Newly-elected Student Body President Jacob Walden talks about his plans to address issues within CCSGA, Colorado College, and Colorado Springs

Where are you from and what year are you?

I am a junior, and I am from Larkspur, Colo.

What do you study?

I study political science, and I will hopefully have a minor in philosophy. It’s a tough decision between the two. I couldn’t fit a double major in, but I wish I could.

Why did you choose to run for CCSGA president?

I had prior experience in CCSGA as the Internal Affairs Vice President. I chose to run because I think CCSGA has deviated to more of a funding organization, concerned with money and the allocation of money as a tool and an end goal and as a means to achieve a higher set of end values. I think that CCSGA needs to shift back to activism, to passing legislation, advocating for what students want to see with the administration, with the city, with their state, and with their country, and using money as a means to achieve that, rather than just an end goal.

What are your goals for CCSGA?

I have seven of them. There are three for CCSGA and four for the rest of the college.

The first CCSGA goal is to remove the discretionary funding for CCSGA representatives, because right now they are paid almost 30,000 dollars a year. The second is making legislation and passing bills and resolutions an active part of what CCSGA does. The third is the idea of educating leaders, compassionate leaders. Public service is something you make a sacrifice for that everyone should endeavor to do, to be active in civic life. CCSGA should cultivate that idea.

The four other goals are for this college and the community. First, I would like to increase socioeconomic diversity at CC. Second, I would like all of CC staff to have a living wage. If we want to educate future leaders and reduce inequality and the threat it poses, then we should start with what our own employees are facing. The third is the goal of sexual assault support and making sure that student groups and student organizations have the support they need from the administration. It’s a national conversation that we are having and we need to make it a campus wide one. The fourth goal is city-wide: the idea of improving street crossings on Cascade and Nevada.

How will you go about achieving these goals?

The one thing I always hear is, “Okay, so you have these seven goals. Now do them.” That’s why I divided them in two sets.

There are some that can be achieve by CCSGA within CCSGA, which are the first three, and those can be done by me and by my support in the student government or with student leaders and initiatives. The other four are more difficult because you have to work with the administration, the Board of Trustees, and in some cases even the city. This will come down to making sure the people I am working with are the ones going to city council meetings and making sure that the city and the administration know that there are certain things students want to have happen at this school. I can be honest, I cannot guarantee that these goals will happen, but I will try damn hard. I can say if it results in me standing outside, campaigning for an all campus referendum, I will do that. I ran on it, I will try to achieve it.

How are you going to make CCSGA more transparent?

I wouldn’t say I campaign on transparency, necessarily. I would watch out with saying transparency without thinking about what it really means. CCSGA publishes a lot of stuff. Right now almost every funding thing they have done this year is online. It’s not just the transparency aspect, but it is also making sure that the decisions that are being made are in alignment with the constitution that the student government has and that we are living up to the ideals that we set out in student government, like making sure money actually goes to student groups, making sure the money is well managed, and making sure we are passing legislation.

When I started running, not a single bill or resolution had been passed by CCSGA this year. How can we say we are paying student leaders to do this sort of work and this sort of advocacy when there are so many other student leaders on campus who don’t get paid, who don’t get any recognition or monetary supplement, and who do a lot work, I think, even much more successfully than we do? I think being transparent means living up to the ideals. We are the spokesmen for the students so we should be at the forefront of student advocacy.

IMG_0486What are some of your hobbies or passions?

I really like to play piano. It’s a good de-stresser for me. I love being outdoors, which is one of the reasons I chose CC. I love to ski, be outside, camp, hike, scuba dive. I am trying to get a pilot’s license, too. I also just really enjoy reading and hanging out with my friends and relaxing.

What are your plans for the summer?

I am going to work on my thesis, but I also have a job here as an Admissions Fellow.

Why did you choose to come to CC?

I really like the Block Plan. I thought the connection between professors and students was really unique. It’s a typical liberal arts experience in some ways but in other ways I really appreciate the casual atmosphere and the activist student body. It has a unique culture that I think few liberal arts schools have.

What has been your favorite block break?

For spring break, I did a giant loop around Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. It was really fun. We visited national parks, went hiking, and went to the Grand Canyon.  My ideal Block Break would be something crazy like getting on a plane and flying as far as possible, to the Great Barrier Reef or something. Completely unrealistic.

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