A Mandate for Change

by Ralph Davies | 5/7/04 5:00am

This election certainly is bittersweet for all involved. I don't think anyone feels completely satisfied about the process or even the end result.

With this in mind, I think it is important first to thank every student on this campus for putting up with the incessant BlitzMails, posters, newspaper scandals and general controversy. I have thought a great deal about contesting this election and about asking for a head-to-head vote because of the final tally. But this election needs to be put aside, and Dartmouth needs to move forward. Julia Hildreth will make a strong Student Body President. She has demonstrated her ability and determination again and again. Regardless of actual outcome, Dartmouth was going to win this election.

So while the mandate for leadership may not be clear, the mandate for stronger student government overwhelmingly is. This needs to be our focus now. We need to build relationships with each part of this campus. We need to incorporate our teams, our houses and our clubs into our decision making process.

It seems like an obvious goal, but it doesn't happen nearly enough. Students never think to come to the Student Assembly for help with their administrative and financial challenges. It is the responsibility of Assembly leadership to make this change immediately. Furthermore, we need to establish strong relationships with our alumni and Alumni Council so that we can protect the things that matter most at Dartmouth, such as undergraduate teaching and our great athletic teams. Most of all, the Student Assembly needs to serve as a unifying force on this campus. This sounds like an abstract idea. But it is important that the various facets of this campus are brought together more often. Greek members, affinity house members, athletes, performers -- we need to build stronger relationships and stronger dialogue.

My greatest fear in conceding this contest is that this vision for stronger student leadership will be forgotten. This is a difficult thing to swallow in light of a single-vote margin. But I will continue to fight for the important issues next year, and I know that Julia will do the same. Additionally, I ask that every student on the Dartmouth campus hold the Student Assembly accountable -- whether by attending meetings or simply voicing opinion. This, too, will ensure positive change.

If there is one thing that I will take away from this experience, it is the number of passionate people that I have met and worked with throughout the process.

I think of my unbelievable campaign manager, Zach Rubeo. I think of the contingent of freshmen that made posters and campaigned feverishly for me. I think of practically the entire lacrosse team showing their support. This College is strong and will remain strong because it consists of so many enthusiastic thinkers and leaders. It is infinitely bigger than any one person.