There are two executive boards running for the 2017–18 Student Governance Council Executive Board. Sophomore Carlie McClinsey, who is with IC On-Board, and junior Gabrielle Hurlbut, with IC Equity, are the presidential candidates for their respective boards. Staff Writer Madeline Veneziano spoke with the candidates about their platforms, leadership styles and visions for the SGC.
Hurlbut is a junior television-radio major who is currently spending the spring semester at the Ithaca College Los Angeles program. She has not had previous experience on the SGC but has had multiple leadership roles on campus, such as being a peer mentor for the Roy H. Park School of Communications and being a secretary for the Lower Terraces Community Council. Hurlbut’s board will not be on the ballot but is encouraging students to write in its name.
Madeline Veneziano: Why did you decide to run for SGC president?
Gabrielle Hurlbut: I’ve been thinking about it since my freshman year, and I thought about doing it in a later year when I got a sense of the campus and community and what life is like at Ithaca before I did it. … I was thinking how there’s things about our campus community that I would like to change, and I thought, “What better way to improve that than to get involved and run for SGC President?”
MV: What are the main points of your platform?
GH: Our name is IC Equity, so basically, we’re examining equity versus equality because they’re very different things. We’re trying to ultimately get both, so we’re looking to improve our campus in a way that will get to the equity portion of it first, which will ultimately lead to equality. Our main goal is to encourage opening up new resources for students to be able to utilize so that they feel like they’re being treated equally and have an equal opportunity for success as other students. Another point is that we want to encourage diversity, and we want to start more organizations on campus that will get more people involved. A third thing that we really want to address is increasing comfort of students knowing they have somebody on campus they can talk to, whether it be about social life or academics. … We want to try to increase the availability of CAPS and … try to improve the services at CAPS that are available for people. We also want to start a mentorship program because right now, the Park School and health science school have a peer mentor program. … We want to try to increase the peer mentor program to every school, not just the health science school and the Park School because I think it would be helpful for incoming freshmen. Our biggest concept has to do with the five Cs, which for us are comfort, compassion, community, communication and commerce. So each of the five of us is going to be addressing one of those different words during our time if we get elected.
MV: Why do you think you are a qualified candidate to be SGC president?
GH: I’ve had a lot of leadership-type experiences in the past. The first one was being a peer mentor for the Park School. I was assigned to 30 incoming freshmen, and I had to organize events for them where they got to know each other and know other people in their program. … Since I’m a really personable person, I like to hear people out and hear where people are coming from. I think this would be a good position for me because I really want to encourage as many students as I can to feel like they can come to me with ideas about our school and how it can be changed, because this is not just an individual effort — this is everybody. I was also secretary for the Lower Terraces Community Council my sophomore year, which increased my organizational skills. Even from the internship I found out in L.A. and having to work in groups with other interns or helping producers come up with ideas has also increased my leadership skills and also my ability to work well with others.
MV: If elected as SGC president, what do you anticipate your biggest challenges to be?
GH: If elected, I think the biggest challenge for me will be trying to make decisions that I feel are in the best interest of everybody because it’s really difficult to please every single person since not everybody is going to agree on a decision that you’re going to be making. That’s kind of just how things are in any sort of leadership position like this. I think the most challenging part for me will be trying to set aside my personal feelings of people being upset with me versus what’s best for the school.
MV: Can you describe for me your strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
GH: For strengths, I’ve always been good about hearing other people out and being there for others. With that pertaining to being a leader is that it allows me to want to hear from as many people as I can when it comes to making decisions so I know how people feel about certain things. … A weakness for sure is not knowing if I should make a decision because I think it’s going to upset some people and letting personal feelings get in the way.
MV: If elected, do you think you have been up-to-date enough with what’s happening on campus since you are currently off campus studying abroad in Los Angeles?
GH: I feel like as much as I can be. I mean, it’s physically harder for me since I’m off campus right now, since I’m in Los Angeles. I stay up-to-date on what’s happening through social media or Intercom or other areas, like if I see something on the Ithaca College website.
MV: Right now, you have one other presidential candidate running against you, Carlie McClinsey with IC On-Board. How does your platform differ from hers, and why do you think yours is the better choice?
GH: I’ve been looking at their platform, and they have some ideas that are similar to ours, but they don’t have as many specific examples as to how they want to make that happen … One big thing we’re addressing that they might not be addressing as much of is our whole idea of equity. Sometimes people think equity and equality are the same thing, but they’re really not. We’ve made it clear in our platform that we’re willing to provide, as much as we can, resources for each individual person so that they can be successful and equal and that our campus can work towards equality.