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Kristina Smith focuses on campus affordability in campaign for DSG president

Junior Kristina Smith is prioritizing affordability and accessibility on campus in her campaign for Duke Student Government president. 

She hopes to make use of her greatest asset—her active listening skills—to create concrete policy and action on behalf of the student body. Smith said she aims to broaden the reach of Duke students, both locally and around the world, and to change unhealthy parts of campus culture.

“In my last around three years in DSG and on campus, I have learned that Duke on its own will not provide everything that we as an undergraduate body need—not at least without a push from student leaders,” Smith said. “I want to be DSG president because I want to serve Duke as one of the student leaders that is pushing for those changes.”

Smith is a public policy major pursuing a minor in education and a human rights certificate, and currently serves as the DSG’s vice president of services and sustainability. Outside of DSG, she serves as co-director for the Common Ground retreat and as vice president for the Center for Race Relations. She is also a Project BUILD crew leader and works at Brodie Gym. 

Smith's body of work at Duke has also focused on policy, projects and partnerships. Her policy work has included collaboration with the Duke Disability Alliance and the Student Organization Financing Committee to introduce a ban of the use of the Languages Building as a meeting place for recognized student groups on campus because the building is not accessible to wheelchairs. 

Smith explained that this policy demonstrates that she is “the one among the candidates that is able to make active listening turn into concrete policy and action on behalf of the student body.”

If elected as president, she hopes to increase sexual assault prevention training beyond Greek communities and Haven, the online course that freshman taken when they first arrive on campus.  

Smith also emphasized the creation of the Daily Devil Deals—meals under $5 at every on-campus vendor—as one of the most important projects she has worked on. She said the project was inspired by her goal to make eating on campus more affordable for all students and all staff members.

Smith plans to continue expanding the scope of her projects in the coming year, explaining that she would like to examine course cost transparency.

“I want to ensure that professors are labeling the total costs of their classes on DukeHub because students should not have to be blindsided by course textbooks and textbooks that are outrageously expensive,” she said.

Another focus area she plans to work on as president is building relationships between Duke's campus farm and the Durham community. She has previously worked to bring a farmers' market to K-Ville. 

“We are moving forward this semester with three more farmers' markets with Sustainable Duke which brought on a partnership with Durham community members and farmers and bringing them to campus,” Smith said. “That’s such an important relationship to build.” 

In addition, Smith said she has worked to establish productive partnerships within and outside the Duke community. If elected, she hopes to pursue more partnerships, including collaboration with North Carolina Central University, a university which she said has a "history of an activist culture that we are just not tapped into."

Smith said communication as president is vital to building partnerships.

“I think that my body of work was entirely inspired by student experiences and student voices,” she said. “Moving forward, I really want to emphasize that Duke Student Government is listening to student voices, especially student voices that are underserved and underrepresented and bringing their concerns and bringing actionable, change and policy.”

Junior Maggie Haas, who met Kristina on move-in day during her freshman year, highlighted Smith’s passion for the projects she pursues.

“She is truly relentless and such an unyielding individual, and I’ve been so floored by everything she’s been able to accomplish in the past three years,” Haas said. “She is inflamed by doing more to make this campus more affordable and accessible to all students.”