If you’re wondering who to vote for in the upcoming AAS Presidential race, the choice should be simple: go with the person who came to you.
I was approached by several friends and acquaintances well before election week who asked me whether or not I was running for President. The support was there for me, they said, and if I ran I had a good chance at winning. I mulled the suggestion over in my head during Spring Break, and in the end decided against it. I think I could bring a lot of important things to the Presidency, but in the end I’m lacking in that most vital characteristic: extroversion.
Not that I’m antisocial, but the fact that I’m an introvert is something I’ve come to understand and reflect upon. I will never thrive if I don’t have me-time; it’s just the way I’m wired. And for that reason I’d make a bad, or at least a sad, President.
The most important thing a student body President can do at a place like Amherst is talk to people. The President of the AAS is uniquely positioned to know his or her constituency in a way that few other officials can. Over the course of a year in office, the President can actually interact on a personal level with a massive percentage. Go with the candidate who seems the most likely to take advantage of this fact, and who demonstrates it during election week.
Another important thing to bear in mind: you’re voting for the President of the student body, not the student government. The term “AAS” can be used in two ways — usually it refers to the student government alone, but it’s technically defined as the association of all Amherst students under a governing body. The “AAS President” is accountable not to the Senate, but to the student body. Checks and balances exist, but this doesn’t really alter the equation. Among the most admirable characteristics of our current president, I think, has been her willingness to sidestep the Senate when she felt it was necessary.
The point is: you should vote for the person not who you feel represents you, but who you feel would be willing to get to know you so that he/she can then represent you. Vote for the one who puts in the time and effort to reach out and talk to you. Vote for the one who you think will continue to listen.
You can only really know and trust a person once you’ve looked them in the face. In politics that’s usually an empty and useless statement, but here at Amherst it isn’t. I call on each Presidential candidate to prove their commitment to the student body. This race will be decided not by posters and social media, but the sorts of personal interactions that I feel define our small college community.