Dear Friends of SIG,
It is an honor and a privilege to accept the position of chair of Stanford in Government for the 2018-19 year. SIG has been a formative part of my Stanford experience, from being a SIG Fellow at the California Department of Education after my freshman year, to leading our Get Out the Vote campaign during the 2016 presidential election, to co-directing General Events this year. In SIG I have found inspiring and compassionate mentors like Chairs Libby Scholz and Alexis Kallen, as well as some of my closest friends on campus. As chair, I cannot wait to continue to improve the community we offers our members, as well as the engagement opportunities we provide for the Stanford campus at large.
There is so much I am looking forward to seeing this upcoming year in SIG. First and foremost, I am excited for SIG to increase its efforts to increase midterm election student turnout, which was less than 20% in the most recent 2014 election. This effort will be supported by the new Voter Engagement committee and its director, but will most importantly be an all-SIG effort in collaboration with both the Haas Center and the University. I believe working to increase voter turnout is one of the most impactful ways that we can cultivate a lasting culture of civic participation among Stanford students, and our leadership team is without doubt up for the challenge.
Second, I am excited to lead SIG in developing creative ways to engage with activism and civil discourse in our programming. There is more energy than ever on campus about the power of activism, and we have a significant role to play in drawing the connections between activism, changemaking, and policy, as we will be doing in our upcoming event with Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, and Carmen Perez, co-chair of the women’s march. In a time as politically polarized as 2018, I hope for SIG to also continue to grow as the leading facilitator of civil discourse on campus, especially through innovative initiatives such as Public Policy Forum’s student debates and “policy hackathon” events.
Lastly, I hope for SIG to continue to expand and strengthen its Fellowship and Stipends offerings. We are already working to bring in several new tech policy fellowships in partnership with CS+Social Good, and we have strengthened our partnerships with organizations such as SIEPR to increase our fellowships offerings. My SIG fellowship was an extremely important and illuminating part of my Stanford experience, and it is a priority for me to allow as many students as possible access to these transformative public service opportunities.
SIG wouldn’t be where it is without the support and feedback of our alumni and friends. If you would like to share your ideas, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Olivia Martin ‘19