with constituents to help the campus become the best version it can be. This starts with transparent communication and advertising what is happening and how it will impact students.
Elliot Riesman-Tremonte - SA Treasurer Candidate
I am running for SA Treasurer to ensure that campus organizations and initiatives can get the funding they need to thrive on Rice’s campus. If elected Treasurer, I plan on leading the blanket tax committee in giving all budget submissions and initiative fund applications proper consideration, even if they are different from years past. From serving on the BTC myself, I know that there needs to be a dedicated SA Treasurer for the collective blanket tax funds to benefit the entire Rice community.
With both a strong work ethic and a familiarity with Treasurer procedure, I can effectively work with the SA exec team, SAPP fund and BTC. Many students are not familiar with the initiative fund, so I intend on advertising and getting the word out there as much as possible through social media.
As COVID-19 has changed this year’s SA budget in unexpected ways, I plan on adjusting the SA budget in 2021-22 to the reopening of Rice’s campus and increased in-person activity. After a year of isolation from our classmates, I’m looking forward to giving student organizations the chance to bring us back together.
Rodolfo Gutierrez-Garcia - HC Sophomore Class Representative
The Honor Code is an integral part of the identity of Rice. It reflects the faith and trust the university and our professors have in us to work with honesty and merit. The Honor Council functions to not only protect the Honor System but also promote integrity in our Rice community. Last semester, I had the pleasure of serving as a New Student Representative. Every time I am asked to serve at a meeting or a hearing, I always come looking to arrive at the truth, no matter what it may be. Although it gives me no pleasure to deem someone in violation of the Honor Code, it is necessary to preserve the Honor System that we all enjoy.
I have learned a great deal since I have started on the Honor Council, and if elected, I look forward to continuing to protect the Honor System we all enjoy. I will continue to discern the truth and use my best judgment to preserve the integrity of our community. The Honor Council stands as an institution required for the continual freedoms and trust at the heart of the Rice ethos, and I believe that I can serve our community by being your Sophmore Class Honor Council Representative.
Max Slotnik - HC Sophomore Class Representative
Rice’s Honor Council is tasked with understanding and enforcing Rice’s Honor System, which embodies the respect and integrity students have for each other and for themselves. In fact, the very foundation of the trust and independence the University delegates to its students is through the Honor System. As someone who places considerable merit on personal character, it has been a privilege and honor to serve on the Council as a New Student Representative this year, and this year of experience has provided me with the empathy, understanding, and objectivity required to understand students’ perspectives and uphold the Honor Code in a fair and just manner. I hope to continue this important role to help make a difference at Rice in a personally meaningful way, and to foster the ongoing relationship between the students and the University, which is built on integrity
Kamal Tijani - HC Sophomore Class Representative
Hello everyone, my name is Kamal Tijani and I am running for Honor Council Sophomore Representative. I am a proud Bakerite and I have had the pleasure to serve on the Honor Council as a New Student Representative during this unusual time, and I was able to get my feet wet and understand a lot of the systems that continue our honorable tradition. I have had some rough experiences involving others' abuse of academic integrity which motivated me to join the Honor Council in the first place. I aim to impact any community I find myself in, and I would love to continue supporting the pillar of Rice’s academic culture.
Kaitlyn Crowley - HC Junior Class Representative
Hi! I’m Kaitlyn Crowley, a current sophomore at Will Rice studying Kinesiology and Sociology.
I have been involved with the Honor Council since my freshman year as an NSR and this year as the Secretary and Sophomore Class Rep. Through my experience serving on cases, I have learned how to make fair informed decisions about cases in a way that is understandable to everyone involved. Through being on the officer team and working with the other Honor Council officers and the SJP staff, I have had the opportunity to shape students’ and faculty’s understanding of the Honor Code and the Honor Council, especially in this space of virtual learning. If you elect me as one of your Honor Council Junior Class Representatives, I will continue working to make the Honor Council and Honor Code more understandable and fairer for students.
Adam Zawierucha - HC Junior Representative
I have experience. With your vote, I will be able to continue my third term as an Honor Council representative. I have adjudicated many cases and have the experience to make the right call.
I am fair. In rare cases, the Consensus Penalty Structure may not fit the violation. I argue and vote for the appropriate penalty.
I am rational. I make and will continue making decisions without bias or prejudice for the Honor Council.
Vote Adam Zawie for Honor Council Rep.
You can learn more about me at: honor.zawie.io
Matey Yanakiev - HC Senior Rep
In my three years as Council Representative, I have had the privilege of serving on countless cases—some straightforward, others very challenging; some students misaccused, others having breached trust. During that time, I discussed and debated several systemic changes to the Honor System, including voting for the Alternative Resolution amendment, allowing students who genuinely and freely agree with accusations brought forth to avoid the burdensome bureaucracy and resolve their cases faster.
If you reelect me, I promise to continue adjudicating cases as impartially as I can, taking into account the stress an Honor Code accusation puts on students and consciously seeking to ensure the Council is an even playing field for students who wish to build their case and defeat the accusations brought against them. For three years, I have followed these principles in all my many cases, and, if reelected, I intend to do better still during my final year on the Council and at Rice.
Abrar Mamun - HC Junior Rep
My two years of service on the Honor Council have only served to reinforce my love for Rice’s robust academic climate. If there is any one thing that I have learned, it’s the idea that members of the Honor Council simply seek to create an environment of trustworthiness and accountability for the sake of bettering the education that we receive during our time here. Moving forward, I hope to remove the negative stigma associated with the council by being more direct with students who may have questions about our proceedings. As a Junior Class Representative, I will take it upon myself to make sure that information about our organization serves not only the council members, but also the Rice community as a whole.
Diego Casanova - HC Junior Class Rep
Campaign Statement: Hello! My name is Diego Casanova, and I am hoping to become one of your Honor Council Junior Class Reps. Throughout the ongoing two years I’ve been on the council, I’ve gained a great respect for Rice’s Honor Code as well as a deep understanding of its impact on the lives of all students here at Rice, especially during the difficult times caused by the pandemic. My experience at Rice has been shaped by each decision I’ve made as a part of the council, and it has made me strive to serve with an open mind and a consistent sense of justice in every case I sit before. I want to continue doing my best to respect you, the student, and Rice, the institution, as well as to continue conversing with y’all to make information about the Honor Council and its processes more transparent and well-known throughout our community. I want to thank you for allowing me to fulfill this role so far and thank you for reading.
Savannah Kuchar - Thresher Editor in Chief
I am running to be the next editor in chief of The Thresher after having worked with this paper since my freshman year, as a writer then an editor. I know firsthand about the high quality of work that defines what we do at The Thresher and the high standards that the staff holds themselves to. So as editor in chief, I would take the role and responsibilities seriously, working with everyone else at The Thresher to continue the legacy of excellent journalism we are known for. The chance to take on this leadership role is an honor and a position that I have so much respect for, just as I have so much respect for the way that this paper serves the Rice community, by keeping students and everyone informed and aware.
M. Tomás Russo and Sukriti Agarwal - RSVP Co-Chairs (running as one)
Tomás joined RSVP last year and during that time has led the external committee to complete projects such as the inter-college RSVP food and clothing drive. Sukriti joined RSVP during her freshman year and has been involved with the external committee since then, working on projects such as Outreach Day and the RSVP volunteer groups. As Co-Chairs, Tomás and Sukriti hope to create a more cohesive service community at Rice, which will help spread awareness of the opportunities available to students for getting involved in the Houston community. Additionally, they will work to better connect students with both on-campus volunteer groups and Houston organizations. Throughout the year, they will focus on improving member retention, and maximizing the effective usage of the club’s funding. Overall, they are very excited about the future of RSVP and volunteering at Rice.
Divya Jain - Rice Program Council President
Hi! I’m Divya Jain, and I’d love to be your RPC President. From my past 3 years in RPC, as a Will Rice College Representative, Director of College Relations (DCR), and Internal Vice President (IVP), I’ve grown to love this organization immensely. I hold RPC dear to my heart, but I know the organization is not without its flaws. As president, I’ll work to improve RPC by increasing event scale and promoting student engagement.
I’ve encouraged RPC to push limits, organizing larger-scale events such as this year’s Esperanza with carnival games in the Academic Quad. I’m advocating for RPC to host a concert similar to those of other universities. This event won’t happen tomorrow, but laying the foundation is essential for its future. As president, I’ll continue to motivate members to think outside of the box to create exciting events.
I strive to increase engagement in RPC events. As DCR, I initiated RPC’s involvement in the All Students Survey to understand which students were unaware of events and used this information to incorporate these student groups. As IVP, I implemented an internal classification system to diversify events by preventing overlap in activities, themes, and food. I hope to implement more creative ideas for engagement such as college reps hosting events. RPC serves the whole student body, so I’ll ensure all students know of our events and your interests are represented in RPC’s activities. I hope to use my experience in RPC to implement change as president.
(socially distanced) hugs!
Juliana Phan - Campanile Editor
My name is Juliana Phan, and I’m running to be editor-in-chief of The Campanile. As the undergraduate yearbook, The Campanile captures the Rice experience throughout the year, representing student voices while also creating a historical record of how the community has responded to changes in the country or around the world. In collaboration with next year’s Campanile staff, my goals are to include a diverse array of perspectives and make the yearbook as representative of the Rice community as possible. I’m looking forward to contributing to The Campanile next year as well, and I’d be honored to serve the Rice community as the yearbook’s editor-in-chief.
Jake Joseph - University Court Chair
Did not submit a blurb or headshot in time for publication.
Chloe Liebenthal - KTRU Station Manager
As KTRU's station manager, I intend to expand the role of KTRU on-campus and in the wider Houston music community, encourage an inclusive, diverse environment, and encourage KTRU members' love of discovering new music. KTRU is an essential part of Rice’s artistic culture and that brings together students, faculty, community members, and music fans of all kinds. As the station manager, I want to encourage the bonds between KTRU members and between KTRU and Rice and Houston communities. From the local musicians we spotlight, to our fantastic lineup of themes specialty shows to our artistic endeavors, like merch and zines, I want to make sure that every part of KTRU’s eclectic and offbeat culture will be able to flourish.
While KTRU faces unique challenges in the upcoming year such as the evolving pandemic situation, I feel that we can take the opportunity to strengthen and grow our KTRU community. We’ve already begun taking steps to safely reopen KTRU, and although it is impossible to predict exactly what the COVID-19 situation will be like next year, I will work hard to ensure that the things people love about KTRU- from weekly shifts to campuswide events- will be safe and fun!
I’ve been a member of the KTRU board since my first semester of freshman year, and after serving as archivist and operations manager, I feel prepared for the role of station manager. I look forward to leading out community to build KTRU’s future together!
Jonathan Lloyd and Matthew Castrillon - Rally Club President (running as one)
For us, we believe the purpose of Rally Club is to build a positive and inclusive culture surrounding our athletic teams, events, and athletes. We are a community of Owls Athletics supporters who cheer on our classmates on and off the playing fields. We will aim to promote a positive culture for all sports so that as many people as possible across the Rice community will enjoy attending games/watch parties and support across social media platforms, in a comfortable manner for all. Over the past year and a half we have been involved in Rally Club as fans and liaisons to our college and most importantly we’ve been learning from the past leadership and hope to continue their great work by continuing to grow student support for athletics. Additionally, we want to make Rally Club representative of, not only a few colleges, but of the campus-wide population by encouraging those from all colleges to attend games and get involved even if tangentially with Rally. We are extremely excited for the upcoming year and the new opportunities that will become available to the campus as we finally start clearing away from the COVID-19 pandemic. Rally Club will continue to work closely with Rice Athletics and we are excited and believe that those who come out and support with us will feel the same way. Rice Fight Never Dies!
More from The Rice Thresher
Kendall Vining will serve as the next Student Association president after winning the election against Jarrett Prchal. Vining received 56.8 percent of the vote (545 ballots) while Prchal received 41.4 percent (345 ballots). A total of 959 ballots were cast for the SA presidential election for a voter turnout of 24 percent, the lowest turnout in the past five years.
Rice plans to launch a two-year professional master’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology and a 31-credit professional master’s degree in data science. Both programs will begin their classes in Fall 2021.
Three of Rice’s student-run businesses — Rice Coffeehouse, The Hoot and Rice Bikes — are all expected to reopen in the coming week for the spring semester. There have been no updates released regarding the reopening of Willy’s Pub and East-West Tea.