Abhi Sanka hopes to increase legislative dialogue as EVP
Sophomore Abhi Sanka is running uncontested for the position of executive vice president of Duke Student Government.
Sanka has been involved in DSG for the past two years as a senator for residential life and has served in a number of internal capacities—including as chair of the senate judiciary selection process and a member of the Rules Committee. Sanka said his vast amount of internal experience prepares him well for the position.
“I really see the position of EVP as the best way for me to help the organization as a whole to move forward," Sanka said. "I am running for this position because I really love Senate and I really want it to thrive."
Sanka wants to strengthen the connection between DSG and the student body, in particular, by increasing campus dialogue about legislative issues.
As EVP, Sanka wants the student body to add to the discussion before legislation is debated at Wednesday night Senate meetings. He called for a Facebook page where he would upload legislation and allow students to voice their opinions. Through these efforts, he hopes to increase senators' awareness of student opinion.
But Sanka has already begun his attempts to promote student body activity in DSG. In response to the 40 Percent Plan—a key issue in this year's election—Sanka explained his attempt to bring the two sides together through his proposed 25 Percent Compromise.
“Unlike a lot of people in student government, the concept of student valuation of student groups is something that is really important," Sanka said.
Identifying further problems in the structure of the Senate, Sanka noted the issues implicit in the at-large process, which encourages senators to think of themselves as on a committee first rather than a senator first.
"We need more people who are less advocacy-oriented and who are more able to listen, create a dialogue and conversation on issues that are much more basic and fundamental—issues like student health, parking, tax-exempt status,” Sanka said.
Although Sanka has many proposed solutions for next year, he noted that current EVP Nikolai Doytchinov has been successful in making the bylaws more clear, ensuring no legal issues arise, making the Senate run more efficiently on the floor and creating transparency by publishing recorded minutes online.
“I want to take what he’s been doing and move it forward not only structurally but also culturally," Sanka said.
Ken Rogerson, Sanka's major adviser and a public policy lecturer, highlighted Sanka’s leadership qualities.
"He has the intensity, the entrepreneurial spirit and the skills to be a strong leader in whatever he chooses to do," Sanka said. "He is patient and a good listener. I believe he will be a conscientious and fair representative for the student body."
Jay Sullivan, a DSG senator for residential life and a sports associate editor for The Chronicle, noted Sanka’s passion for his work in DSG.
“His passion for representing the interests of students, knowledge of the way DSG functions and desire to improve DSG are unparalleled," Sullivan said. "He is also a candidate that will not fail to come through on his campaign promises, and that level of authenticity has commanded the respect of many beyond myself."