After the elections, many students want to know more about their elected leader than where he stands on campus issues. SA President-elect Kris Hart met with The Hatchet on Saturday to discuss his plans for his term as president.
Hatchet: So, who is Kris Hart?
Kris Hart: I’m just a normal guy. I grew up in Philadelphia in a family of six. I think I’m pretty down-to-earth. I believe in working hard when you have to and relaxing when you had chance.
I first got into the SA last year as a freshman on the “Working for Us” slate, and this year I’ve been chairman of the Student Life Committee, which for me is the most important. I know people will say that Academic Affairs is the most important (committee), but my heart is in student life.
I was also elected president of my fraternity (Phi Sigma Kappa) during my freshman year. When I entered office, we had an $18,000 deficit. Now we have a $7,000 surplus. We also have a new roof (on the house), and an expanding alumni program.
H: How did you decide to run for the presidency of the SA?
KH: My heart is in the SA, and especially with student life, but a few months ago I was beginning to feel dissatisfied. I wasn’t even sure if I’d run for re-election (as senator). Then, two months ago, about 20 people approached me in the course of a week and told me I should run for president. I didn’t take it seriously at the time, but one night in December I was sitting with my friends and some of my brothers (in Phi Sigma Kappa) and we started talking about it. They kept asking why I shouldn’t run, and I couldn’t answer. I decided to run on that night.
H: What are your three main priorities for the SA?
KH: First, I want to make students proud of the SA. That will get results. If we do that, then everyone will be happy (with the SA). One of the things we’ve got to do to accomplish that is work with the administration smoothly. We’ve got to recognize it’s a college government. We are not (all-powerful), but there are great things we can do if we get beyond the pettiness.
I want to increase the fundraising ability of the SA. We need to work on the D.C. entertainment guide (a book that would contain coupons for local restaurants and businesses and be sold to students to raise SA funds). I started this (Saturday) afternoon. I want to be mailing the letters (to businesses) Monday. We need to be ready for CI.
I want a 24-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week dining facility on this campus. We’re talking to local businesses as well as (University officials).
H: What problems do you think you’ll face?
KH: Apathy. It’s going to be tough to reach out to 20,000 students. But the SA is not a joke. It’s the only means of advocating a lot of important student issues. I’m already good friends with (a lot of recently-elected SA senators) and I think we’ll be able to reach out to students and present a unified front. We’ve got to make students proud.
H: You’re now a sophomore. Do you think your age could be a problem with students or administrators?
KH: It actually goes for me. I’ve already gotten a bunch of calls from administrators who want to meet. We want to work with (Executive Vice President) Eric Daleo and the Senate to reach out and get things done.
H: What are your priorities for transition?
KH: We want the best cabinet we can get. We have no restrictions, no bar, because I made no promises going into this. We’re opening the application process to all students. We’ll also be making some changes. Applications will have a slightly different structure for each position. (Applying for vice president will be) kind of like an audition. We’ll have it all finalized by the end of next week.
H: Would you consider including former candidates in your cabinet?
KH: I am going to consider it. Many were vary qualified. Steve (Sobel, former SA presidential candidate) is a great guy, and I will talk to him.
H: How will your administration be different from Phil Robinson’s?
KH: First, Phil is a great guy and has done a good job as president. I think our administration will be more efficient. You’ve got to delegate a lot and then keep checking on that delegation. All the branches of the SA need to present a unified front. They need to meet regularly with one another. We must take our information to the students. We need to interact.
H: Moving on to some specific issues, what is your opinion of the court’s ruling on housing?
KH: I disagree (with the court’s ruling). Students are citizens of D.C. and should be able to live wherever they want. I spoke with (Residence Hall Association President) Emily Naden and (RHA executive board member) Ariel Gold recently, and they are going to continue to brief me. The SA must work with the RHA on this issue, just as it must work with the Program Board and other student organizations on other issues. I wouldn’t rule out (the SA) filing an amicus brief on behalf of the University (in the upcoming appeal).
H: What about the proposed trimester system? What is your opinion of it?
KH: I want to gauge student opinion more before I reach any conclusions. Right now, I don’t think there’s enough student input. This thing may affect this year’s freshman class in a couple of years, and a lot of students still know nothing about it. The students already on the committee (Amanda Mintzer) and Phil (Robinson) are both doing a good job, but we need more students to be involved. That’s what this is about.