Interviewed by Maddie Covino, photographed by Emma Jean
First off to introduce yourself, three facts about you.
Hi my name is Raphaella Heath. I am half Italian-half American, but I’ve lived in France for most of my life. I lived for a while in the US in a small college town called Northampton, Massachusetts. And I used to be a really good gymnast (for 12 years) until I hurt myself.
Why would you like to be a Student Rep?
I love to represent people. I love our campus and think we are a really good community. We aren’t as tight-knit as in previous years because the classes are getting larger, but I still think it’s really important to have someone to represent an academic community. To do that would be an honor.
Do you have previous similar experience?
I have experience in student government, debate, and MUN. Trying to make a difference in high school is sometimes hard in France with the administration, but it was still a great experience.
What would be your main aims and missions as a Student Rep?
I have three proposals. The first one has to do with stress and anxiety, a problem that the administration would like to forget about sometimes. Students around finals, midterms, or when life gets in the way can suffer from stress and anxiety and it can affect their mental health…and academic success. So I think it is really important for the administration to take that problem more seriously…I’ve had a hard time getting an appointment with doctors and psychologists. I think it’s a little easier for the psychologists, but even then it is hard for international students because most of the psychologists, I believe, are French-speaking and don’t have a level of English that allows international students to speak freely and feel comfortable.
Another thing is transparency. Obviously a lot of people feel very passionate about what has happened in the past few days, namely Mr. Ruchet’s termination. I think that it’s important to take that passion and use it wisely and not go in an all out war against the administration. What is really important at this time is to be diplomatic and to negotiate so that we get more transparency and a bigger say in the reforms that the administration wants to put in place, and that we continue to protest so that our voices are heard.
My third program is really Dual BA specific. I think the SciencesPo administration doesn’t have enough classes for Columbia students to fulfill the Global Core, which causes stress for 2As and 1As. I would negotiate with them to try to get more classes that count towards the Global Core because it’s really important for us to fulfill as many requirements as we can while at Sciences Po.
Why do you think you would be the most suitable for this position?
I think that in a Student Rep, you need someone who is level-headed and calm, considerate and communicative. I like to think that I have those qualities and that I could be a Student Rep who communicates with students, cares about their problems, and is able to advocate for them.
Miscellaneous question: If you were a famous political leader, who would you be and why?
That’s a good question. I’m an unconditional Barack Obama fan so I’d definitely say him, then again I love Michelle. I know she’s not officially a political leader but in our hearts she is, so I’d say Michelle Obama. She is obviously very educated, very smart. She is also someone who is well-spoken and eloquent which is something I strive to be. She has done so much as First Lady…She has changed America in 8 years, which is quite amazing without being an elected leader. Also, I think she is classy, which is something that we have missed in this election cycle.