“Bridging information asymmetries” is the center of junior Kait Boncaro’s campaign to be Duke Student Government’s next executive vice president.
Boncaro, vice president of services and sustainability on DSG, wants to make information more accessible to all students at Duke, regardless of background or campus involvement.
As a first-generation, low-income student, Boncaro said she understands how difficult it can be to come from different backgrounds and enter Duke as a first-year. She aims to bridge the gap between students and administration and to make information readily available on a range topics.
She has been involved in multiple projects, including proposing a guide for Duke students—called “How to Not Be Rich at Duke”—as well as a new guide currently in the making to help students apply for more confidential financial aid to cover selective groups’ dues on campus.
She has also proposed a change to how Writing 101 courses are currently structured. The proposed change would shift the focus from various topics that may not be of interest to the student to a more general “Introduction to Duke” course. This course would teach students the ins and outs of Duke while facilitating greater discussion among diverse, randomized groups of first-years.
“I think this is one way information could be really effectively given to students in an interesting and engaging way,” Boncaro emphasized. “It would get them interested in Durham, interested in the history of this school and get them to understand the people they are living with.”
Boncaro finds inspiration in the multicultural dance group “Defining Movement,” of which Boncaro is a member. The pillars of the group, multiculturalism and service, are what Boncaro has tried to “emulate and live by” during her time at Duke. This involvement has allowed Boncaro to get off campus and into Durham.
A goal Boncaro has is that more students are able to engage with the community in a meaningful way. With more readily available information across the student body, including learning about Duke and the community in Writing 101 courses, she hopes this can be possible.
Boncaro is also running for EVP for the ability to create change in a role that has been ill-defined in the past.
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“The role has a lot of potential to be transformed into something that is incredibly meaningful,” she said. “EVP should be the outward facing body of the DSG executive board. It should be someone students should be able to go to and make the work of DSG accessible to anyone.”
There are internal aspects of the job as well.“Project work is important. But there are also times to look at DSG itself and find ways to make it more equitable” she added.
“I think this school does a really good job for a lot of students, but I don’t think that this school does a great job for all students. There’s disparities in information that exist on this campus: between students, between administrators, even between students and DSG,” Boncaro explained.
Junior Aidan Fitzsimons has known Boncaro since Blue Devil Days, explaining that Boncaro’s “balance of positivity and realism” makes her a good fit for the position.
“Kait has her hand in a lot of communities at Duke, and that’s exactly the kind of grasp on the student body the EVP role demands,” Fitzsimons said.
Michael Newcity, deputy director of Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies, met Boncaro last semester as a student in his class.
“Kait was an engaged and enthusiastic student who was a pleasure to have in class,” Newcity wrote in an email. “She is passionate about providing better services for low-income students at Duke, something that is certainly needed. Her enthusiasm, passion, and concern will make her a most effective EVP for DSG.”