Candidates for Duke Student Government’s upcoming elections announced their campaigns on Monday. Juniors Drew Flanagan and Lana Gesinsky are running for DSG president, while junior Devan Desai is running uncontested for executive vice president.
Flanagan, who is majoring in statistical science, is currently serving his second term as chair of the Student Organization Finance Committee. He also serves on the First-Year Advisory Counselor Board, the Center for Multicultural Affairs’ Cultural Engagement Fund and Duke University Union’s University Union Board.
In an email to The Chronicle, Flanagan wrote that he hopes to foster a better sense of community at Duke, embodied by his campaign motto, “Better Belonging." He emphasized his past experience planning programming and managing two million dollars of funds with the SOFC.
Flanagan’s campaign consists of five main pillars: academic experience; social culture; campus resources; Duke, Durham and DKU; and reform in DSG. His hope as president would be to "prioritize projects and initiatives that bring people together."
Key parts of his platform he highlighted to The Chronicle include “making campus a place where people can engage more socially via more liberal alcohol policies [and] more funding for social events with groups of friends; better supporting Duke’s cultural and identity groups; and ensuring QuadEx is successful for the Class of 2025.”
The campaign’s official Instagram account is @drewforduke.
Gesinsky is currently DSG’s vice president for campus life. She is majoring in political science, minoring in psychology and earning a certificate in ethics and society. Gesinsky is also a Baldwin Scholar and a Duke Presidential Ambassador, while also doing work with the Kenan Institute for Ethics.
Gesinsky wrote in an email to The Chronicle that she believes she is the person “best-suited to usher in a cultural reset” in DSG, which she has already begun this semester by “spearheading radical DSG reform.”
"DSG's purpose is to serve and advocate for students, but its poor communication and lack of transparency have failed students over and over again," Gesinsky wrote.
Her platform centers on three pillars: community, which focuses on “revitalizing campus traditions and fostering more vibrant student life post-COVID;” clarity, which includes measures such as initiating stronger DSG recruitment efforts, ensuring physical spaces for student groups and making herself available on campus to engage with students; and communication, which involves making “new and clear communication channels” for DSG and giving student groups a more direct voice through Cabinet positions.
Gesinsky’s campaign Instagram is @lana4dsg.
Desai is majoring in public policy and pursuing minors in chemistry and biology. He is currently the president pro tempore for DSG, chair of the Honor Council and a Margolis Scholar. The Durham native is also involved with the Student Collaborative on Health Policy, Duke Sangeet, Duke Raas and campus tour guides. Desai’s campaign Instagram handle is @devan4evp.
Desai wrote that he wants “to make DSG a student government that listens to the student body and makes profound improvements in our community” in an email to the Chronicle.
His platform revolves around four pillars: making DSG more accessible to new members, which he worked on this year by creating the DSG Review Task Force; improving community connections both on- and off-campus; increasing access to student services and resources; and streamlining communication, which includes highlighting student research and art, as well as improving DSG’s outreach to student groups for recruitment and support.
“It’s hard to define my dreams for this role within four pillars, but I want to emphasize that I truly want to make DSG a student government that listens to the student body and makes profound improvements in our community,” Desai wrote.
The election period will run from Thursday, March 3 at noon to Friday, March 4 at noon.
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Anisha Reddy is a Trinity junior and a senior editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.