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Monday, September 26, 2022 — Houston, TX

2022 Student Association Election Candidates

elections-2022-ndidi-nwosu
Illustration by Ndidi Nwosu

By Hajera Naveed , Bonnie Zhao , Prayag Gordy and Viola Hsia     2/14/22 10:49pm

The Thresher reached out to candidates from each race in the 2022 student association elections, including those for SA executive team, blanket tax organizations and honor council. Listed are headshots and statements from each. 


Photo courtesy Madison Bunting



Madison Bunting (SA President Candidate)

Hi! My name is Madison Bunting, and I’m running to be your SA President. My platform is about PEOPLE. I am excited to work with you as President because I care deeply about the student body at Rice: issues that matter to you, matter to me. Rather than focusing on specific areas of advocacy or positions that may reflect a portion of the student body, my vision is to increase awareness of and accessibility to the Student Association as a vehicle for empowering all undergraduates to shape their Rice experience. 

Listening to students, I’ve noticed some recurring priorities - First and foremost, we are here for a degree that will lead to a meaningful career and sustain us financially (whether immediately post-graduation or with additional schooling). We deserve resources to prepare us for navigating the uncertain post-COVID future: both high-quality academics and accessible career resources that leave us feeling confident entering the next stage of our lives. In addition, we deserve to thrive during our time on campus; the student body is expanding, which will create greater strain on our already under-resourced support systems. I will advocate for the university to spend its new income on things that matter most to students. Let’s work together to create the Rice we want to see and leave campus better than when we arrived.

Challenge the Present. Shape your Future. Leave your Legacy. See my website for more information about my experiences, project ideas, and vision for the SA: https://mb4sap.wixsite.com/mysite


Photo courtesy Gabrielle Franklin

Gabrielle Franklin (SA President Candidate)

As your Student Association (SA) President my chief objective will to be assist as many students to experience Rice as the way they see the campus at its best. To accomplish this, I will focus my term on these three pillars: Accountability, Transparency, and Inclusivity. 

Accountability

While facing both the physical and emotional tolls of an active pandemic, it is all the more important to have an administration that backs student interests. Over the course of the last SA term, we as a student body have been caught off guard and our voices neglected by the decisions of higher powers in the installation of the EarthCam and the changes to the academic curriculum. To the best of my power, I have done my best to amplify student voices, through both my work on compiling SA Advocacy Resources and arranging a town hall on the Academic Accommodation Changes and will continue to promote student power.

Transparency

Through my service as a Senator, New Student Representative, Student Life Committee Member and coalition member, I have gained a deep appreciation for the ways in which campus advocacy enacts change at Rice. As President, I will make means which students can advocate on campus level more apparent.

Inclusivity

Campus highlights its diversity, but the resources toward ensuring the happiness of the diverse body of students has fallen short. As President, I will push for an increase in resources dedicated to cultural organizations, continue my work as Senator on increasing food security for students with the Food Access and Insecurity Coalition, and push for heightened mental health resources.

Visit my website for more details on my platform and concrete plans! https://ghf206.wixsite.com/website/ 


Photo courtesy Crystal C. Unegbu

Crystal C. Unegbu (SA Internal Vice President Candidate)

Hello! My name is Crystal Unegbu, from Hanszen College, and I am running to be Internal Vice President of Rice’s Student Association. Currently, I am the New Student Representative for Hanszen College and I am on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee in Student Association. Growing up in a diverse community, I understood the importance of valuing perspectives that different people can teach you. I have always appreciated the amount of knowledge and profound empathy I had whenever I engaged in one on one discussions with new peers. Today, I still value the connections I have made, and I strive to help those underrepresented ideas come to life. As IVP, I acknowledge that my main responsibilities come from working with our committee heads and our new student representatives. During my time as an NSR and committee member, I have learned so much about how student government works at Rice University and fails to work too. I want to create an environment where students' ideas are efficiently being presented and executed through committees, led by committee heads that are genuinely passionate. Likewise, I aim to foster a community where NSRs feel comfortable and well informed of their chances to excel as future leaders. With me as IVP, I can guarantee that those who feel that their problems with Rice are insignificant will be heard. It is time to start taking the idea of “diversity and inclusion” to heart at this school and actually enact changes to justify that statement. The first step is voting for me: Crystal Unegbu. #Let’sShineBrightWithThisCrystalAsIVP!


Photo courtesy Trisha Gupta

Trisha Gupta (SA Internal Vice President Candidate)

Hello! My name is Trisha Gupta, and I'm currently a junior at Sid serving as SA Chief of Staff. I've been involved with the SA since my freshman year as NSR and Senator, and through my experiences and ideas I hope to build upon the SA in three key components: accessibility, collaboration, and structure!

Firstly, I believe that the SA can improve even further in transparency and accessibility. This involves greater communication with Faculty Senate, creating more avenues of collaboration between the SA and other organizations of student leaders, such as Eco-Reps and Diversity Facilitators, and publicizing ways in which students not directly involved with the SA can utilize the SA as a tool to create change and make statements that they would like to see at Rice. 

Secondly, the New Student Representative program can reach its fullest potential by engaging new students to be involved in the SA even further! This means finally giving the NSR cohort the ability to vote on legislation in the SA and creating standards of increased NSR involvement at their home college's government. Furthermore, NSRs often experience burnout associated with student government in their roles, and I hope to create structures for them that provides support and awareness on how to pursue projects while avoiding burnout.

Finally, I hope to build upon our current committee structure in order to provide them with more support to successfully complete projects! This involves connecting each committee with relevant faculty members to serve as an annual mentor and support their initiatives, as well as encouraging more internal SA collaboration with committees through an accessible and publicized internal project tracker. 


Photo courtesy Shivani Gollapudi

Shivani Gollapudi (SA External Vice President Candidate)

Hi everyone! I’m Shivani Gollapudi, a Duncan sophomore, and I am running to be your Student Association External Vice President. I’ve been involved with the Student Association for 2 years: last year as a New Student Representative and this year as Duncan Senator. During that time I’ve been a part of the Student Health Services Committee, worked on legislation regarding the Founders Memorial, and advocated for increased food accessibility, mental health and counseling services, and student safety. 

I envision the Student Association to be a tool for students to easily access critical conversations and advocacy resources to create a more inclusive and equitable experience at Rice. To achieve this, as External Vice President, I will prioritize advocacy and accessibility. 

Advocacy

I will work shaping the Student Association as a tool that students can use to engage in purposeful initiatives to improve student life at Rice. I will continue my own involvement in initiatives towards combating food insecurity and improving accessibility and expanding mental health services and sustainability efforts while also providing a space for Senators and other students to engage in critical conversation and efforts. As external Vice President, I will amplify student voices and prioritize effective work in pressing issues at Rice.

Accessibility

Avenues to advocate for student needs should be accessible to anyone at Rice. I will create resources for methods to effectively engage in advocacy. Moreover, I will work actively to include and represent student organizations and voices when working on any issue and prioritize transparency.


Photo courtesy Margo Gee

Margo Gee (SA Secretary Candidate)

Hey! I’m Margo Gee, and I’m excited to run for Student Association Secretary for the 2022-2023 school year. I’m a sophomore from Brown, majoring in Linguistics and Anthropology, and I am running for secretary because it feels like a position that would allow me to grow awareness of Rice events and activities. During COVID-19, it has been very difficult to know when an event is happening, where, and why. My goal as secretary is making sure that Senate remains accessible. Be that in the form of minutes notes, notifications, or email, I want to make sure those who want to know what’s being talked about at the big table have access to it, and can engage. Another difficulty compounded by COVID-19 is knowing where research is being conducted, by whom, and who can apply to it. I want to make that information easier to find, so that anyone who wants to get involved with anything, can. So, vote Gee for Secretary, and campus will be your oyster!


Photo courtesy Sarah Bartos

Sarah Bartos (SA Secretary Candidate)

Hello lovely people! My name is Sarah Bartos, and I am running for SA secretary for the 2022-2023 student association. During my freshman year, I began my involvement with the Student Association as Lovett’s SA New Student Representative (2020-21 SA). There, I learned the ins and outs of this student organization and realized the SA was where I could see myself giving back to the Rice community through leadership and legislative initiatives. As Lovett’s Senator (2021-22 SA), I’ve loved representing Lovett and keeping my residential college updated on various initiatives.

 As secretary, I want to help make the SA for every Rice student, not just those involved in student government and affairs. I view the SA as a way for people from every major, residential college, future aspiration, etc., to come together to make our university community better. I want to utilize various social media platforms to keep the student body involved and engaged! The SA isn’t just for those with positions; it’s for every Rice student.

I hope to have your vote! #Sbartos4Sec


Photo courtesy Solomon Ni

Solomon Ni (SA Treasurer Candidate)

The Student Association (SA)  plays an integral role in promoting equity on campus. Within the SA, no other position is more essential to that mission than Treasurer. As your Treasurer, my prime directive will be to ensure that students are provided with the resources above and beyond what is essential, as students are the most important stakeholders on campus. To reach this outcome, my term will focus on three pillars: Rethinking Blanket Tax, Equity Programs, and Issue Advocacy.

Rethinking Blanket Tax

With Rice University’s plans to increase undergraduate enrollment size by 20%, the Blanket Tax will increase alongside it as more students contribute to it. My vision for this infusion of money is a radical rethink of what a Blanket Tax Organization is and what it can do. This radical rethink means using this funding to create sustainable programs that benefit students using campus organizations.

Equity Programs

As Rice continues to accept students from more economically diverse and non-traditional backgrounds, it is vital that Rice and the Student Association ensure that all students have the necessary resources to thrive and flourish. Read about the programs I have in mind here.

Issue Advocacy

My record of advocacy is one I expect to continue as Treasurer. I have written resolutions pertaining to the Recommendations on General Education that sought to create a new set of requirements, to the removal of the EarthCam, and the designation of Election Day as a Non-Instructional Day

Visit my website to learn more about me.


Photo courtesy Lynn-Chi Nguyen

Lynn-Chi Nguyen (HC Sophomore Rep Candidate)

Hi everyone! My name is Lynn-Chi Nguyen and I am a freshman at Baker running for Honor Council Sophomore Representative.

The Honor Code at Rice is foundational to the strong bonds between professors and students, and our relationships with each other as students. Rice’s academic culture provides us with the freedom to discover our passions while also bearing the responsibility to act with integrity. With this in mind, Rice’s Honor Code has been integral to our culture of care: carrying the moral duty to act with honesty and building mutual trust with members of our Rice community– all while strengthening our moral compasses.

As a New Student Representative on the Honor Council this year, I was inspired by the dedication of our Council members, learned how the Council manages and proceeds with cases, and sharpened my understanding of the Honor Code. Additionally, I learned that the Honor Code relies on the arrival of just conclusions, no matter if deliberations may take one hour or many. If elected, I will ensure that students’ voices and perspectives are heard, assuring that fairness is upheld to the highest standard in all case decisions. I strive to support the academic integrity of our university: using compassion, open ears, and a fair mind to contribute to Rice’s lauded culture of care.


Photo courtesy Pedro Ribeiro

Pedro Ribeiro (HC Sophomore Rep Candidate)

Hey everyone my name is Pedro and I am running to be your Honor Council representative. I served this past year as your new student representative and have been a part of many hearings and investigative meetings, learning a lot about making fair and just decisions along the way. I think the Honor Council is an educational institution more than anything else, and as a Sophomore Representative, I want to reach out more to the Rice community to help teach students how to not commit accidental violations, and help professors make Honor Code expectations as clear as possible.


Photo courtesy Jae Kim

Jae Kim (HC Sophomore Rep Candidate)

My name is Jae Kim, and I am a freshman at Brown studying environmental science. I am a current New Student Representative in the Honor Council and am running for sophomore class representative this upcoming year.

Fish schools are a sight to behold. A glittering silver arc coiling through the water, they part and combine flawlessly in a coordinated dance. The secret to their legion lies in cohesion: each fish in the school must coordinate with its neighbors. I believe a school of Owls works in similar ways. If a single fish turns the wrong way, it disrupts the entire school. Similarly, a student that unfairly gets an advantage is disruptive to our entire academic environment.

We have another lesson to learn from schooling fish––they watch and guide each other towards the right path. The Rice Honor Council is a way for the community to have a voice in curating the environment in which we learn. I am running to represent the sophomore class in the Honor Council because I value the independence Rice allows its student body in handling academic integrity violations. I want to make sure that every student is given a fair hearing and a voice.

I am currently an active member of the Council, and have experience participating in investigative meetings and hearings. If elected as sophomore class representative, I will continue to work hard to ensure that the university’s core values of responsibility, integrity, community, and excellence are maintained through my work in the council.

James Cheng (HC Sophomore Rep Candidate)

Did not respond in time for publication.


Photo courtesy Sriya Kakarla

Sriya Kakarla (HC Junior Rep Candidate)

I believe that trust in the honor council to uphold the honor code has been a critical part of Rice's academics, especially this year, where more students have been given more freedom with assignments. Working with the honor council this year as a new student representative, I have come to better understand the way that cases are handled in different situations and how this process best serves the Rice community. I will continue to work to adjudicate claims objectively and fairly with the evidence presented, and work with the honor council to represent the Rice community's opinions and interests. 


Photo courtesy Max Slotnik

Max Slotnik (HC Junior Rep Candidate)

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. It has been a privilege and honor to serve on the Council as a New Student Representative and Sophomore Class Representative, and these past couple of years have provided me with the empathy, patience, 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 in helping make a difference at Rice in a personally meaningful way, and to foster the ongoing relationship between the students and the University—a relationship inherently built on integrity.


Photo courtesy Kamal Tijani

Kamal Tijani (HC Junior Rep Candidate)

Hello everyone, my name is Kamal Tijani and I am running for Honor Council Junior Representative. I am a proud Bakerite and I have had the pleasure to serve on the Honor Council as a Sophomore Representative this academic year. I was able to see the honor council and overall academic landscape shift between online and in-person settings and use that information to shape the honor council for the better. 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.

Rodolfo Gutierrez (HC Junior Rep Candidate)

Did not respond in time for publication.


Photo courtesy Adam Zawierucha

Adam Zawierucha (HC Senior Rep Candidate)

I have experience. With your vote, I will be able to continue my fourth 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


Photo courtesy Kaitlyn Crowley

Kaitlyn Crowley (HC Senior Rep Candidate)

Hi! I’m Kaitlyn Crowley, a current Junior at Will Rice studying Kinesiology and Sociology. I have been involved with the Honor Council over the past three years as an NSR, Sophomore Class Rep, Junior Class Rep, Secretary, and Chair. 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 Senior Class Representatives, I will continue working to make the Honor Council and Honor Code more understandable and fairer for students.


Photo courtesy Abrar Mamun

Abrar Mamun (HC Senior Rep Candidate)

Over the course of the past three years, the Rice Honor Council has shown me that there is a great deal of responsibility that comes with maintaining Rice’s healthy academic environment. Although our proceedings play a vital role in maintaining academic integrity on campus, many people tend to view the Honor Council in a disfavorable manner for a number of reasons, one of them being that students believe there is an uneven power dynamic - one where people believe students are bound to be in trouble if they are called upon by our organization. As a senior class representative, I would like to do more to help our peers discern how the organization’s proceedings work so that they can better understand that coming before the Honor Council does not necessarily mean they are guilty. In doing so, I hope that we can do a better job of alleviating the anxieties of the student body.


Courtesy Diego Casanova

Diego Casanova (HC Senior Rep Candidate)

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. This year, I’ve had the pleasure of serving as your Sophomore 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 Junior Class Honor Council Representative.


Photo courtesy Ben Baker-Katz and Morgan Gage

Ben Baker-Katz and Morgan Gage (Thresher Editor-in-Chief Candidates, running as one)

The Thresher’s primary responsibility is serving as a news outlet for every member of the Rice community. We represent student interests in campus events, and are focused on staying connected to and reporting on the most relevant issues facing our campus. As editors-in-chief, we plan to continue the Thresher’s commitment to high standards of journalism to keep the entire Rice community informed and to nurture a relationship of trust with the Rice community at-large. Internally, we want to continue to improve the Thresher’s goals of sourcing diversity, making sure everyone involved with the Thresher at every level of commitment is aware of our goals for the paper. We also recognize that we, as a paper, are heading into a transition period next year with the loss of our office in the current student center. With this in mind, we will help to rebuild the Thresher community as we move into a temporary space and navigate the ever-changing challenges of COVID-19.


Photo courtesy Serena Kim and Nikita Singh

Serena Kim and Nikita Singh (RSVP Co-Chairs Candidates, running as one)

Founded in 1985, Rice Student Volunteer Program has been proudly serving the Houston community for the past 37 years. The club has had a long legacy of promoting community service within both the Houston area and Rice University itself, leaving a lasting impression everywhere its presence is felt. As co-chairs, we hope to preserve this legacy and expand the outreach of RSVP within and outside the hedges of Rice University, promoting sustainable relationships with volunteer organizations and community members. Our goal is to encourage students to partake in volunteership by both preserving the events and programs that our club is known for, while also planning novel ones to allow us to leave an even greater impact than before. We are excited for what the future holds for our organization, and we hope that as co-chairs, we will be able to leave a lasting, positive impression on RSVP that will be maintained for future decades.


Photo courtesy Ryann Tudor

Ryann Tudor (Rice Program Council President Candidate)

Hello! My name is Ryann Tudor, and I would love to be the next president of Rice Program Council. Through my past two years in this organization planning events as a committee member and serving on the executive board as Director of College Relations, I have grown to understand and appreciate RPC and what it stands for. 

While I do love RPC, the organization does come with its flaws. During my term as president, I plan to create a more casual culture between the internal RPC community and the greater student body; in the bigger picture, we are just students putting in work in hopes of bettering the Rice and Houston experience for the whole of the student body. That being said, there should be increased communication and transparency between RPC and the greater student population when it comes to event diversity and themes, as our blanket tax funding implies that these events are for all Rice students. As president I would also like to emphasize the importance of collaborating with other organizations on campus to diversify event styles and reach new demographics of students. Not to forget, I have already begun the process for planning an on-campus concert about a year from now. 

Internally, it is extremely important to me to reduce stress and increase familiarity within the actual members of RPC that put in all of the hard work. Smaller committees and late application dates in the past have caused a limited number of students to plan very large-scale events, often leading to burnout or lack of retention within the organization. I hope to stop this cycle and still allow Rice Program Council members to demonstrate their creativity and love for Rice with minimal stress. This reform of RPC's structure has already begun within our current executive board, and I plan to put it into action throughout the next application cycle. Along with this, I would love to assist in cultivating a more natural environment and familiarity between members of RPC, as well as maintain a culture of thanks for each member and what they contribute to not only the organization, but our university as a whole through their hard work.


Courtesy Juliana Phan

Juliana Phan (Campanile Editor Candidate)

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 and leadership team, 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 continue serving the Rice community as the yearbook’s editor-in-chief. 

Paige Russell (University Court Chair Candidate)

Did not respond in time for publication.

Chloe Liebenthal (KTRU Station Manager Candidate)

Did not respond in time for publication.


Photo courtesy Cadan Hanson and Sophia Roa

Camila DeAlba, Cadan Hanson, and Sofia Roa (Rally Club President Candidates, running as one)

Statement from Roa: 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 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 and 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. 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!

Statement from Hanson: 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 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 and 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 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. 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.



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