Fireside Chat with the New SA Co-Presidents

This week we take office as co-presidents of the Student Association. Thank you for choosing us to represent you. We are both honored and humbled.

The beginning.

We have high hopes for the coming year. We love HBS, and we know that you do, too. And yet, we all recognize that there are plenty of ways we can make life better.

With the help of folks in the administration like Barbara Siegfriedt, Kelly Diamond, Ron Peracchio, Don Lippincott, and many others, we’ve hit the ground running. In the past few weeks, we have begun tackling issues related to academics, food, athletics, medical care, security, technology, student clubs, leadership and values initiatives, admissions, careers, and much more. We’ve asked the other co-president candidates to share their creative ideas with us. We have also appointed a Social Committee and explored ways to revise the elections process for this crucial role. We have been amazed at the scope of responsibility that resides in the Senate, and we’re relying on the Senators and the administration for guidance on issues that they’ve seen again and again.

Your turn.

With the time we have before the summer arrives, we have a number of key objectives, one of which we’ll describe here. We’ll be issuing polls (fancy that) in the next few weeks–one for RCs and another for our dearly departing ECs–asking you to identify the most pressing student issues at HBS. Each year, student responses to this poll directly determine the initiatives for the Senate, the administration, and the Executive Committee for the coming year. We urge you to respond to the poll and to take five extra minutes to share your personal thoughts with us. Senator John Bayliss will be leading the charge on this effort.

A thought.

As you’re well aware, HBS is a big institution, and making major changes often requires overcoming a significant amount of inertia. There are rules, regulations, contracts, and traditions–all frequently well-reasoned and well-intentioned–that govern our way of life at HBS. The reality is that change often takes longer than any of us would prefer. For example, feedback from RCs about this semester’s workload will absolutely affect scheduling in the future, perhaps even for next year’s RCs, but clearly after those who provided the feedback could stand to benefit from the changes.

Our promises.

We will be available to you every day. Approach us in the halls. Call us. Email us. We’ll also actively solicit your thoughts. We’ve committed to greeting you in the mornings on the last class day of every week. You’ll find us outside the first-floor doors at Aldrich, handing out complementary copies of the Wall Street Journal, unavailable anywhere else within a three-foot radius.

Please hold us accountable. Ask us what we’re working on. Ask us why nothing has happened on a Senate initiative that personally interests you.

Tell us what you think could work better.

We won’t make excuses. We won’t dance around the truth. We’ll keep you apprised of our progress on the SA website and through the Harbus. We’ll always be respectful of your in-box. Here’s all we ask in exchange: (1) tell us what’s on your mind, both praise and criticism; and (2) be ready to contribute to the change you seek.

Adios, amigos.
We all owe a huge thank-you to the outgoing SA Executive Committee-co-presidents Luis Rodriguez and Sid Yog, CFO Nina Sodhi, and COO Jason Metakis–for an outstanding year of service. With the Senate, the faculty, and the administration, they have made enormous contributions to HBS, changes that have personally affected every single student, often with little fanfare. In addition, they have gone beyond the call of duty in sharing their accumulated wisdom with the new Executive Committee. The inner workings of HBS can be a maze, and they have taken great pains over the past few weeks to patiently sketch us a map.

Luis, Sid, Nina, and Jason, thank you.

We promised you real action and we intend to deliver. Let’s get this party started.