Jessica Chiriboga ’24 and Kiara Ortiz ’24 speak on student body presidential and vice presidential win
Chiriboga and Ortiz won uncontested elections for student body president and vice president on April 26.
On April 23, the Elections Planning and Advisory Committee and The Dartmouth co-hosted a forum for student body presidential candidate Jess Chiriboga ’24 and student body vice presidential candidate Kiara Ortiz ’24 to answer students’ questions and discuss their platform. The student body president and vice president act as the leaders of Dartmouth Student Government, advocating on behalf of students as the College makes decisions. Chiriboga and Ortiz ran unopposed on the ballot and won their election, garnering 1,173 and 1,056 votes, respectively.
Students voted electronically from April 24 at 5 p.m. to April 26 at 5 p.m. Elections for representatives for Student Government, Class Council, the Committee on Standards and the Organizational Adjudication Committee representatives ran concurrently.
At the forum, Ortiz said she hopes to guide the new Dartmouth administration, which will take office under incoming College President Sian Leah Beilock on July 1, toward policies that best serve student needs.
“Our job is to advocate for what the students want,” Ortiz said. “We’re pushing forward, and I think the administration is kind of like, ‘Yeah, these students are not going to settle for any less than this, so, let’s figure out a way to solve this issue.’”
In the 2023-2024 academic year, the duo plans to focus on sustainability, equity and town relations. Chiriboga and Ortiz are also working to implement free and functional laundry, indoor and outdoor wellness spaces, shuttles to A-lot and institutionalized transportation vouchers, according to a campus-wide email they sent on Monday.
However, Chiriboga and Ortiz both stressed in the forum that their top priority in working with the new administration is to advocate for student mental health and expand access to resources. This past year, Student Government – led by student body president David Millman ’23 with Chiriboga as student body vice president – successfully spearheaded 24/7 UWill therapy for students.
Chiriboga and Ortiz said at the forum that they will prioritize expanding long-term, in-person therapy options at the counseling center and creating additional funds for students to receive counseling services in the Upper Valley.
They also hope to implement termly wellness days, though Chiriboga said they are unclear on how a “Day of Caring” would work in practice. Chiriboga added that she hopes to ensure that “in every sector of student life,” the College takes student mental health and wellness into its approach.
Ortiz currently serves as the Student Government chief of staff and West House senator. According to Chiriboga, through their extensive involvement in Student Government since freshman year, she and Ortiz have experience building relationships with senior administrators, the Board of Trustees and staff members across campus, with a proven track record of establishing new initiatives.
“That [track record] is going to put us in a great position to be the best advocates for students next year because they’re going to need somebody in a student role who’s had prior experience,” Chiriboga said at the forum.
In the past year, Chiriboga and Ortiz’s work in Student Government also led to access to the Headspace app for all undergraduates, the reopening of late night at the Class of 1953 Commons and the installation of Wifi on the Green, among other programs.
Chiriboga said her identity motivates her to serve on Student Government and foster change.
“I have no political aspirations,” Chiriboga said during the forum. “I do Student Government work because it’s always been important to me as a woman of color, as somebody who really cares deeply about mental health and LGBTQ+ people to be active in my community and to try to make the areas around me a better place.”
Anthony Fosu ’24, who was elected as Senior Class vice president alongside Senior Class president Kami Arabian ’24, wrote in an email statement that he hopes to make changes to benefit the community, uniting the Class of 2024 and ensuring his classmates feel a sense of belonging.
“For me, running with Kami was motivated by wanting to serve as much of our class as possible, and to do it in a way that could help bring different parts of campus together,” Fosu wrote. “I am extremely excited to get to work serving our classmates.”
Chiriboga and Ortiz said that all of their Student Government meetings are open to the public, adding that if a student attends three meetings, they can become a representative and lead their own projects.
Chiriboga is a former member of The Dartmouth staff.
Correction Appended (Sept. 6, 5:10 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the titles of student body president and student body vice president as the Student Government president and Student Government vice president, respectively. The article has been updated for clarity, including the title and subtitle.
A sentence has also been added to clarify that the student body president and vice president act as the leaders of Dartmouth Student Government and play a role in advocating for students as the College makes decisions.