SBVPO Candidate Profile: Daphne Han

If Daphne Han’s campaign for Student Body Vice President for Organizations (SBVPO) leaves any message behind, it’s that she is planning to SPICE things up. A Texan first-year studying computational biology, Han has spent the past semester and a half working towards the role of SBVPO as part of the Committee on Student Organizations (CoSO). She is currently the Director of New Recognition on CoSO, recognizing new clubs as official student organizations.

Like the Student Body Vice President of Finance, the SBVPO serves as a leader in a more specific area of student life than the Student Body Vice President. As SBVPO, Han would head two committees: CoSO and the University Center Allocations Board, which allocates on-campus space to recognized organizations. CoSO recognizes and re-recognizes the hundreds of student organizations on campus.

In addition to CoSO, Han is involved with Scotty Labs and Alpha Epsilon Delta, the pre-health fraternity. Her work with CoSO illuminated many issues that her campaign seeks to address. In an interview with The Tartan, Han described her journey with CoSO thus far: “We reviewed quite a few applications this year and we got to talk and meet with a bunch of students that are trying to get their organizations recognized. During those meetings ... there were some issues that I picked up on, especially with grad students. They expressed that they felt a little bit disconnected from the rest of campus. I don't think there is a very good social platform to communicate any student organization events to everyone, it's very scattered ... and very catered towards undergraduate students.”

This, together with some of the internal processing issues Han experienced in her time with CoSO, inspired her path forward: SPICE, a comprehensive acronym that outlines Han's campaign.

The S stands for “support.” She says, “I want to work with the JFC, Senate, and Graduate Student Assembly on curating a comprehensive guide for student organizations on applying for funding, space allocation, and any tips that we have on communication.” Han wants to support organizations not only during the recognition process, but after as well. She adds, “I think we could do a lot more to continue supporting organizations after recognition. I want to provide the option to schedule one on one meetings to discuss any concerns with student organizations," and hopes to create "a committee of experienced student organization leaders ... [to] support some newer student organizations or students that are just experiencing stepping up to leadership roles for the first time.” Han has outlined a three-part plan to better support organizations.

Next is P, which stands for “promoting transparency.” On this topic, Han comments, “I think [club] recognition could be a lot clearer. I want to clearly outline the steps of recognition and re-recognition on our website as well as provide a guide that student organizations can refer to when applying. There's a pretty tight deadline for funding, I just want to make sure the process is a lot smoother for them so they are not being held back from applying.”

I stands for “inclusivity and diversity” because, Han explains, involving more people with the committee would make it more representative of the student body at Carnegie Mellon.

The C stands for “communication.” Han seeks to target divides she has noticed across organizations. She outlines her plan in detail: “I want to work with the undergraduate senators as well as the representatives from the grad student assembly on curating a list of club events, information, and meetings that will be sent out through departmental mailing lists on a weekly or biweekly basis to all students. ... The Bridge is a little hard to use and coming up with an alternative solution would be a lot easier.” To address ineffectiveness with The Bridge from an organization’s perspective, Han proposes a video guide to introduce students and new organizations to Bridge navigation.

The final letter, E, stands for “efficiency.” Acknowledging the importance of the recognition process, Han plans to increase speed. "When I first joined," she says, "I had to figure out a lot of stuff on my own.” Providing a short training session at the beginning of the academic year would ensure a smooth approval process — all members would follow the same, clearly outlined procedures with confidence, Han explains.

Han qualifies her candidacy with her CoSO experience — she knows the ropes. “Having met and worked with many different classifications of student organizations … that gives me a solid foundation on knowing what's feasible and what's not,” she says.

During a debate with the two opposing candidates for SBVPO this past Friday, Han emphasized her SPICE strategy and outreach as a way to fix internal issues and widespread disconnects. She has been tabling on the Cut, looking to meet people and answer questions about her campaign. She told The Tartan, “I like to reach out to people a lot and get to meet people. I think a crucial aspect of this role is being able to reach out to people, finding time in [my] schedule to set up meetings with people just to chat and work through any concerns they may have. I am always willing, regardless of how busy I am, to set up meetings with people. Since you're working with organizations directly you need to be able to find time to communicate and lend a helping hand.”

Ultimately, Han’s platform addresses issues within student government and student organizations to improve students' experiences with extracurriculars. She notes, “When you come to college or university, you have academics, but that's only one part of the experience. I think a large portion of the college life experience is centered around … the memories that you make and the experiences that you gain by being part of these student organizations. I think being able to support our student organizations is incredibly important as well as being able to sustain them for a long time. I am very passionate about this because it makes me very happy to see people pursuing their passions outside the classroom.”

If you want to learn more about Han’s campaign, she is planning to continue to conduct a variety of tabling and giveaway sessions, which promise snacks and discussion about the state of student organizations on campus. You can find her campaign information and updates on her Instagram, @daphnehan4sbvpo.