Presidents on the presidency

Towerview talks to the last five DSG presidents


As Towerview saw this month, the role of Duke Student Government president has effects beyond its one year term. Here, take a look at how the past five presidents view their time in office—and see how well their campaign videos have held up.

Do you still have being DSG president on your resume?

Mike LefevreYes, but after his first job, he narrowed it down to just one line.

Pete Schork: Yes, and he knows people who graduated from other schools upwards of 20 years ago that still include it in their bios.

Alex Swain: Yes. Last year when she was applying to jobs, she met with her career counselor and they discussed whether to cut the experience down to one line. But ultimately, she decided to lave it as a full paragraph the same way she has her internships laid out.

Stefani JonesYes, and it remains on her LinkedIn profile as well.

Lavanya SunderYes, and because it was such a formative aspect of her time at Duke, she intends to keep it on her resume for as long as Duke is.

What was your most memorable moment as president?

Mike LefevreThe “hostile takeover” of Campus Council.

Pete Schork: Restructuring the internal committees to make them more in line with the needs of Senate and the student body. This created the VP of equity and outreach position.

Alex Swain:  Writing her first policy memo to administration regarding the need to change the statute of limitations on sexual assault allegations.

Stefani JonesDuring her time as president, DSG successfully lobbied for stricter sanctions on sexual misconduct and got the administration to clarify and better detail the procedures involved with filing a complaint.

Lavanya SunderThe last DSG meeting when she was president, the experience really came full circle as she was surrounded by her friends and exec members and she remembered when she was first running for DSG senator as a freshman, and she passed out stickers with volcanoes on them that said “vote for Lava.”

Do you still keep informed on DSG initiatives?

Mike Lefevre:  At first he would read the paper every day, but then he slowly started checking less and less.

Pete Schork: He went from maybe reading The Chronicle every other day to just monitoring every once in a while. “There are times when you know how passionate you would be about an issue if you were still on campus, but when you’re not, you learn to keep in check. You don’t know the context anymore and you don’t know the players.”

Alex Swain:  She checks in on new initiatives occasionally, but every once in a while there is an issue that really pulls her in.

Stefani JonesShe catches up with current DSG members to hear what initiatives they are up to, and tries to read The Chronicle whenever possible.

Lavanya SunderShe is considering applying for an at-large Senate position in the Spring semester, but regardless of if she decides that is the best option, she hopes to sit in the back of a good number of meetings.

Is there anything that you retain from your time as president?

Mike Lefevre: A framed collage of the Chronicle headlines documenting his biggest achievements at Duke hangs in his apartment, though he emphasized that it was behind a door rather than prominently displayed.

Pete Schork: The connections with the mentors and mentees he developed through the organization, citing that just a few weeks ago he was in Florida visiting Lefevre. “Those relationships are priceless.”

Alex Swain: The relationships she formed both with other students and executive board members but also administrators and Board of Trustees members.

Stefani JonesShe has definitely retained her Duke spirit, which she is often hated for in her current office. It was especially bad after the Duke Basketball team visited the White House.

Lavanya SunderShe retained her card access to the DSG office in the Bryan Center which is a great place to study when other areas of campus are crowded.

And everyone's favorite part... campaign videos:


Share and discuss “Presidents on the presidency” on social media.