This week is a valuable time for GCSA, as elections take place Thursday the 22th for the following academic term. For the most important position of President and Vice President, two teams are running together: current Vice president Cameron Grinnell is running for President with TeddyMax Talanoa, and Matheus Ramos is running with Tiffany Laterra.
Both tickets were interviewed by the Gordon Review, to provide an opportunity for students to know the candidates on a deeper academic and personal level.
Matheus Ramos and Tiffany Laterra have been heavily involved on Gordon College’s campus, most recently serving as a Presidential Fellows. Both have served in multiple different leadership positions and developed close relationships with the school’s cabinet. When working as a team, Matt and Tiffany believe their skills will complement each other if chosen to be a voice for the student body.
Platform: Embrace, Engage, and Empower
Q: What made you decide to run for President and Vice President?
A: Matheus Ramos – We recognize a big transition that is happening in our college, but also our nation. With the end of COVID’s insight, it allows us to look at things with a new perspective and positive outlook. This year, Tiffany and I both have been blessed with the opportunity to serve as Presidential Fellows. Being a Presidential Fellow has allowed us to grow close with the cabinet, which we think is an important asset that the President and Vice President will need to get things done.
Q: Describe your platform.
A: Matheus Ramos – Embrace, engage, and empower are the three pillars of our campaign, and we want to do these three things, to three main communities. Our students, new president/administration, and surrounding communities. First and foremost, our students. Beginning with an enhancement of the first-year experience, we want to ensure that there are readily available resources for mental health, spiritual health, academic support, professional development, and campus connections. We recognize that some students are natural initiative takers, and others are already in honors/other programs with a structure to fall back on, but we want all first-year students to feel supported and empowered to launch into what the Lord has for them at Gordon. We promise to secure transportation for our international students, a huge need for an overseas education experience, as well as coming alongside our student groups and organizations so that everyone feels valued and uplifted – this includes our athletes, theatre department, fine/performing/communication arts students, and so many more amazing student groups and communities. We want to continue celebrating diversity, pursuing unity and justice, and engaging in conversations, education, and awareness where everyone feels like they have a seat at the table. We are each deeply loved by our Father in Heaven, and it is important that we show that love to one another in all that we say, think, and do. Next, we want to embrace, engage, and empower our new president. The relationships that we have with the cabinet members will allow us to pour into the people who will be directly pouring into the new president on a daily basis. It is important to us to be productive bridge builders between the students and administration, really advocating for and representing the voices of each student to the new president and administration. Finally, we want to embrace, engage, and empower our surrounding communities! Investing in the local towns and people is so important, not only for our personal networking, but for the mission of the college and ultimately our Kingdom and Gospel calling and mission. We are blessed to be a community of believers and want to take the responsibility that we have to be a light and ambassador for Christ and His love seriously.
Q: How do you find balance between GCSA, outside commitments, and personal life?
A: Tiffany Laterra – I think something special about our ticket is Matt’s and I’s heart for this college as well as the Kingdom. I think that both individually and as a ticket, we each have a great understanding of our purpose and have a firm foundation in Jesus. Having those roots in a deep foundation helps us to balance multiple different situations. It has been helpful in making decisions about how to use our time, and how we plan to use our time for next year. The main thing that helps us keep things balanced is carving out time for God family and people. We want our election and potential candidacy to be extremely personal and Christ-centered all for God’s glory.
Q: What do you believe are the most important issues to address for the student body right now?
A: Matheus Ramos – We recognize that there is an evident issue, not just in our nation and not just within Christians but on our very campus surrounding racism. And that is something we believe continued talks need to be had – surrounding the diversity of our students. That is definitely at the forefront of our goals and things that we recognize need to be continuing and be of the utmost importance to us.
Tiffany Laterra – Because of the investments that Matt and I both made in different areas and pockets of the campus community, we recognize that there are just so many valuable opinions and thoughts on our campus. We really want to celebrate our diversity and pursue unity and justice but also make everyone feel welcome to have a voice and a space here. We really want to see the people who feel unseen and welcome the people who feel unwelcome to participate and to really feel empowered to embrace how God’s equipped them and what God has put on their heart. We want to really make this a team effort between everybody to have conversations where everyone feels like they can participate. We really care about what they have to say because we really do value each and every student on this campus, and what they bring to the table.
Q: How do you keep administration accountable for the shalom plan, if at all
A: Matheus Ramos – And again, this goes back to the relationships that Tiffany and I have continued to build in this past year with cabinet members, where they have often consulted with us in this past year, about thoughts, and the pulse of campus. We plan to continue to provide them that. We plan to hold them accountable by continuing to have those meetings that we have as a cabinet, not just the President as normally the Executive President and Vice President of the student body do, but also with the other cabinet members who have a direct voice constant contact, more than we do with the President. So that will be a way that we plan to keep them accountable. Making sure that these talks continued to be had on campus is important to us.
Tiffany Laterra – I think part of being a Presidential Fellows as Matt described is that we have an understanding of the area of campus that each of the cabinet member really invests in. Each cabinet member and their work is so valuable and is what keeps this school running. Having knowledge of the backend run of this institution, allows us to know the right people to go to, what resources are available and the most efficient ways to get them. We have the mindset, or the perspective of being students and knowing who to go to for what and how to get things done.
Q: How do you think being a Presidential Fellow will set you up for success?
A: Matheus Ramos – This past year has been very interesting as you know, with both COVID and all the incidents on campus. To see the administration handle all of these things, at firsthand, really taught us about what it means to act under pressure, immediately and well. Also doing so in a way that follows the way the institutions works and more importantly in a way that glorifies God. Being surrounded by executive Christian leaders, we have been informed and we have been surrounded by people that will help in the long run. Another thing that we have said in previous questions about the relationships that we have is really going to be a big key, and our ticket. Because as Tiffany was mentioning in the previous question, we recognize, not just the way that student marks because Tiffany, she is a director of a GCSA group and a bunch of other things like that. I have been in res life as well, so we understand how the student body works. But to be in a role like this where you are voicing the student body to the administration, you need to know how the institution works. And that is something we have gotten a grip on in this past year as well, so I think that that will also equip us well.
Categories: Student Life