Record: Why are you running for 3L rep?
Raj Salhotra: I had a great year this year. I got to head up the academic affairs committee, and there I got to organize professor lunches, make some progress with registration, and start to do some work on advising. That’s what inspired me to run again, to see if we can keep moving the ball on that. Also, five of the students that I used to teach [as a high school teacher] came in to sit in on classes. They loved it, and it reminded me that we gotta do more for low-income and first-generation students on campus. Supero’s taken a great lead on that, and I want to be a part of that.
Record: Anything else you want to do in the next year?
RS: I’ve focused on academic affairs because it’s one of the things I feel like I have a comparative advantage on as a former teacher. But one of the other things I hope we’ll do is making sure that we’ll support public service. That’s one of the areas where I want to be involved, even if I’m not carrying the torch.
For example, the community center I’m working at this summer isn’t recruiting up here at Harvard. Maybe it’s too expensive or maybe they don’t know the process. Students work at many nonprofits, and it would be an easy thing for us to build a catalog and invite them to recruit up here. There are probably a lot of Harvard students who want to work at places like that and don’t know about them. If we can reduce search costs, I think that’s a win.
Record: What’s beyond your or Student Government’s control that you’d want to change about HLS?
RS: This is a selfish concern, I think we should have more classes, more guidance to students who are interested in going into politics. There’s been an upswell of interest, especially after the election. Adrian [Perkins] has really led this, but there’s going to be a point where Student Government can’t do it [on their own].
I wish we could also provide more funding for [Student Practice Organizations]. To take an example from the Tenant Advocacy Project, we have two attorneys who supervise us and who help us serve tenants, but we could help more people if we had a third attorney supervisor or if we could pay our current supervisors more [so they could put in more time].
Record: Anything else?
RS: I’m excited for this year. We know that this is a high stress environment. To the extent that we can make people more comfortable and more supported, that’s worth being on student government.
Record: Why are you running for 3L rep?
Cameron Pritchett: Student Government is something I’ve always been passionate about. It gives you the opportunity to work to enhance the student experience. I think there’s a lot of work left to be done, but I’ve been happy with the direction things are going. I see next year being even more productive than the last two.
Record: What are some of the things you want to get done next year?
CP: My view of Student Government is it should be driven by what students needs are. I want to make sure the next Student Government is responsive to what students are asking for. For instance, printing is something that students expressed in surveys that needed to be corrected. So Student Government made that a priority and [changed the printing system].
At the same time, there are some things that have implications beyond a given year.For example, we don’t do a great enough job in the legal profession and particularly here at Harvard Law School of encouraging students to speak openly about the difficulties they may be facing. While Harvard Law School and Harvard University have increased mental health resources, still some students are reluctant to take advantage of them.
Record: Why do you think students are reluctant to take advantage of those resources?
CP: I think there’s still a stigma associated with saying, “I’m having difficulty.” It should be an atmosphere and an environment where a person can say, “I’m struggling,” or “I’ve found it difficult to adjust.”
Record: What can Student Government do to change that?
CP: One of the most important things that Student Government does is programming. In the area of mental health, a lot of what we do is events. I’m on the health and wellness committee and we’ve put on events to highlight mental health and awareness.
Record: Anything else you want to do for students for the upcoming year?
CP: Student Government has taken seriously our responsibility to be a leader when it comes to Title IX and sexual assault issues. There’s more we can offer students or even require of students in this area. We want to work with Dean Sells to improve and reformat training during orientation. And I’m working with the health and wellness committee on a resolution that would require each student organization to send a member to attending a training on bystander intervention and sexual assault prevention, and we hope that this will foster more conversation on the topic. Rather than just relying on orientation, we think this will broaden the conversation on sexual assault prevention and invite more critical thinking about how we can continue to make progress within the legal community and the Harvard Law community.
2017 Student Government Candidate interviews