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Get to Know Your SGA Presidential Candidates!

sga_bear_blackAs voting for SGA Elections closes tomorrow, Bwog sent out a few questions to the candidates for SGA President, Madelyn Popkin and Aliza Hassine to help you decide who deserves your vote. You should also make sure to check out all contestant’s platforms on eBear. Remember, even uncontested candidates need a certain percentage of the vote to win, so make sure to check them out as well.

Bwog: What do you think is the most important thing that SGA accomplished this year?

Madelyn: I think that this year’s SGA laid a good foundation for change and a productive relationship with the administration. I also am super psyched about the creation of the GBB [Governing Board at Barnard] and the collaborative and effective work that will be done by the SGA, GBB, and McAc next year as a result!

Aliza: As a member of SGA’s Representative Council for the last three years, I have seen how SGA has struggled to manage both policy initiatives and club governance. Therefore, I definitely think the creation of the GBB is the most important accomplishment this year. The GBB will not only enable SGA to fulfill its’ mission of fostering collaborative relationships and sponsoring all student groups on campus, but it will also create a more successful and accessible club governance system. With that being said, I am sure because it is a new endeavor that it will need room for improvement and growth and will not be perfect from the get go, however, it is a great step in making more transparent and collaborative government.

Bwog: Why did you decide to run for this position? What do you think your most important responsibility would be in this role?

Madelyn: I’m running for SGA president because I want to use what Barnard has taught me to improve our school. I want to be elected because the student body believes in me like I believe in them, because the student body wants me to represent them and work hard for them.

We talk about allyship a lot in LGBTQ contexts, and it’s usually about getting support from allies. But my experience at Barnard has taught me the value of being an ally. I’ve learned that being an ally means being actively engaged in other groups struggles, fostering voices that are under-valued or under-represented, and engaging in self-reflective, honest dialogue. It means always questioning, always changing, and most importantly always learning. I want to bring that concept to the role of SGA president, to be a true ally to all of Barnard’s students, faculty, staff, and administration to make a better Barnard, together.

Aliza: I love this student body and I believe in its ability to be great and exceptional. For the three years that I have worked on SGA as the President of the class of 2014 I have been able to contribute to numerous policy initiatives, however, while I have been able to recognize the great things SGA has done, I have also been able to see where it has failed and where it needs improvement. It is because of my passion and appreciation for the student body that I decided to continue to work on behalf of this amazing community to really fix the problems on SGA to create a more effective government. I’ve devoted my entire college career to SGA and it is something that I believe can really have an impact on the student body and the student body deserve a government that will work for them in the best way possible. Therefore, I do think my most important responsibility in this role will be effectively communicating with the student body to find the policy initiatives that they want to tackle. SGA has always struggled with communication and that is something I hope we can change together.

Bwog: What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for SGA President?

Aliza: SGA is a very complicated organization that exists in order to serve the entire student body at Barnard. With the restructuring of SGA, I believe that the leadership of SGA really needs to understand how it is going to be changing and how with the new changes, SGA will be expected to interact with the student body. My experience on SGA as the President of the Class of 2014 has enabled me to develop a deep understanding for how SGA works at Barnard and in the greater Columbia community. I believe that I’ve learned and gained the on-the-job experience to successfully usher in a new SGA leadership that will hear and listen to the student voice and effectively work on their behalf. I’ve worked on numerous policy initiatives these past three years as a voting member of SGA and have also planned plenty of events for the Class of 2014 that involved community building. I’ve dedicated myself and my heart to SGA and my experience on SGA is paramount and fundamental for why I am the best candidate for SGA President.

Madelyn: As a transfer student, I’ve only been here for a year and a few months. But I’ve accomplished a lot in that amount of time. What I’m most psyched about is having successfully led Q in getting gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus. I’m also really proud of the dependable, more visible, and supportive queer community I’ve helped to create. Since being here I’ve facilitated leadership retreats, been Q Social Chair and President, worked on the GBB creation task-force, been a Peer Educator for WellWoman, I just learned that I’m receiving a Student Leadership Award, served as a member of Queer Central (a committee of students and administrators who meet monthly to be updated and work on queer issues on campus), and worked with Alumni Affairs on a reunion event.

And I love Barnard.

Bwog: Anything else? Favorite Hewitt meal or study spot on campus? Other fun Barnard fact about you?

Madelyn: I was Student Council President in 5th grade. I’m a big fan of Hewitt and the Diana Center’s pizzas. I really love talking to people so look at my platform, find my facebook page, and come talk to me about your ideas, questions, comments, and concerns!

Aliza: I’ve lived in the quad for all but one semester while at Barnard so I am definitely a frequent Hewitt goer and my favorite food would have to be a wrap with american and swiss cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce – all grilled. It’s pretty basic but still delicious. My favorite spot on campus is definitely Liz’s Place because I love the fact that I will likely always run into someone I know waiting online for coffee and also because it is probably the one place anyone on campus will ever catch me singing just because I love the music Liz’s plays.

This interview has been edited for brevity. 

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  • but says:

    @but I really don’t want to and no one cares.

  • BC '14 says:

    @BC '14 SGA can be a rough place to stay so it’s impressive to see that Aliza has stuck through it, learned how to navigate it and become determined to lead it.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Posting half an hour before the polls close?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Barnard elections don’t close until tomorrow (Thursday).

  • BC'16 says:

    @BC'16 Aliza literally just stole Maddy’s platform……”accessibility” “believing in the student body” “collaboration” – only things she started talking about once she heard Maddy’s campaign…

    1. Anon says:

      @Anon Pretty sure those were the topics Aliza mentioned in her speech and platform. Plus platform are submitted before seeing the other candidate’s so how that would be possible does not make sense whatsoever. It’s nice to know that Maddy wants SGA to “table” not like that has been done before….really inventive.

  • i hate to do this but says:

    @i hate to do this but fulfill its mission************

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I’m just saying I voted for Aliza Hassine my first year because she promised a bike share. It’s been two years and still no bike share.
    Maddy for SGA President!

    1. Anon says:

      @Anon The Bike Share Program was taken over by the Eco-Reps at Columbia. Just so you know because Barnard did not have the money for the program so it was taken over by Columbia, but SGA has been kept in the loop this entire time. Read up on Spec – it’s all there.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Uh, yeah, and BC students can’t participate in that bike share. Great job advocating for me as a Barnard student!

        1. Anon says:

          @Anon It’s a pilot program so welcome to reality – things take time especially for Barnard to be included because the issues have to be worked out. NYC has been promising a bike share program for years so why dont you hate on Bloomberg too then.

  • SGAaa says:

    @SGAaa Aliza will achieve nothing. Read her website. Taking credit for the creation of the Barnard Governing board. No Aliza, that wasn’t your idea and you didn’t create it. Yes you had to vote for it, all SGA reps did. What have YOU actually accomplished.

    1. BC14 says:

      @BC14 Clearly you haven’t actually read her platform because nowhere does she say that she created GBB OR take credit for its creation. The only times she mentions GBB is in reference to how she’s looking forward to working with them.

  • aNewSgA says:

    @aNewSgA haters are so mean…Aliza gets it. She is dedicated. Eager and willing to engage the student body. Only she will foster the expression of opinions, and cultivate collaborative relationships throughout the entire community. I don’t understand all of this animosity. Her only goal is to represent, to allow for the creation of a Barnard community that we are all proud of.

  • You are all crazy says:

    @You are all crazy I’m really confused about why everybody gets so nasty in the face of SGA elections. Every one of these candidates are promoting ideas that as Barnard students we should value as well. I think it’s a little ridiculous for everybody to be bad mouthing Aliza. She has been a great advocate for the larger student body. She is accessible beyond belief. I don’t need to put down Maddy in order to advocate for Aliza. I’m not preaching “Lets all be nice and get along” I just think its really sad that people are SOOO invested to the point that they’re trashing candidates. People have been judging Aliza’s invovlement with greek life…it would be unfair for Maddy or any other candidate for SGA to be stereotyped or judged by the groups they are part of. Both Maddy and Aliza are promoting diversity and openness. I think as Barnard students we need to be more open minded about these candidates and look past whatever clubs they align with or other silly, unimportant thoughts

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I couldn’t agree more. Everyone has a right to state their opinion but it is wrong and malicious to have posts intended to put someone else down. Aliza has worked hard for these past three years and she would not have been reelected had she not made an impact on Barnard’s community. I am a strong advocate for Aliza and I am also a strong advocate for those who promote others without putting other people down along the way.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous It is not malicious to argue that someone has been an ineffective leader.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous If you read the comments there are plenty of malicious comments that are unnecessary and completely false. I would quote them but it’s not worth my time and I am not going to stoop down to that level. At the end of the day ALIZA HASSINE DESERVES TO BE SGA PRESIDENT because she has been an effective leader for THREE YEARS GOOOOOO ALIZAAAAA!!!

  • D B says:

    @D B I have never met Maddy or Aliza before, so I wasn’t sure who I was voting for. Last night after midnight Maddy bangs on everyone’s door in my hall telling them about her campaign, gets to my door, sees that I am clearly sick in bed and my roommate is studying, and proceeds to walk right in and start talking and saying “vote for me! listen to all the things i’ve done!” She definitely does not have my vote now.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I hate SGA as much as the next person, but Aliza is pretty dedicated to the cause and is quite close with past SGA presidents. This girl deserves the position…

  • Anon says:

    @Anon Aliza has worked the best that she can for every single student at this school by being on SGA so long. Maddy hasn’t at all and she isnt saying anything new! My votes with Aliza because she has proven herself for THREE YEARS! Come on people!!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous why is neither candidate even addressing the actual, concrete problems barnard has had over the past several years? housing. transparency. stuff that will probably resurface again in some form. stuff that SGA can at least condemn if not fix.

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