Bhutani aims to solve problems

Freshman Gurdane Bhutani, who is running unopposed for DSG vice president for student affairs, said he wants to study student’s rights.
Freshman Gurdane Bhutani, who is running unopposed for DSG vice president for student affairs, said he wants to study student’s rights.

Freshman Gurdane Bhutani was never involved in student government during high school, but when he came to Duke, he saw problems he wanted to help address.

As the only candidate for Duke Student Government’s vice president for student affairs, Bhutani, currently a senator for student affairs, said he hopes to lead his committee toward improving student life on campus. He is running unopposed after junior Will Passo, vice president for Durham and regional affairs, decided to drop out of the race.

“I think the most important thing that our committee needs to do is to work with the administrators to clarify students’ rights,” Bhutani said. “Right now, admins can read any student’s Duke e-mail inbox, and check students’ rooms during breaks.”

He said he also hopes to increase funding for music and arts programs, such as increasing the length of Duke Arts Weekend to an entire week. Promoting music and arts is important because it fosters a diverse range of students and interests on campus, Bhutani noted.

“Gurdane understands what students need to better their experiences at Duke, and he knows where to go and who to talk to to make his projects happen,” said freshman Molly Superfine, who worked with Bhutani as a senator for student affairs.

During his term as a senator for student affairs, Bhutani primarily participated in informing students about healthy dining options and worked on proposals to create rain shelters at the West and East Campus bus stops and implement a Greek financial aid system. Aside from DSG, Bhutani is involved in several organizations, including Dukes and Duchesses, Duke Debate and Honor Council. He plans to double major in economics and public policy studies and minor in philosophy.

“The Greek financial aid program is something I want to keep pursuing because students should not be limited by money in what they participate,” Bhutani said.

He explained that the program would be funded by alumni who were involved in Greek organizations. The endowment would cover Greek dues for students on financial aid. In the longer term, Bhutani hopes to expand it to selective living groups and other student clubs.

Bhutani said he also sees room for improvement within DSG. He aims to cooperate with the judiciary committee to make the Young Trustee election process clearer and fairer. He said DSG must be more transparent with their decisions and legislations. To address this issue, Bhutani and sophomore Pete Schork, vice president for athletics and campus services, recently passed a bill that created a permanent legislative archive online. Schork is the incoming executive vice president.

“Gurdane is a great listener in that he listens to information thoughtfully, synthesizes it and delivers a confident, well informed response,” Superfine said. “He knows how to approach people with ideas and how to talk with administrators.”


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