Record: Why are you running for Director of Student Organizations?
Princess Daisy Akita: In my past year working with SG and working as a member of different organizations, I am honestly honored and inspired by how much time and energy people put into student orgs here at HLS in the context of a very demanding academic curriculum, and so my motivation is to help support that work and to empower student leaders, and make them able to give more and do even more for their organizations.
R: What are your goals for the coming year?
PDA: The first one is to make sure that the current set of student orgs we have is actually catering to the needs of students, and the way I envision doing that is to set up a reorganization process that is open to new ideas and fresh infusion of energy from 1Ls that come in next year and 2Ls who have seen a gap in what the current student orgs can provide. The second part is to make sure that we encourage collaboration. When we are trying to organize these schoolwide activities, we want to make sure that there is such a participation from the student body, and the way to do that is to use the already established channels of student organizations, so, hitting up WLA, BLSA, Supero, La Alianza, and SALSA, reach out to their members and make sure their members can join.
R: Is there anything that you would like to do that you would say is beyond the control of student government?
PDA: This is a concern that’s been expressed by public interest focused students, that such great amounts of funding come from private interest firms. Private firms are funding a lot of the work that the student body is exposed to, so that’s a concern I share. I think that if we’re really focused on creating more holistic opportunities for students while they’re here and after they leave, we should probably think about how we structurally establish sources, because what happens is that you get money from a firm and you have to do something for the firm in return. And you have some orgs that will not get funding at all from these firms; the firms are not about to sponsor a union-focused student group. It then falls on student government and DOS to make sure that such student groups thrive.
R: As somebody who would be leading student organizations, are there any student organizations that you foresee yourself having a very strong commitment to next year?
PDA: I hope to be doing some work with the Black Law Students Association and Defenders. These are two groups that have become really close to my heart this past year, and I hope to work and support their vision next year.
R: What do you think distinguishes you as a candidate?
PDA: I really would value people’s support in this role. I would value people’s support because I think there’s so much that we can do when we’re able to collaborate and work together to create the kind of HLS community we want. I think actually the freedom seder really inspired me personally, because you had all these groups coming together. It was such a beautiful space. It’s probably the most beautiful space I’ve ever been in at HLS. It’s all these student groups presenting something to the Seder table, discussing what the significance of the thing they are presenting is, and it’s just a very intentional community where people come together and they partake in this beautiful ritual. I was very touched by it, and I think that really highlights what we can do when we come together. That is my vision for student organizations: create a collaboration that works well for everyone, because then you have more people participating in your space and your events, and there’s more for everyone.
R: Do you think there should be a student organization for people who really like dogs?
PDA: Absolutely! This is something we need to talk about. In college, it was amazing. We had a little place with a ton of dogs in front of the science center, and people could just come and play with the dogs, and feel better about their lives when it was really stressful, and I think that we should totally have that, just a “dog day.”