This Thursday and Friday, the student body will collectively rank eight of their extremely accomplished, talented peers for the positions of DSG executive vice-president and president. At a research university with a compact undergraduate population exceeding 6,000, the positions of DSG President and EVP can inspire a certain type of awe and reverence. Here, within a pool of some of the brightest and most talented students from all across the world, we annually elect one of our peers to helm DSG in the hopes that they will lead the student body in a more progressive direction as “The Duke of Duke.” Such saccharine idealism aside, it is important leading up to DSG election day, that students truly reflect on what it means to be a leader on this campus beyond the campaign flyers and Facebook profile pictures.
As we mentioned in the position of executive vice-president represents the second highest office within DSG. Constitutionally, the EVP is bounded by certain specific roles, but as highlighted within the interviews conducted with candidates, the primary focus of the office is also highly dependent on the agenda of the current student in charge. Although the office of EVP tends to be more inward facing and focused on the internal organization of DSG, the recent restructuring reforms of the office now allows its occupant to focus on more external duties like executing policy agendas and connecting campus leaders to the administration. Yet, given the extremely outward nature of the DSG president as the primary student body leader, the EVP requires a primarily inward-facing quality focused on internal improvement. This vision of an EVP as being more of an internal leader is one that we believe Alec Lintz and his platform encapsulates, which is why we encourage students to rank him first this Thursday.
The role of DSG president is a complicated one. At once, this role requires collaboration with senators as they navigate their projects, an oversight over daily DSG functions as well as acting as a liaison between restless students and the elected body that represents them. It is one that can, as seen in the past, lend itself to those seeking self-aggrandizing resume building. Those students who see DSG as another rung in the ladder towards a consulting job at rather than a position that should be concerned with the betterment of our campus, can tarnish the role and strip it of any semblance of public service. It is an office that has the potential for so much impact and long term reform of our temporary home, but that potentiality is entirely reliant on who is at the helm.
In the end, no matter who the collective student body will vote for, the position of DSG president is a highly localized office that is relatively esoteric outside the Gothic Wonderland. After graduation, once the commencement ends and the last sappy photos are taken, this election will probably not matter in the grand scheme of things. However, these positions can make an impact if the right people are brought center-front to the organization. When casting votes, as frivolous as these campaigns sometimes might seem, know that there is hope for DSG to stir up emotions of fondness rather than mild irritation among the student body. The positions themselves are not inherently self-serving; they are neutral possibilities, entirely at the whim of whomever takes the helm. What is needed is someone willing to take on the power that this election will grant them and use it for the common good.
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