Getting to Know Your Candidates


Candidates: Sarah Steers, Pres. Jon Paz, VP Sevy Swift

Candidates: Sarah Steers, Pres. Jon Paz & VP Sevy Swift

Candidates: Pres. Jean Farmer, VP Ilman Surghani

Candidates: Pres. Jean Farmer & VP Ilman Surghani

What opportunities do you see for improvement in student life here at Mines and what would be your priority action items if elected?

Jon & Sevy: When elected, we plan to tackle some big projects! With close ties to Graduate Student Government (GSG), administration, and staff, we plan to spearhead a communication reform. This means that the main goal will be better communication between administration and faculty, and in turn faculty and students. The goal is for everyone to know what is happening on campus and be able to give input on decisions that affect students directly! Something that has been started already is a conversation with Public Safety. This concerns the lighting on the way to our new stadium, up to Mines Park, and around the library, as well as ensuring the functionality of all blue emergency poles on campus. We also plan to continue working with Sodexo and Mines Dining in order to better accommodate student’s needs and increase flexibility of meal plans. We take all feedback seriously and hope that students understand our goal to keep them in the loop regarding campus changes and have their voices heard!

Jean: Mines is frequently rated among the top engineering schools in the country; scholastically we are extremely accomplished. However, regarding student life I believe that there are many aspects that could see significant improvement. Campus morale, sexism along with education on title XI, respect and awareness of LGBTQ+ (overall tolerance towards all groups on campus), creation of an open dialogue of mental health, as well as more availability and option of buildings on campus stands out as areas that need extreme focus. Of these, my priority action item would be to tackle campus morale. To do this would include working on many of the aspects that I believe need the most improvement. By tackling sexism, awareness of LGTBTQ+ as well as racial discrimination, the first steps towards improving campus morale will be accomplished. It’s once you have respect for people that those bonds as a campus truly begin to form.

Ilman: Improving USG as a whole will be one of the first orders of business if the Farmer/Surghani ticket is elected. The expectation of us to improve the lives of students at Mines is only possible if USG is completely restructured in order to become more efficient. Our ticket already has a plan in place to create an environment that is conducive to collaboration among representatives. Another point of emphasis will be to encourage a change of culture within Mines. Currently, there is a certain stigma that surrounds being a student at Mines. In reality, there is nothing stopping us from being mentioned with the Stanfords and Harvards of the world. We have the capability to achieve goals beyond the realm of engineering. While Mines has slowly incorporated more entrepreneurial avenues, I believe that there is still room for more. Finally, I will do everything in my power to address the growing mental health concerns on campus. While USG has recommended to increase funding towards the on campus clinic this year, a school wide discussion has yet to be made. I will ensure that a narrative for mental health awareness becomes evident in this coming year.


What do you believe are your best qualities for the position for which you are running?

Jon: Some of my best qualities are ambition, confidence, and sociability. I will be able to incorporate these qualities as USG President. The most important quality is ambition or drive; some people refer to this as passion. Like Sevy, I have a passion for helping make our school a better place! Setting goals and working hard in a collaborative fashion to achieve those goals is where my drive comes into play. Confidence is another key quality I possess. It enables me to assess situations, work towards creative yet practical solutions and then stand by the decisions I make based on the collaborative thought process. Being gregarious is one of my strongest traits. It enables me to talk to anyone whether they be a mentee, peer, or elder, but it also makes me extremely easy to talk to as well. This works to my advantage tremendously as communication is always a two-way street. These three skills together, in combination with the traits Sevy brings to the table will enable us to find out what students need, come to the table with faculty and administration with plausible solutions, and implement and sustain those solutions to students’ needs.

Sevy: My best qualities that lend to being VP of the student body are my determination, optimism, and enthusiasm. When I encounter a problem I, like most engineers, want to solve it. I believe in always giving 110% when finding and following through with a solution. I am determined that not only I can improve life at Mines, but keep it running smoothly. Another quality that I am very proud of is my optimism. I do not just want to aim for good enough; I want to aim above and beyond so no matter what happens, we as a campus community move forward. If you ask anyone who knows me what I’m like, they will definitely say I’m an extremely enthusiastic person; I would have to agree. My enthusiasm and positivity will help me gain support for the things that Mines needs to improve. It is also pretty infectious, which will allow other USG representatives to be more creative and discover ways to make Mines better.

Jean: I am an extremely outgoing and extroverted person which I believe is a necessity for Student Body President. Because of this, I am not afraid to talk to people on campus and therefore am connected to many different groups. Along with that I am passionate, level-headed, and determined. I am realistic with ideas and situations, however, I am reliable to ensure that they follow through. As Student Body President I will be in tune with the needs on campus and people can count on me to really make those changes.

Ilman: Being able to listen and being able to observe are the most important qualities that a leader can have. While other qualities may be important in different contexts, these two qualities are imperative when working with others towards a common goal. A leader that can listen will communicate the concerns of a student body effectively to the administration. A leader that can observe will be able to make informed decisions that will benefit the most people.


What experiences have you had that make you an ideal candidate?

Jon: I am the ideal candidate because of how heavily involved I am on campus. I have been an At-Large member of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) for two years now, I’ll be a 3rd year, returning Peer Mentor come Fall semester, I’m the founder of the Mines Club Water Polo Team, and I’m extremely familiar with Student Activities and Board of Student Organization (BSO) policies and going-ons. In USG, I have served as At-Large to the Institution. Not only do I oversee all committees USG is a part of, I’m also able to connect Undergraduate Representatives to the appropriate departments, faculty, and staff they need to complete their class projects and initiatives. Because of my work in USG, I have built many positive faculty and administration connections. Additionally, I was appointed to serve as the Undergraduate Representative to the Alumni Association Board of Directors where I represent the student voice and vote on matters pertaining to Alumni Association and Mines Foundation initiatives, outreach, and compliance. I was part of the merger between the Alumni Association and the Foundation and the move to a dues free membership model so that all Mines graduates could be a part of the Mines Alumni network for free. I’m also a part of the Technology Fee Committee, awarding different departments and student organizations tech fee funds for appropriate and impactful proposals. Overall, I am the most experienced and most qualified candidate to be elected USG President.

Sevy: Just like Jon, I am heavily involved on campus. As well as being a Peer Mentor this Fall, I’m also on ski team and hold positions as treasurer of robotics club and as co-vice president of badminton club. I love being extremely involved on campus and helping people make new connections at Mines. My experience with USG involves being a freshman representative for the last two semesters. I helped plan and execute the popular Chick-fil-A Survey in which we gave out free Chick-fil-A sandwiches in exchange for valuable student feedback. I also served on two committees involving dining options at Mines and am actively trying to improve the food quality and variety as well as the hours at Periodic Table and Mines Market, and the flexibility of student meal plans.

Jean: I have been on the executive council of Alpha Phi both my freshman and sophomore year. Through both of my positions (Director of Administration and Vice President of Risk Management) I have been able to be a part of major decisions in the sorority. These experiences have allowed me to learn a structure as well as tactics that are different from those in USG. I believe that I will be able to better isolate the weak points in the organization and use these experiences to make positive changes. USG is an extraordinary organization that has incredible opportunity and potential on campus. I want to utilize everything that I have learned and seen work effectively, so that USG can live up to that potential and have that huge impact on campus.

Ilman: I think the most important experience I had was serving on USG the past year. I’m going to flat out say that USG meetings were not enjoyable. This can be evidenced by the lack of returning members. This needs to change. I ran again because I believe that USG can be brought up into a model organization, and I have the vision that can change it. By following the future plans put in place, I will look to make USG more functional and gratifying for its members, as well as the campus.

How do you believe you can best represent the student body?

Jon & Sevy: Not only are we strong individually due to our experience and passion, we are also a force to be reckoned with together. We represent the Student Body most effectively because of the sheer number of students we interact with and impact. Jon will be a senior and Sevy a sophomore, covering a wide range of classes. Additionally, both of us have direct and impactful contact with the incoming freshmen class as Peer Mentors. Both of us major in different fields and take part in many different activities and student organizations, encountering even more of our peers. Jon has deep connections to many executive members of Greek Life, club sports, the Board of Student Organizations, the Alumni Association, and administration, while Sevy has deep connections to Residence Life, Mines Dining Services, and E-Days planning.

For those that know us, we are both extremely social people; and for those that don’t, you will soon! It’s easy for us to go out on campus and talk to anyone we do not know. Even more importantly though, we are some of the easiest people to talk to. For these reasons, we believe garnering feedback from students and information from faculty and administration effectively will allow us to best represent the student body.

Jean: I believe that the best way to represent the student body is to be consistently active in getting their input. There is no way that I could ever be aware of the needs of every group on campus. It is by being in constant pursuit of their opinions and goals that I can represent them best. I hope to   never be sitting back waiting for people to come to USG with their complaints. It is not effective nor a good use of anyones time. I will work in conjunction with the leaders on campus in order to keep direct communication about what is going on and what is needed.

Ilman: My running mate and I cover a lot of bases when it comes to representation on campus. With our diversity, we can relate to a wide range of students and can be the voice for them in senate meetings. This attribute is unique to our ticket and can be used to our advantage when voice the concerns of different constituents.

Why are you running for your selected position?

Jon: The reason I am running for USG President is because I feel like it is time for a change, and I am the one who can make that change happen! As an influential campus leader, and someone who is involved in many different areas, activities, and organizations on campus, I know that I am the best candidate to represent the student body. I believe that as USG President, I can best fulfill both my short and long term goals for USG and also the student body. I am someone who will actually listen to the needs of students and then be able to implement creative, practical, and sustainable solutions that best benefit students and address those needs.

Sevy: I am running for USG Vice President to the student body because I want to make Mines better. That may sound cliché, but I see Mines as a place of opportunity. I want to help students experience more opportunities to meet life-long friends, discover new interests, and have a fun college experience at Mines. I will be able to best accomplish those goals as VP. If elected, Mines will become an even better community, where everyone’s voice is heard and everyone has fun.

Jean: I am extremely passionate about this campus and all the potential that student government has for making an impact. I believe that I have the leadership skills and outside experience to be able to make the changes necessary for USG to have a more significant place on campus. Not only that, but it is necessary for the members of USG to feel empowered in their positions. When people feel empowered they go forth to be passionate and to understand the impact that they can personally have. I believe that this will allow the entire organization to truly make leaps and bounds of improvements towards making those phenomenal changes on campus. I am the most qualified and best suited candidate for the position of Student Body President not only because of my experiences but because I have the personality necessary to make people motivated and passionate about what they’re doing. It takes a certain kind of person to put these hopes and dreams into action. I fit that bill and that is why I am running for Student Body President.

Ilman: I have been around CSM nearly all my life. Both my parents hold Masters Degrees from Mines and now teach on campus. My sister and I are currently working towards our Undergraduate Degrees. Being an immigrant to this country, it is safe to say that my trajectory in life has greatly improved and the Colorado School of Mines has a lot to do with it. I intend on giving back in any way I can, and for now this can achieved through being a part of USG and working towards making the campus an even better place.

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