Devon Nielsen & Ariel Mota Alves

Explain why you are interested in this position:
We both love St. Olaf and the experience it has given to us both. Further, we believe that it is important to be critical of the things that we love. From a lens of bettering this community, we question whose voices are being heard, what’s working and what’s not working. After numerous meetings with student leaders, members of the St. Olaf faculty, and various campus organizations, we believe that we have formulated a platform offering substantive, concrete paths towards a more accepting and open campus for all students. In short, we want to run because we believe are real people, who are here to impact real change.

What qualifications do you bring to this position?
We have established ourselves as leaders on and off campus. Through tag teaming the role of JC’s in Ellingson, volunteering in the local community, and participating in the Political Awareness Committee on campus, we consistently seek to better the lives of those around us. Devon, running for president, spent fall semester interning for the NAACP. Gaining first hand experience in organization and teamwork, he has seen and learned first hand the ways in which institutions systematize racism, and the ways in which one can impact real change in improving it. In addition to his work at the NAACP, Devon has worked on political campaigns, volunteers with TRiO, and is a memorable face at the cafeteria. Ariel, running for vice president, co-founded the first Model United Nations conference in his country, East Timor. He is also actively involved with Timorese youth organizations that promote social activism, environmental protection, and conflict resolution among youth. Ariel is also an active member of Grupu Feminista in his country, the first feminist group in East Timor. Overall, we feel we have the skills, motivations and the drive to make the most substantive change possible in our year as president and vice president.