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Slovik runs on platform of experience, approachability

This is the fourth story in a five-part series profiling this year's candidates for Duke Student Government president.

When junior Matthew Slovik applied to the University, he was looking for the "complete college experience" - a vibrant social scene on campus and a strong liberal arts education. Now, as he runs for Duke Student Government president, Slovik said he has high hopes for continuing that all-encompassing experience for future classes.

A brother of Kappa Alpha Order who hails from Newton, Mass., Slovik cites what he calls his unique vision of the president's role as an approachable and inspiring leader and his experience in DSG as two assets that him apart from the rest of the candidates. As a freshman, Slovik served as a DSG legislator, and during his sophomore year he was the vice president of facilities and athletics.

"I think DSG can do a lot of good for the student body," said Slovik, a public policy studies major. "I've seen [the executive committee] work well and what it looks like [for DSG] to be cohesive. But at the same time, there are things that need to be addressed."

Slovik, who spent last semester studying in Florence, also stressed his ability to achieve tangible results. His successful campaign for the implementation of a flyering policy reflects his commitment to getting things done, he said.

Former DSG president C.J. Walsh, Trinity '02, said Slovik's role in leading a fundraiser after the Sept. 11 attacks was an example of his innovation and personal initiative. "He doesn't need a whole lot of management," Walsh said. "He just gets stuff done himself."

Slovik said safety has been one of his greatest concerns, explaining that he played a vital role in the installation of additional blue safety phones throughout Central Campus and along Science Drive. Additionally, Slovik says he is confronting issues of safety off campus.

"I've gotten complaints about SAFE Rides. We need to increase van numbers," Slovik said. "We've continued to integrate... having taxis on [FLEX]."

Slovik said maintaining a visible presence around campus is integral to a successful presidency.

"If you can always find the president in his office, something's wrong," he said. "People should know who you are, and you should be approachable."

If elected, Slovik would insist that legislators feel like they could approach him. He said he recognizes the importance of clear communication to accomplish goals.

"I think the president has to be able to keep DSG heading in the right direction," Slovik said. "You have to be able to empower those around you to accomplish their own goals."

Former Union president Brady Beecham - who worked with Slovik when he was a DSG representative to the Union board last year - commented that Slovik has the skills to motivate students around him. "I think he has an ability to communicate effectively," she said. "He's just a very personable individual, and I think he really cares about what's going on on this campus."

Improving life for students on all campuses is another one of Slovik's objectives. He explained the next DSG president should deal with such issues as study space and computer clusters on Central Campus, as well as taking a role in renovations to the Bryan Center.

"I think it's important to look at the Bryan Center as a student center," Slovik said, adding that he likes some of Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta's ideas for the new student village and thinks renovations to the Bryan Center are essential. "Looking at what's reasonable, I think the first step would be opening [the Bryan Center] up and seeing what's in there," he said.

Slovik would like to see space for multiple student organizations in a central location within the new student center, supporting the belief that the University would benefit from more collaboration.

"The three major student groups - DSG, Campus Council and the Union board - could do so much good if they work together," Slovik explained. "We have to look at increasing the interaction between these groups."

Moneta praised Slovik's ability to work well with the administration and his experience with DSG.

"He has a good sense of student needs and issues," Moneta said. "I think he certainly is someone who has navigated all that terrain and has a pretty good understanding of what it takes."

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