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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Meet the candidates for the 2022 student body presidential and vice presidential elections

Two tickets, Kayla Prowell with Chandler Quaile and Amisha Mittal with Ari Sasson, are seeking election to the positions of student body president and vice president this year.
Candidate+photos
Sally Johnson
Screenshots of photos of Chandler Quaile, Kayla Prowell, Amisha Mittal and Ari Sasson from their campaign Instagram accounts, as taken on March 16, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Sally Johnson)

As of March 14, campaigning for the 2022 Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) student body presidential and vice presidential election is underway. Junior Amisha Mittal is running to serve as president with sophomore Ari Sasson as vice president. On the second ticket, junior Kayla Prowell is the presidential candidate with sophomore Chandler Quaile as vice president.

The candidates will participate in a general caucus hosted by the Multicultural Leadership Council (MLC) on March 17 at 6 p.m. CDT as well as a town hall debate moderated by The Hustler on March 19 at 11 a.m. CDT. Voting, taking place on AnchorLink, will begin on March 21 at 8 a.m. CDT and end on March 24 at 12 p.m. CDT. The ticket that garners the most votes will become student body president and vice president for the 2022-23 school year. The tickets are described below in alphabetical order.

Mittal, Sasson platform

Mittal, who was a member of VSG’s Student Health and Wellness Committee during her first year and Student Health and Wellness Chair and Executive Assistant during her sophomore year, is running for student body with Sasson, who currently serves as second-year senator, as her running mate.

Mittal and Sasson said that the slogan for their platform is R.I.S.E. Up Together, with R.I.S.E. standing for responsibility, inclusivity, safety and equity. 

“Our whole college experience has been governed by COVID-19, and so we really want to rise up and come out of that, as well as come together as one Vanderbilt,” Mittal said. 

Both candidates labeled themselves as “listeners” and explained how listening to different campus voices informed the creation of their platform. They said they had the opportunity to hear these different voices when gathering signatures during the petition process and by emailing or talking to different campus organizations. 

“I felt like I didn’t want to project any of my personal views on the platform; we both just wanted to see what everyone else wanted,” Sasson said. “We reached out to many student organizations—executive boards, presidents and even just regular members—asking, ‘What do you guys want to see on campus?’ It’s basically a platform from the people and for the people.”

From there, the pair said they narrowed down everyone’s suggestions into common points and contacted various Vanderbilt administrative offices to ensure their platform promises would be feasible. 

If elected president, Mittal said that, within the category of responsibility, she would most like to see the university divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy. She said she has worked with administration through VSG in the past on the issue of divestment, but one of their main claims was that there are no alternatives for investment. Mittal cited DivestVU and Dores Divest as on-campus organizations with alternatives.

“If Vanderbilt claims to support being a green campus and reducing our carbon footprint, then I feel like divesting from fossil fuels is the number one way to do that. That’s something I am really, really passionate about doing,” Mittal said.

To increase equity, Sasson said he is most passionate about increasing financial inclusivity, particularly to allow students to explore the greater Nashville area.

“The slogan of Vanderbilt Athletics is ‘The degree. The city. The SEC.’ As a student on financial aid, I think the city is still elusive for people with financial constraints,” Sasson said. “That’s something that I’m personally passionate about and something we’re hoping to accomplish through two of our platform points: bringing back Zipcar car rental and expanding VandyRide routes to off-campus locations, including downtown Nashville.”

Mittal said she wants to be student body president because VSG is her passion and she wants to leave a lasting impact on campus.

“I believe that whatever community you’re a part of, you should make a difference in that community. So that’s where I was thinking, where can I make the biggest impact?” Mittal said. “VSG was a really, really empowering experience for me during my first year here, so I want to do the same for younger people on campus and make sure that everyone feels included, even if that’s just sharing the things they want to see on campus or getting involved in VSG themselves.”

Mittal also acknowledged the events of last year’s election when she ran for vice president alongside presidential candidate and now-senior Jordan Gould. She noted that, though she was not directly involved in any of the controversy, she recognizes her responsibility and has worked to mend relationships with those affected. She emphasized that, in running alongside Sasson, she hopes to move forward from this experience.

“We [Mittal and Sasson] have a different belief. We have our own values, and we really stand by those,” Mittal said. “We want this year to be governed by our values, not things of the past.”

Sasson said he wants to be student body vice president to effect change on campus, an opportunity he said he did not get through the Senate, which he called effective for discussion but not action.

“I’m seeking the vice presidential role to allow people to make the change they want to see on campus,” Sasson said. “As a listener, as someone whose perspective is always willing to be flexible with new information, I think that fits very well with my leadership style, where I won’t lead with an iron first but rather with ‘how can I help this committee achieve their full potential?’ at the front of my mind.”

Sasson added that he believes what distinguishes the Mittal-Sasson ticket from the Prowell-Quaile ticket is their openness towards all campus voices. 

“I think the thing that differentiates our ticket the most is our willingness to listen to everybody and willingness to absorb every single opinion on campus,” Sasson said. “Yes, we may not fully agree with all those opinions, but it’s about making sure that every single person feels like their voice can and will be heard.”

Prowell, Quaile platform

Prowell, the current student body vice president, is running to serve as student body president alongside Quaile, the current Vice Chair for VSG’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, as student body vice president.

Prowell said that she and Quaile decided to run together based on shared values and mutual admiration for each other’s work in VSG.

“I was interested in someone that was interested in changing campus in the way that I was interested in changing campus and helping students that don’t normally get a seat at the table, whose voices aren’t normally blasted across the speakers,” Prowell said. “I wanted someone to run with someone who shared similar values and really cared about the students as much as I did.”

Prowell and Quaile are running on a platform consisting of five points: accessibility, equity, safety and wellness, academics and sustainability. Their slogan is “Keep Moving Forward!”.

To improve accessibility, Prowell and Quaile stated that, if elected, they plan to encourage professors to include closed captioning in video lectures, to advocate for increased dining options for students with dietary restrictions and to offer food and mobility assistance during winter months for students in need.

“It’s really hard to get to and from the dining halls, especially for disabled students,” Prowell said. “We really want to bring that to light and make sure that the university nips that in the bud before the next winter season happens.”

They stated that, within the category of equity, they plan to expand the Adriel Bineza Graduate and Professional School Application Assistance (GAP) Fund, which provides students with funding for graduate school application fees and test preparation materials.

“This year, we were able to donate $34,000 total. But so many students apply, and we give everyone money, so when that money gets split up and allocated amongst that many people, sometimes individual prices get a little low,” Prowell said. “We really want to make sure that we’re putting in as much funding and getting as much expansion for that program.”

Additionally, if elected, Prowell and Quaile said they will advocate for the addition of a Career Coach for international students and the creation of Asian American and Indigenous Studies minors. They also intend to encourage the university to allow undergraduate students to take graduate-level courses.

“I think so many undergraduates would love to pursue graduate school in some capacity, but they’re not quite sure what graduate school looks like, if they can handle the workload or really what they need in terms of experience,” Quaile said.

Within the category of sustainability, Prowell and Quaile plan to expand the VSG thrift store and encourage fossil fuel divestment.

“We’re looking at divesting from fossil fuels and shifting that argument from one that’s moral, which is of course important, to one that’s economic,” Quaile said. “Never before have oil futures looked so precarious for this university.”

Quaile stated that his experience working in Stacey Abrams’s campaign for governor has informed his and Prowell’s campaign strategies. They added that, in order to fulfill their sustainability goals, their campaign is 100% carbon neutral, achieved through initiatives like distributing biodegradable stickers and purchasing carbon offsets.

“We want to give back before we’re even in these positions,” Prowell said. “We want to be doing what we can for students before we’re even there because that’s what we do as leaders.”

To improve student safety, the pair said they plan to encourage businesses on Broadway Avenue to offer “angel shots” —a drink order that allows individuals in uncomfortable situations to request help from staff—used to request and to advocate for the addition of a 24-hour route VandyRide black route around campus.

Prowell stated that their time as student body vice president has prepared them to take on the position of student body president and given her a “drive to continue.”

“I know exactly what route to take and who to talk to,” Prowell said.

Prowell added that, if elected, she and Quaile hope to help students that she was not able to as vice president.

“This campaign is about all the students that needed more support, all the students that I feel like I didn’t get to serve all the way in this administration,” Prowell said. “It’s about all the voices that I didn’t get to hear this time and finishing off strong.”

Prowell and Quaile emphasized that, if elected, they intend to pursue initiatives that will rapidly and tangibly benefit students. 

“We want to promise stuff that we can give you next year, so you can experience and feel those things in your time here,” Prowell said.

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About the Contributors
Brina Ratangee, News Editor
Brina Ratangee ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science planning to major in medicine, health & society and neuroscience. When not writing for The Hustler, she enjoys solving trivia/crosswords, playing the violin and spending time with friends. You can reach her at [email protected].
Sally Johnson, Former Staff Writer
Sally Johnson ('22) is from Franklin, Tennessee, and is majoring in political science and English with a minor in Spanish in the College of Arts and Science. She can be reached at [email protected].
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Vandy 23
1 year ago

Go Amisha and Ari, as well as Kayla and Chandler! Vote for unity on this campus.