On April 9th, China Standard Time, the student government election of Spring 2020 kicked off after an announcement email had been sent out. The election of this year is the first total virtual election ever held at NYU Shanghai. Candidates are running for their positions in this challenging semester.
Among the initiatives candidates came up with, the most important ones include integration between Chinese and international students, preparation for students to return after the coronavirus outbreak, a more flexible textbook policy, a feedback system for the cafeteria, and better use of public space.
OCA journalists Gurkriti Singh 20’, Josh Jensen 21’, Qianyu Zhu 23’ interviewed the candidates running for student government and the election organizer.
Candidates running for President and Vice President
Lucas Goh & Scofield Zou
The first of a series of discussions was with Lucas Goh and Scofield Zou, taking a closer look at the academically focused targets they have outlined in their manifesto and how they will be achieved: an improved textbook policy, a less stringent Core Curriculum, and a newly implemented Academic Affairs department in their proposed government. Questions were also raised on retaining inclusivity amongst NYUSH’ Chinese-International student population, non-Academic issues that will require attention, and what gives both Goh and Zou the confidence that as newbies, they will be able to serve to fulfill responsibilities of the high positions they’re running for.
Stephanie Anderson & Elena Yuying Huang
Next, Qianyu Zhu and Gurkriti Singh’s focus shifted to Anderson and Huang’s Campaign. OCA’s string of interviews culminated with journalists Qianyu Zhu and Gurkriti Singh’s focus on Anderson and Huang’s campaign. The two were questioned on the array of goals they have proposed to specifically target recurring problems on the use of public spaces; the importance of connecting the Chinese-International student populations to face such tensions; and ideas that underlie working on garbage classification and a sense of responsibility and awareness needed to deal with environmental initiatives such as the mishandling of newly introduced metal cups last Fall. Singh also raised concerns of building occupancy–especially with the anticipated return of its growing population–and questioned the stances the candidates have taken on a dire need for better and equal access to work and non-work related spaces on campus.
Taylah Bland & Wenxin Tang
Talking to Taylah Bland and Wenxin Tang, an extensive range of concerns and constructive aspects were touched upon, some of which involved: the challenge of bridging the gap between work done by different committees within the student government; the challenge of supporting students planning to study away next Fall; stances taken on the dilemma of international students being indefinitely unable to return to China; the leadership and study abroad experiences Bland can put to use as a rising senior; the food security issues that are unspoken of on campus; initiatives that need to be taken on to maintain student club interest and management; and supporting students through a more environmental-friendly and affordable textbook policy. The candidates were also questioned on the relatively general targets of their campaign and elaborated on why they have chosen to aim towards broader goals during this time.
Candidates running for External Affairs
Ariana Alvarez-breaking the convention of Chinese students previously applying. OCA journalist Gurkriti Singh conducted one of a series of interviews centered on NYUSH’s 2020 student elections. Ariana Alvarez–breaking the convention of Chinese students previously applying for the position of Director of External Affairs–spoke about how being an international candidate can help develop outside firm associations with the university’s student body; the importance of equal representation with non-Chinese and Chinese students; and the language barriers that she could overcome. She was also questioned on the importance of affiliations with other local institutions and of enhancing relations with sister universities. Topics also included the diligence needed to take on responsibilities as an ambassador for the school despite still testing college waters as a rising sophomore.
“Jiayi Gu is Alavarez’ opposing in this year’s elections. Singh spoke with Gu on…”
Jiayi Gu is Alavarez’ opposing in this year’s elections. Singh spoke with Gu on what she could bring to the table as the upcoming year’s potential Director of External Affairs. Questions were asked on how her familiarity with networking mechanisms and fluency in language as a Shanghainese could be advantageous for the role, to further explaining how this also lends to goals of working on closer management with local vendors and businesses to ensure student needs are met. Gu was asked to respond to the drawback of being less experienced in building external relations as an incoming second year student, and spoke about how skills gained as an Assistant Director will contribute to the position. The interview also touched upon the impact of COVID-19 on her targets of maintaining International-Chinese representation in her initiatives and addressed the issue of mobility and physical access to and within the city next Fall.
With that, OCA sends wishes to the candidates and students for the preliminary and following rounds of voting. May the best take the cake”