My name is Steve Brikowski, I am a political science major with a legal studies minor. I was the Editor-in-Chief of The Spartan Newspaper, Parliamentarian of the Student Senate, elected twice as a general senator and a general member of the Campus Activities Board.
Why are you running for Student Senate? What prompted you to want to occupy, arguably, the highest office for a student at the college?
I am running for President because I feel that the students are often undermined and that the Student Senate does not address or go about addressing issues that matter to students. I am running because I have the vision and determination to make this college better for all students. My goals, generally speaking, are to increase the amount of freedom students have, to strengthen our voice, and make the college as affordable as possible.
What do you think makes you the best choice for the students? How do you differ from other candidates? Do you think that there are any crucial disagreements with your opponents?
I believe I am the best candidate because I have more experience than my opponents, I have worked hard to open the forum for students voices to be heard. I have fresh ideas and A New Approach on how the student government should work. I am the only candidate to be on the executive board of Student Senate during the 2014-2015 academic year. This year, I dedicated myself to helping students in getting their voices heard by reviving the student newspaper, The Spartan. I would not say that I have disagreements with my opponents; I believe the other candidates do not have a clear cut approach to how they want to act as President, let alone serious goals that students care about. I feel that they will continue the status quo and not address the issues that the student body really cares about.
Do you have a platform? If so, what concrete steps will you take / proposal do you have to better the conditions for students?
I do have a platform and one in which I list many things that I wish to accomplish as President, if elected. My opponents lack clarity and steps to accomplish their goals and instead use a less-than-serious method to gain support for a very serious position.
Ultimately, I would like to save money for all students in every way possible.
I would like to essentially end the monetary ticketing of students on campus with registered vehicles, I feel that there are effective ways to circumvent taking more money out of students pockets. I believe we should have the option to complete community service hours as a positive alternative for committing a parking violation.
I would like to end mandatory full-meal plans, students that do not prefer the dining hall should not have to be obligated to pay for something they do not use, there are requirements for the college to provide access to food for students without kitchens, and my argument is that the access to food is always available, no one is stopping students from paying to get into the dining hall or going and buying a meal plan at the Business office whenever they would like.
I would also like to put plans in place to improve the quality of food in our dining hall. The company that controls the dining halls and any food provided to students has the college in their back pockets, the contract is the cheapest York College could get and the dining hall company also stops the college from bringing other businesses to sell food on campus, which severely limits the college. There were talks to have a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts on campus and it came to a screeching halt due to the contract we signed. This was something I was informed of when I was in the Student Senate my freshman year.
I would like to end the mandatory requirement for student organizations to attend Excel events or Student Senate meetings. Students have the ability to still attend these events if they see it as beneficial and for those that do not find it beneficial, I don’t believe that it is right to make them take time out of their day to do something that is not benefiting them. My opponents would say that it is necessary for students to attend to become informed with what is going on around campus but if that is the only means to communicate with the student body than the Student Senate is not properly executing its’ duties.
I would like to expand co-ed housing to all upperclassmen (non-freshman) dorms, having it in Country Club and now Spring Garden but not other places does not make sense to me. I want students to not be discriminated against because of the gender. If a law-abiding female student wants to live in the same apartment as a law-abiding male student then so be it, it is not the concern of the college how we live or who we live with.
I would like to create a cafe on West campus similar to Spart’s Den or Pura Vida. There are plenty of places for the college to grow, especially on West campus. There is even a space on the ground floor of Brockie Commons that was once known as the Brockie Cafe.
It is time for the college to become more aware of the weight that student loan debt puts on the shoulders of the student body. I think it should be the student government’s goal to make sure we are getting the opportunities to save money, keep costs down, and to be as free from regulation as possible.
Why should students back you? Do you think that you can effectively represent every person at the college and equally address their needs and concerns?
Students should back me because it is time for a change to the way student government thinks, it is time for students to gain equal footing and policy changing voice at the college. I will fight to make the students lives on campus better for those currently attending and future students. It will be difficult to address the needs of every student but if I am elected President I will try my very best to help every student in need whether they be a commuter, off-campus resident or on-campus resident, your life on campus is important, if you are unhappy those that lead should do everything in their power to change it.
Is there a, so called, “establishment” at York? Is it fair to call you an establishment candidate? If so, how effective is that establishment? If not, are you running against it?
It is hard to say if an “establishment” exists but I am the only candidate running that is not currently on Student Senate, and when I was I often felt Student Senate was not addressing serious issues. If the establishment exists I would say they do not go far enough for the students, It is time our students fought for what we believe in and through student government we will see change.
Plea for students’ support:
I need your support. When we come together for the changes we want to see, we will achieve them. My opponents and others will tell you what I am proposing is impossible because it has never been talked about before, but I am a true believer in the phrase “If you want to go somewhere you’ve never been, you must do things we have never done.” If the college wants to go from “great to greater” then the students should have the strongest voice in the policies of the college and the direction it should go. Thank you for your time and please vote April 5-8.
Photo credit: Mike Adams.
Note: The Spartan’s Editor-in-Chief Steven Brikowski, who is a candidate for president of Student Senate, did not participate in formulating questions for candidates and did not edit candidate responses.