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   Date: 2/11/10 Bookmark and Share

Q & A with the SGA President

Jinny Choi ’11 stepped up to the Student Government Association (SGA) presidency this year. One of the tasks she has taken on in her leadership role is coordinating this year’s Rally Day Show, which replaces the Rally Day Carnival this year, on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30) in the Campus Center Carroll Room. The show will feature house presidents and other student leaders modeling clothing from Smith’s past while reciting headlines and items from the Sophian and The Madeleine from the past century-plus.

Choi, a philosophy and ethics major from Los Angeles, recently responded to questions for the Gate about her SGA leadership.

Gate: What have been your top priorities as SGA president?

Jinny Choi ’11

Jinny Choi: Some of SGA's top priorities this year have been visibility, getting different organizations to work together, and making sure students' opinions are heard. We have been working closely with the Sophian to get some SGA information out to the students. They have been very helpful with that. We also wanted to communicate to the administration some of the students' concerns. We did this through our "walkarounds" where we went out and asked students what they thought on certain policies or ideas. Our V.O.T.E.S campaign stood for visibility, opportunity, tradition, empowerment, and synergy—it's pretty self-explanatory. We wanted more people to be involved with SGA, directly or indirectly, and truly see us as a viable resource of support.

Gate: Do you plan to run for the position again?

JC: Maybe, but I see it more as the first time I am running since I stepped in for someone who resigned this year, and I don't see this particular election as someone winning or losing, but having the student body pick from a large variety of attributes. I don't want anyone running unopposed. Everyone should give candidacy a try—why not? Just run, if you think you can do it. Everyone is capable of being a leader. I hope many people run this election, and many people vote. It's important to have a student body that cares about the actions of their student leaders, especially because SGA is given so much to work with as far as funding and administrative access.

Gate: How might being SGA president as a junior differ from holding the position as a senior?

JC: I think the one perk of having a junior as SGA president is the aspect of experience. A lot of SGA presidents finally get a feel for their position, but graduate and end up not doing everything they wanted to accomplish. My year of experience as a junior allows me to continue working on all my SGA-related projects into my senior year. I see this with committees I sit on that have annual turnover, and there is no institutional memory. Every year they are starting over, and that wastes time. Also, I know that senior year can be a tumultuous time with finding a job, making sure everything is in order, and enjoying those last memories; I appreciated the unique opportunity to not worry about those things, and focus on SGA.

Gate: What is the best thing about being SGA president?

JC: The best thing about being SGA president...the humility that comes with the territory. With the constant access to so many Smithies, student organizations, staff and leaders, I am always impressed by the amount of passion I see among people here. The student leaders are hard working, interesting, and undaunted by challenges. I have worked with so many peers that I am thankful to have met through this position. They have inspired me with their opinions, openness, and life paths. Everyone cares about the future of Smith, the future of the world; I can’t put into words just how many great people attend and work for this place. I guess I just feel lucky to have worked with them, and that my alma mater is in good hands.

Gate: How might your serving as SGA president serve you in your career?

JC: I think the SGA presidency teaches you to work with a lot of different kinds of people, and you get a chance to see how institutional structures are organized—all of these skills are important in the future. I learned the parameters of making goals with a group of people, and executing those goals. I imagine teambuilding will always be a part of any career since most careers require more than one person to run the show. Every experience helps you to learn some skill(s), and we bring that knowledge into the workplace, if not into our lives.

Gate: What would be your recommendations for future SGA presidents?

JC: It’s a whirlwind of work, but it goes by fast. It is important to know that people are there to help you out, and it’s very important that you enjoy the position, and have some fun with it.


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