Campaign season is for bold ideas, ambitious promises, big thinking. But once elected, the term is consumed by the mundane: budgeting, administrative details, endless meetings. This is the conventional wisdom we all know about the ASSU. During Week 1 of spring quarter, candidates will accost you in the dining hall or in White Plaza promising to hire more CAPS counselors, increase community center funding and reform the Title IX process. After the election, you rarely hear from them again.
But Shanta was different. Shanta was the rare senator that made big promises during her campaign and actually delivered on them.
During our first meetings as newly-elected senators, Shanta told us she wanted Stanford to become a pilot campus for Callisto, a confidential sexual assault reporting app. She had read that the University of San Francisco conducted a pilot of its own, and she wanted Stanford to build on their success. Most of us were skeptical that the Undergraduate Senate could accomplish this. Those of us that were returning for a second term were sure that Shanta’s idealism would soon be crushed.
Fast forward one quarter to the fall of 2016: at this point, Shanta had reached out to other Callisto pilot schools, written a paper on the merits of Callisto at Stanford and created a Joint Committee on Sexual Violence with the Graduate Student Council, in part to discuss a Callisto pilot. Shanta then convinced the Senate and the Graduate Student Council to pass a resolution of support for the pilot. Two quarters later, with some more elbow grease from Shanta, Stanford officially signed the papers for a three-year Callisto pilot.
Callisto is one example among many of initiatives Shanta accomplished as a senator that seemed impossible from the outset. For example, during winter quarter last year Shanta partnered with the office of the Vice Provost of Student Affairs to implement “open office hours” bringing together administrators and ASSU representatives to address student concerns. To translate: Shanta convinced Stanford administrators (including Greg Boardman, the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, and Harry Elam, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, among others) to place themselves at the mercy of students for an hour-long free-for-all complaining session — every single week.
Shanta also worked with the Graduate Student Council to hold regular joint meetings with the Senate. Historically, the Graduate Student Council and the Senate had a distant relationship and rarely joined forces to negotiate with administrators. Under Shanta’s direction, however, we began to meet quarterly, which vastly improved the relationship between the two bodies, and which ultimately led to the passage of our joint resolution in support of the Callisto pilot.
Shanta is exactly the person we need to serve as ASSU Exec: an idealist with the know-how and the practicality to take ideas from start to finish. When she wants to get something done, she does her homework and she builds the necessary relationships with administrators. Only someone with her initiative and experience can leverage the office of ASSU Exec to effectively serve communities at Stanford. That’s why we, the members of the 18th Undergraduate Senate, are voting Shanta + Rosie for ASSU Exec, and we hope you will follow suit.
Hattie Gawande ‘18
Jasmin Espinosa ‘18
Cenobio Hernandez ‘18
Kathryn Treder ‘18
Matthew Cohen ‘18
Carson Smith ‘19
Jayaram Ravi ‘19
Alpha Hernandez ‘19