Tuesday, April 23, 2013

0 Through Thibodeau, the Tufts that We Deserve -- for All Students

Through Thibodeau, the Tufts that We Deserve -- for All Students
by: Jon Bird, Co-Chair of Programming Board

The very first time I heard Joe Thibodeau’s name was months before I matriculated on the Tufts’ academic quad. In May 2010, I was an excited high school senior who was eager, yet nervous, to graduate. I clearly remember having a conversation with my friend, Valerie Grim, who had just attended her boyfriend’s graduation. She told me that she had met another senior who would also be going to Tufts. As the class-elected speaker, Joe Thibodeau gave a rousing speech at his graduation, and afterwards Valerie told me that Thibodeau was an “awesome kid. He will be President one day.”

When I came to Tufts and met Joe Thibodeau at our work-study job in Ginn Library, I instantly knew what Valerie was talking about. Simply seeing Joe interact with other Jumbos in the library, seeing how he greeted everyone with a genuine smile and was always willing to help with research, made me see that Joe truly is someone special. He is a charismatic, kindhearted friend and co-worker, a natural leader, and an inspiration to his peers.

And now here we are. Today, Joseph Thibodeau, along with fellow candidates Joseph Donenfeld and Christie Maciejewski, are seeking your vote for TCU Senate President. It is with the utmost degree of confidence that I endorse Joe Thibodeau as the next TCU Senate President.

A common and valid criticism of Senate is that it is a representative body that does not represent Tufts students effectively.  With Thibodeau, this grievance would be addressed.  Thibodeau’s involvement with a variety of organizations – from FOCUS, to TDC, to his work-study job at Ginn, to WMFO, and in theater at Tufts – indicates a strong capacity to engage students from a variety of backgrounds and to keep the concerns of Tufts at large in his mind.  In conversations with members of Greek Life, the Group of Six, the SMFA, and the Engineering School, Thibodeau has consistently stressed the importance of finding points of common interest and then had the fortitude to see through projects that enhance collaboration among the groups.  In the impressive five semester that Thibodeau has spent on Senate, he has made certain that his committee (Culture, Ethnicity, and Community Affairs) addressed all components of its title.  Under Thibodeau, CECA was a committee of responsive action, thoughtful consideration, and sensible and easy access for Tufts students who were far from the “Senate kid” mold.  He has always been diligent to remember the students around him – even those who do not agree with him – and has found ways to facilitate understanding among groups that are often at odds.

As a Co-Chairman of next year’s Programming Board, I am very excited about Thibodeau’s record and his enthusiasm for effective programming at Tufts.  With the coming year, many events that P-Board organizes, like Winter Bash and Fall Ball, will fall under increased scrutiny from administrators.  With Thibodeau as TCU President, I am confident that the Senate and P-Board can host events that will maintain all the excitement and energy of Winter Bash and Fall Ball, while finding solutions to the risks that such large events run.  I truly believe that a vote for Thibodeau is a vote for a better Fall Ball and Winter Bash that will be more thrilling and better organized.  Thibodeau’s track record on collaborations makes it clear to me that he will help us enact a smarter alcohol policy by working with Health Services while still empowering groups to deliver the traditions we love.  These events can and will unite campus and make our favorite activities, new and old, more sustainable and more enjoyable for us and for future Jumbos.

In addition to being an unmatched leader outside of Senate, Thibodeau has a sterling record on the body.  Thibodeau has helped budget and fund groups through the Allocations Board, was the Senate’s first ever Diversity and Community Affairs Officer, and chaired CECA.  Joe has supported initiatives to protect student safety, to increase access to sexual health resources, and the ability for students to get home in time’s of emergency through grants from the Dean’s office.  Thibodeau gets Senate and he gets things done.  In Thibodeau, there is a candidate of conviction, courage, and character.  Thibodeau is a champion of students, all students, to administrators who respect Thibodeau’s sincere commitment to serve and enhance the student experience.  Last year, at a TCU Presidential Debate, Wyatt Cadley identified Thibodeau as one of the most admirable Senators he has ever known despite the fact that Thibodeau was supporting Cadley’s opponent, Logan Cotton.  Thibodeau’s work transcends divisions.

For example, one of his ideas that most appeals to me is his plan to work with Tufts administrators to offer more grants for unpaid internships. This summer, a friend of mine is taking an unpaid internship that requires that the student receive college credit. Not only will he move away from home and pay for housing, he also will pay Tufts $1,200 in order to register for summer classes to receive the credits the internship requires. For many students, this situation is unfeasible. Though Tufts already offers some funding for interns, Thibodeau will increase this funding for summer internships – vital experiences for a difficult jobs market

Another facet of Tufts life that Thibodeau aims to improve is club sports. Club sports face many hurdles, the highest of which tends to be issues with budgeting. Personally, I know a club sports team that has faced several difficulties while trying to schedule games because their budget has been so limited. Athletes of all skill levels should be able to compete and at no point should cost of an activity be the thing to disqualify them – especially considering that Senate rolled-over upwards of $80,000 of student money this past year.

Looking at today’s election, we have three candidates for TCU President, each of whom has served as a senator since freshman year, and each of whom has showed that they are dedicated to serving the student body. However, Thibs gets us.

Thibodeau is the only candidate with the charisma, experience, character, and bona fides to connect distinct communities.  Thibodeau has already and will continue to facilitate important conversations, enfranchise communities we often ignore, and deliver on his promises.  Thibodeau will be a student leader who puts students before the administration.  This is why there is a strong, enthusiastic, and committed group of students who are here campaigning for him even while he is abroad in Spain.  With Joe Thibodeau as TCU President, there will be no limit to the positive change we will see – in small, tangible projects, and greater shifts of climate, culture and community.  I invite you to inform yourself but, before you stop reading, would like to proudly declare that I unequivocally support Joe Thibodeau for TCU President, the one candidate who can deliver the Tufts that we deserve.


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