Transparency and representation are key issues that junior Yemi Kolawole strives to address in her campaign for Duke Student Government president.

Kolawole, who is currently the chief of staff, has worked alongside current DSG President Riyanka Ganguly, a senior, in performing logistical duties within the government. She noted that her first-hand experience on the daily activities of the president have prepared her to take on the role of president.

“I have helped Riyanka do her work and seen her engage with students, faculty and administrators,” Kolawole said. “Outside of the projects and policy, I really know the ins and outs of tasks like writing a blast, engaging with administrators, emailing them, running an exec meeting, taking notes [and] putting up an agenda.”

Besides her role as DSG chief of staff, Kolawole has been a resident assistant for the past two years, first staying in Gilbert Addoms and now 300 Swift. She noted that her involvement as an RA has been pivotal in helping her learn how to build interpersonal skills and manage her time. Yemi also serves as co-head of content for The Bridge, sits on the president’s council for black affairs, takes part in the Office of Student Conduct Advisory Group and has a job as a digitalization assistant at the Duke University Libraries.

Kolawole also shared her belief that students are disengaged with much of DSG’s activities, and said that she hopes to take student feedback more into account when considering policies to enact.

“I’m a firm believer that the DSG president should be a mouthpiece for students," Kolawole said. "Of course, I want to discuss housing and really think critically about what is best for our student body. However, I want to be focusing more on what students want rather than pushing my own agenda.”

When discussing her motive for initially joining DSG, Kolawole said that she did not feel that she was empowered or had the agency to speak up while in DSG Senate, and hopes to make more profound change as president after seeing the positive impact DSG can make through her year as chief of staff.

“I’ve always been critical of DSG, and I’ve never been satisfied with what we’ve accomplished," Kolawole said. "I think there is a large capacity to move forward, and that sets me apart from the other candidates...I definitely want to make a change, and I want people to be satisfied with the student body that is representing them.”

Junior Mia King, a friend of Kolawole, shared her own excitement regarding the campaign and noted that she believes Kolawole can effectively navigate through roadblocks that may arise.

“Yemi is a born leader, and she’s worked to become an informed leader as well,” King said. “I think anyone who wants to run DSG has to really be conscious of what students want in constant time, and she has lots of ideas about putting out certain input measures and factors so that students can state their opinions and DSG can take that input into when and how to pursue projects.”

King noted that she personally hopes that Kolawole can address the division existing between different groups and somehow find a way to bring organizations of different interests together.

“I think that Yemi’s platform and her dedication in DSG and many other areas of Duke speaks for itself," King said. "She’s been an RA since sophomore year and she understands the need to support students from their transition periods and I think that those periods don’t stop when you’re a freshman, and so now as DSG president I think she would hope to keep helping students through those hard transition periods and make sure that Duke is an inclusive and diverse space, especially in the DSG environment.”