Section: News

Kim and Sun square off in Student Council President race

On Monday, the Student Life Committee announced the Student Council candidates for the 2024-25 academic year. Across nine positions, 14 total candidates are running, with only three contested positions: Senior Class President, Vice President of Safety and Wellness and Student Council President. This year, two students are running for Student Council President: incumbent Marissa Sun ’25, and current First-Year Class President Erik Kim ’27. 

Sun, who currently serves as Student Council President, will focus her campaign on ongoing initiatives that she hopes to address over a second year as president. In particular, Sun cited free laundry, renovations to campus buildings and transportation to Columbus as primary concerns her campaign will address. 

“I started significant conversations about various needs on campus such as laundry, social spaces and transportation,” Sun wrote in an email to the Collegian. “These issues I will continue to address if I am elected again. I also know these changes will be extremely beneficial to future classes, and I will continue to center issues of inequity in my work.” 

Along with Student Council President, Sun has also served in various leadership positions across student organizations, such as Environmental Campus Organization, Kenyon Asian Identities and POCapella. Sun said that her past mentorship with former president Ubongabasi Asuquo ’23 has helped Sun to increase communication between members of Student Council and College administrators: “As a leader who listens first and asks questions before rushing into projects, I’ve learned so much about how to enact change and have created great relationships with Senior Staff and school administrators.”

Sun highlighted the introduction of a Student Council budget, adjustments to mailroom hours and parking restrictions, Student Council Sundays and direct conversations with Senior Staff as examples of the changes she has implemented throughout her time as Student Council President. “While sitting on multiple committees, leading weekly meetings and working with other committees and student groups takes a lot of organizing and dedication, knowing that the work I have been doing has created tangible change this year makes this worth it,” she said.  

Sun also acknowledged that the position — and potential change — is dependent on the student body and what they hope will happen throughout their time at Kenyon. “I know that this role is front-facing and requires continued humility, patience and dedication,” she said. “The change and work I have done thus far are evidence of my commitment to refining the student experience. I hope that the Kenyon community would join me again in this journey of improving their Kenyon experience.” 

Like Sun, Kim also has experience with leadership roles on campus, as he currently serves as the First-Year Class President. “This past year has equipped me with a solid understanding of the Council’s workings, the complexities of campus issues and the administrative processes required to navigate them effectively,” Kim wrote in an email to the Collegian. In running for Student Council President, Kim emphasized the importance of transparency and honesty, the two primary values his campaign will focus on.

“I would hate to be another candidate to prematurely give you false hope, then renege on it later down the road,” Kim said. “That’s why instead of offering initiatives or projects, I am promising transparency and honesty. I want to be a liaison between the student body and the decision-making processes that affect us all.” 

In addition to improving communication between the student body and administration, Kim also focused on external renovations to campus, particularly expanding outdoor lighting and renovating the Gunderdome. Over his time collaborating with the First-Year Class Committee (FYCC), Kim emphasized the importance of the Gunderdome to the first-year class, and hopes that future renovations will also benefit future classes at Kenyon. “This initiative is close to my heart because it represents a tangible improvement to our campus that will enhance student life for years to come,” Kim said. 

Kim pointed to his work with the FYCC-produced events like the first-year fling Bond Ball and Bagelpalooza as key points of Council experience. He also aims to improve communication between the student body and Student Council  —  a continued area of improvement his campaign highlights. “Simply put, not a lot of people are aware of what we do, why we do what we do or even who we are,” Kim said. “During my tenure as Student Council president, I plan on working to improve this communication gap and increase transparency between Student Council and the student body.”

Kim directed his final message to the student body: “If you’re looking for a president who values action over words, who prioritizes transparency and honesty over empty promises and who is deeply committed to serving the interests of the entire student population, then I ask for your vote.”

The ballot for 2024-25 Student Council elections has not yet been released. 

Erik Kim ’27 is an associate copy editor for the Collegian, though he did not edit this article.

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