Duke Student Government executive vice president candidate Ramya Ginjupalli plans to give the student body a greater voice in DSG projects, promote connection between members of the student body and collaborate closely with student groups.
Ginjupalli, a junior who is currently as the DSG’s vice president of campus life and was previously as a senator on the committee, wants to make sure that DSG embraces collaboration “both within DSG and with our student body and student groups.”
Within DSG, Ginjupalli hopes to revamp DSG 101, a program that educates incoming senators about the roles and structure of DSG to emphasize collaboration between committees. She also hopes to “ensure that every project that a senator is working on has a student group contact involved.”
Additionally, Ginjupalli hopes to “host a roundtable so that each vice president at the beginning of the semester will invite relevant student groups within their purview, and have a meeting with them to make sure that their goals are aligned and that they not are overstepping on any current work and advocacy being done by student groups.”
Ginjupalli said that she wants to communicate with the student body through an annual town hall in which students will have the opportunity to voice their needs and concerns. This town hall will help inform DSG projects for the upcoming year.
She also wants to work with the DSG Research Unit to “send out a survey to the student body to make sure that they can vote individually on projects and kind of say yea or nay to every single project we are working on.
“At the end of the day, students are our constituents,” she said, “and we should be making sure that we are working on projects that are important to them.”
Ginjupalli hopes to help other DSG members streamline their communication with students. As an example of successful communication between DSG and the student body, she cited DSG’s effort to answer students’ questions about housing last spring and summer.
“I had a huge Google Doc that I sent out last summer with a bunch of housing questions. Students were able to give me questions, and I would communicate directly with [Housing and Residence Life] and make the answers available to everyone. I kind of want that to be how every other vice president, every other senator, also does their work,” she said,
This collaborative document was not Ginjupalli’s only effort surrounding housing during the pandemic. To help address student concerns, she created a Qualtrics form for students to share their concerns. She would then respond to students with more information or who they should reach out to next to find answers.
“I think I got over 100 replies, and so it took a lot of the first part of my spring to ... help students with all the coordination,” Ginjupalli said.
She also advocated for student concerns regarding Duke’s housing decisions for the coming academic year.
“After talking to a lot of students, and with my committee, and the rest of DSG exec, I led a charge saying, I think guaranteed blocking is the most important thing at the moment,” Ginjupalli said.
This past summer, Ginjupalli helped start the Blue Devil Buddies mentorship program between first-years and upperclassmen. She said that DSG members were both pleased and surprised by the program’s success and hope to institutionalize it in the future. She also hopes to expand the program by pairing first-years with each other as well as with older student mentors.
“A lot of students say that some of their main support comes from their Blue Devil Buddy,” Ginjupalli said.
Ginjupalli also sits on several University committees, including the Hate and Bias Committee, the Communications Subcommittee and the Scheduling Committee.
Alongside her peers on DSG, she helped advocate for the addition of break days to the spring semester calendar.
Ginjupalli, a Michigan native, is an evolutionary anthropology major with a concentration in human biology and global health double major on the pre-med track.
Outside of her student activism, Ginjupalli helps lead the Duke Tour Guide program, conducts research on stigma for cervical cancer and Human papillomavirus with the Center for Global Reproductive Health and volunteers at the Duke Health COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
Joe Gonzalez, who is currently Duke’s advisor and special projects director for pandemic planning and served as the assistant vice president of student affairs and dean for residential life until Dec. 1, worked closely with Ginjupalli on student housing issues throughout the pandemic. In an email to The Chronicle, Gonzalez described Ginjupalli as “an outstanding student leader.”
“During perhaps the most challenging circumstances one could imagine, she worked tirelessly to advocate for her fellow students, bring concerns to the attention of University administration, and help devise solutions. Her impact was tremendous and I am grateful for her partnership on so many issues and challenges,” Gonzalez wrote.
Ginjupalli’s close friend Gwendolyn Henry, a junior, wrote in a message to The Chronicle that Ginjupalli is “one of the most compassionate and hardworking people I have ever met.”
“She works every day to make Duke a welcoming and inclusive space for all students, and has worked especially hard to advocate for Duke students throughout all of the changes of the past year. Ramya is a passionate, honest, empathetic leader who works hard to foster community and empower student voices,” Henry wrote.
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Kathryn Thomas is a Trinity junior and news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.