With the elections for SGA president approaching, the Campus met last Sunday with this year’s trio of candidates, Rachel Liddell ’15, Killian Naylor ’14 and Nathan LaBarba ’14. More so than perhaps any year in recent memory, all three are superbly qualified and, unsurprisingly, all of the candidates shared an impressive agenda for the upcoming year. Each has served as a member of the SGA Senate, and this is LaBarba’s second time running for the office. Despite the qualifications of all parties, one candidate stood out above the rest in her preparedness and passion. For that reason the Campus has chosen to endorse Liddell as the next SGA president.
One of Liddell’s distinguishing traits is her relative youth as a rising junior. Rather than a liability, we see this as an asset. Many presidents of social houses and other campus organizations are often members of the junior class, as they continue to hold a stake in the future of the organization following the end of their term of office. In addition, any of the recent SGA presidents will attest that the job is very demanding and clashes with the many pressures students face in their final year at the College. However, should Liddell win the election, we urge her to hedge this relative inexperience by drawing on some of the best suggestions presented by the other candidates. LaBarba stressed the importance of a smooth transition so that the next president might fully take advantage of his or her short term in office. Naylor hopes to draw on the experience of a broad range of students by appointing a diverse cabinet. Liddell could also take this approach, bucking the longstanding trend of bringing on only close friends, while simultaneously sidestepping the difficulties her youth might present in connecting with the whole of the student body and administration. Any of the candidates would bring unique attributes to the job and we firmly believe the eventual winner should encourage his or her opponents to serve in the new cabinet.
Liddell has accomplished a lot in her short time at Middlebury. As Cook Commons senator, she’s gained insight into the workings of the SGA. As a host of the Moth, she understands the type of showmanship necessary in one of the most visible student leadership positions on campus. As a tour guide director, she understands the complex task of running a system composed of many working parts. As a member of the College’s budgetary advisory committee, she has an understanding of the expenditures at play and the relative leverage of the SGA. She bills herself first of all as a listener and a leader. We agree.
Year after year it seems as though campaign platforms feature the same types of issues. Candidates promise better printers, better food and better parties, and inevitably find they are unable to accomplish these lofty changes. Liddell’s platform features some fresh new goals. She stressed the importance of securing credit for summer internships — an issue that an older candidate might neglect — as well as working with existing student groups to increase the amount of local food in the dining halls. She also aims to revitalize 51 Main, overhaul the distribution requirements system and provide more equitable access to the athletic trainers here on campus.
Although it was neither a component of our discussion nor a factor in our decision, more than a decade has passed since a female student last held this office. Liddell would bring a fresh perspective and approachable personality to the face of the student body. For these aforementioned reasons, the Campus editorial board endorses Liddell as the best candidate to fill the SGA presidency.