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The Citizen

Meet the student body president: Rohit Malhotra

By Karly Schledwitz

You’ve probably seen that Indian guy with big headphones around his neck walking in the courtyard. He might have even talked to you in the forum during election week or maybe you heard about his campaign from a friend. Now that Rohit Malhotra has been elected as KSSG President, The Citizen sat down with him to learn more about his plan forward.

What do you anticipate to be your biggest challenges as KSSG president?

One of the biggest challenges is managing expectations. People expect the world or they expect nothing. People want this to be the best experience they’ve ever had, and they deserve that. But we need to be very clear as to what the role of the student government is here and to set realistic goals.

The second challenge is to get people involved when they raise a concern. It’s not just a challenge but it’s an opportunity too. We need more integrated and connected conversations across classes and people. It is a challenge right now to get people involved in making the school better.

Some have said this election highlighted a rift between programs. What will you and KSSG do to bring the programs together?

If I’ve learned anything from this election it’s that one-on-one conversations are the most effective way to connect to people. The student government needs to make itself more readily available to students. This year, I am going to emphasize the role of the class representatives. They will be required to host open town hall meetings where the classes can relay their concerns.

We need to have more events that aren’t just parties. I want to establish a mentoring program. We should also have mixers between classes so we can all meet each other and have a place where an MPP can talk to an MPA or an MPAID can share stories with a Mid Career. But these type of things happen best at the representative and class level. I want to create a more organic flow of people meeting and talking to each other.

What is the initiative that you’re most excited to implement?

I am really excited to host professional hour each Friday before quorum call. I envision a combination of panel discussions, Q&A sessions and networking meet and greets. Each week, at the professional hour, we’ll have themes around a different career path like White House jobs to World Bank jobs or nonprofit jobs in Boston. The point is to break down the barriers that come with pursuing a professional career here. I plan to work very closely with the administration, the centers, the students and the faculty to really get people to understand how to enter the industry that they’re interested in and set tangible goals for themselves.

How did KSSG work last year and how might it function better this year?

Last year, everyone on the executive board was new and we had to figure out how it worked. It was very much an experimental process at first and we were trying to form the mission as we went.

This year, I want the student government to be internally and externally functional. I want all of the representatives to be held accountable for carrying out initiatives.  We want to make public commitments and be evaluated on if we follow through on those commitments. Once the student government meets and we all get our issues together, I plan to issue a vision document to the school that will say what the student government plans to get done this semester. That is going to fundamentally change the way the student government works.

In addition to president, there are 11 VPs and representatives of each class. Each VP presides over a committee that serves a different function. Last year, I ran the student activities committee. We just added the VP of Diversity and VP of Technology this year. If people are interested in getting involved, the committees are a great way to do that formally and informally.

What is something we don’t know about you?

I am obsessed with music. I’m an avid collector of headphones because I’m obsessed with different types of sounds and music and how it can change your mood. When the stress of campaigning was going on, there was nothing more relieving for me than sitting on my couch and putting music on. I started DJ-ing almost 10 years ago because it allows me to let go of all my stress. I do fusion between hip-hop and bungra and it gives me an opportunity to get lost in music, which I love.

Disclaimer: The author of this article was involved with the Rohit campaign and is writing this article independently in her role as a staff writer with The Citizen.