Thursday marks the start of campaigning for Duke Student Government president and executive vice president.
Two students are running for each of the positions. Juniors Patrick Oathout, executive vice president, and Stefani Jones, vice president for equity and outreach, are running to succeed senior Alex Swain as DSG president.
Sophomores Tre’ Scott, vice president for services, and Nikolai Doytchinov, vice president for academic affairs, are running to succeed Oathout as executive vice president. The election will be held March 7.
“I can’t wait for the campaigning to begin,” Swain said. “I always get excited around election time for the healthy exchange of knowledge and ideas to better DSG and the Duke community.”
She added that she thought each of the candidates are qualified for the positions that they are pursuing.
Jones said her ability to advocate on behalf of the student body makes her a good fit for the presidential position.
“In DSG, I have had the opportunity to speak on behalf of the student body, and really become an advocate for their needs,” she said. “That is my strength and that [is] what I am good at. That is why I think that I would make a good president.”
She said she demonstrated her ability to advocate for students in her leadership on the DSG initiative to repeal the one-year statute of limitations on student sexual misconduct. Seeing this goal come to fruition when the administration overturned the statute in October was her proudest moment in DSG, she added.
“What a great leader does is empower others to come together and work together for a common cause,” she said. “Not only should the president focus on internal matters and internal efficiency, but also truly work to improve student life on campus.”
Oathout said his experience is what separates himself from other candidates, adding that the only DSG member with the same six semesters of experience as him is Swain.
“I am the candidate with most experience, and experience counts,” Oathout said. “I have the most variety of perspectives, no other candidate has seen as many different aspects of DSG and the student body as I have.”
Oathout added that his term as executive vice president prepared him to know what needs to be done in DSG. In that role, he ran the weekly DSG meetings.
“As EVP, I have successfully managed the most effective and biggest senate ever,” he said.
One of the reasons that the senate was larger this year than in the past was due to an expansion from five internal committees to seven. Doytchinov said that he helped lead the change in the Senate’s structure as a freshman.
“As a senator for academic affairs, and now the vice president, I have been involved with a lot of internal DSG issues, and have worked to improve them,” he said. “I have seen a lot of important issues that were previously swept under the rug, but we have really improved the internal side of DSG in the past two years.”
If elected, Scott wants to change the role of the executive vice president. He said the role should have a greater connection with the student body.
“I want to change the position of EVP a bit,” he said. “Right now it is a mostly internal position, and that is an important role. It makes sure the senate operates effectively, but I want to step it up and make it more in tune with the student body.”