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Vote for Bhatia, Ihionkhan and McKinney

On Thursday and Friday, Duke students will go to the polls and choose five new vice-presidents to represent them in Duke Student Government. For the position of VP of Durham and Regional Affairs, students will choose between sophomores Axel Herrara Ramos and Uwa Ihionkhan. Students will also rank both sophomore Liv McKinney and first-year Rebecca Torrance for the position of VP of Services and Sustainability. Finally, undergraduates will choose between three of their peers running for VP of Academic Affairs: sophomores Shreya Bhatia and Saheel Chodavadia, and junior Madden Osei. Although each candidate running for their respective position is undoubtedly uniquely qualified to lead their peers, we strongly encourage the student body to vote for Ihionkhan for VP of of Durham and Regional Affairs, McKinney for VP of Services and Sustainability and Bhatia for VP of Academic Affairs this coming Thursday. 

For the Durham and Regional Affairs position, Uwa and Axel presented strong campaigns full of new ideas for strengthening the connection between campus and our surrounding city. Both candidates heavily value community and increasing collaborative projects, but ultimately, the Board voted to endorse Uwa given the necessity of strong institutional knowledge of DSG for the mentorship-heavily role of committee Vice President. That being said, Axel’s experience working with Durham organizations and insights as someone who grew up in the area were impressive and we hope that he will continue to contribute his immense skill set and passions to Durham-Duke projects in the future. 

Liv and Rebecca presented platforms with similar sentiments and core priorities, including improving mental health services on campus and other student wellness resources. However, the key component that pushed the Board in Liv’s favor was the details in her campaign aims. Her clear, specific and tangible suggested goals were indicative of her crucial experience within student government and the Board felt that this understanding of how to craft feasible policy aims would be well suited for the position. We encourage Rebecca to continue her admirable work with DSG for the betterment of the university and collect more experience, then run again later on in her time at Duke. 

Finally, all three candidates running for VP of Academic Affairs would bring to the position their own unique backgrounds and experiences to further the scholastic interests of the student body. Saheel’s platform specifically focuses on three areas of improvement in the realm of Academic Affairs: wellness, access and voice. Madden, an outsider to DSG, stressed the importance of tackling a diverse set of institutional reforms, such as including a more interdisciplinary approach to the curriculum, within his respective platform. Nonetheless, we strongly encourage voters to rank Bhatia first. Her more focused, conceivably achievable campaign promise to improve the academic integrity at Duke through working closely with students and campus groups resonated among many members of the board. 

Overall, as always, experience with working in the inner machinations of DSG was a considerable voting issue for the Board. All the candidates brought with them energy, optimism and excitement for the future of our representative student assembly, but those with the added qualification of being veterans of the long Wednesday night meetings came out on top. We wish all those running luck in all their endeavors. Moreover, we strongly encourage the student body to vote for whoever they see fit; voting, both inside the Duke bubble and outside, is an important part of the civic process that we should all be part of. 

Note: We did not endorse anyone for VP of Campus Life because of a considerable conflict of interest. Robbie Ha recused himself from the VP of Academic Affairs endorsement. 

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