Later this week, undergraduates will elect a new executive vice-president for the 2018-2019 academic year. Although often eclipsed by the flashier position of DSG president, the EVP represents an equally paramount leader within the organization. As stated within the DSG Constitution, the EVP is the “second- highest ranking officer of the DSG” and is tasked with duties like “[assisting] the President in the proper and orderly administration of the business of the DSG.” Constitutional specifics aside, the role of EVP is one without a specifically defined agenda. As brought up in our interviews with all four candidates, there are multiple, competing visions about what role an EVP can take in leading the student body. In the end, Alec Lintz’s vision—one that primarily promotes internal organizational improvements—represented the agenda most board members agreed with. When voting later this week, we strongly encourage the student body to rank Lintz first for EVP. 

Kayla Thompson, along with her running-mate Sean Bissell, offered a comprehensive agenda focused on a wide swathe of collective policies and projects for their tenures. These include: increased recruitment from rural communities, increased mental health support and the creation of an Asian American Studies program. We were impressed by the ambitious goals Thompson had set within their collective platform as well as her commitment to working alongside Bissell given both candidates’ established reputations within DSG. Nonetheless, some writers were concerned by the idealistic nature of their specific agenda items, especially considering the institutional limits of DSG in instituting such broad reforms. Moreover, most of Thompson’s agenda is contingent on Bissell being elected alongside her, which narrows the feasibility of some of her platform. 

Jake Hoberg’s platform, summed up in his slogan “Redefine, Refocus, and Repurpose,” emphasizes a similarly broad, ambitious agenda of numerous policy and project initiatives to transform the everyday Duke experience. Among the specific items within his agenda, he endorses low-cost STI testing, increased funding for smaller cultural groups and financial assistance for students during breaks. Yet, again, many members questioned the feasibility of such an ambitious agenda, which, as Hoberg alluded to in his interview, will inevitably be met with pushback by the administration. Considering Hoberg’s current academic status as a sophomore, however, we encourage him to continue to dedicate himself to the student body as a DSG leader if he is not elected. 

While all the candidates are incredibly qualified and possess bright visions for the future of Duke, Alec Lintz secured our endorsement because of his primary focus on reforming the inner culture of DSG itself. The individuals tasked with representing the student body are never short of ideas and new projects, but often it seems like the bureaucratic red tape and arbitrary trappings of DSG procedural processes can undermine those visions. These are issues that Lintz understands and seeks to tackle. His emphasis on shaping DSG into more of a service-oriented entity that embraces internal alterations to better serve students was strikingly refreshing and we value his goals for how inward-looking they were—a framework the board feels is crucial to balance out the external-centric role of the president. 

In the end, there is only so much an EVP can accomplish with the rest of DSG in the short span of one academic year. Lintz’s vision of changing the culture of DSG into a more open, efficient and collaborative body, although somewhat theoretical and mundane, represents an important commitment for an organization bogged down by a Kafkaesque hierarchy and an obsession with resume-building. This Thursday and Friday, we encourage voters rank Lintz—and his vision for Duke—first.