Interviewed by Sophie Harrington and Clement Streiff
Transcribed by Sophie Harrington
Cover photo by the Bohemian Reimsody List
In the two days leading up to Campaign Week, several reporters from the Sundial Press News team interviewed members of all seven campaigning lists. These interviews lasted about 45 minutes each, list members had not seen the questions beforehand and were given five minutes to discuss before answering. For the first four question they were given five minutes to respond and for the last question they were given two minutes. The journalists conducting these interviews were surveilled by a member of the Campaign Committee, and were under oath to keep all information secret until the release of the articles. Finally, these interviews were recorded and then transcribed, everything written below was said by the members of the lists.
Disclaimer: This interview was edited for clarity and concision.
President: Amy Sarr, Senegalese-French-American, Euraf
Vice-President: Hugo Hayard, French, Euram
List Name: Bohemian Reimsody
President: Amy Sarr, Euraf
Ana Jijon, American-Colombian-Ecuadorian, Euram
Oscar Eschenbrenner, French, Euraf
Evan Boulogne, French-American, Euram
Question 1: Why is your list running?
Amy Sarr (AS): Our list is running not only because we enjoy organizing events for other students, we’ve enjoyed campaigning throughout all of this and finding partnerships, but it’s also because we have a certain vision of the campus that we want to provide to students. So whether it’s integration, making everyone feel like they belong to the campus, or making everyone feel like there are certain events that can be catered to them.
Oscar Eschenbrenner (OE): What we want to be is to be close to students and open to them. The BDE has not to be a Bureau that is closed [only] to itself and to its members. We have to open to everyone student, to integrate to campus, and we know that it’s not easy to settle in Reims to start a new life. So what we want to do is to provide them the best life that we can on campus but also outside of campus, on Reims, with trips.
Evan Boulogne (EB): We would like to expand the mandates of the BDE and not just have a bureau that organizes events but also be a bureau that takes care of student life as a whole and is invested more into well the campus life in a broader sense. We are going to have promises and events that actually show this.
Ana Jijon (AJ): Also what we wanted to do with the BDE is that all of us saw the good things of this years BDE but also kind of the bad things that the BDE had; we wanted to really integrate everyone into this new BDE. The Bureau des Eleves is not really like Student Government but more like the voice of the students, it is here to represent the people. As many of us are international we know what it’s like to come to a new place and adapt to a new place. We really want them to feel welcome and comfortable here. Since we know that Sciences Po is a really demanding university that can be very stressful to balance out life outside campus and life inside.
OE: To demonstrate this our motto is “Don’t Stop Us Now”. In “Us” we don’t only include the bureau but also every student on campus also linked to Queen. What we want is to add to this altogether to make our lives better.
AS: We felt that there was a distance between students this year and the BDE. The BDE is doing an amazing job and is super professional, but we still feel like there is sort of a personal distance with them – we see them as our Bureau and not necessarily as students who represent us. So that’s why we felt like we want to change that view on the BDE.
Question 2: What do you want students to know?
AJ: First we want to start saying what our list means to us: Bohemian Reimsody may seem as a really distant thing from the BDE, but we want to show that the BDE can be really creative and can also be linked to art and other types of things. Our list wants to represent all the campus not only EURAM or EURAF or also leave exchanges out, because we often feel like they feel disintegrated from campus. We based ourselves on Queen and the movie as you may have seen the poster of the movie has both colors, purple and orange, so we wanted to kind of integrate both programs into Reims. In our logo you’ll also see this different aspects of campus like the logo of Sciences Po is integrated, but also the two animals (the beaver and the elephant), and like into our list we have people from everywhere around the world. We have… a Chinese [member], I’m Latin, we have Sinan who is from Pakistan – so we think this aspect of our list is very important and that they can really reflect themselves on us and trust us to do this job for them.
AS: We also felt that the values that Queen had especially of its time are very representative of the values we want to diffuse to the campus. For example Queen was completely revolutionary, represented tolerance, represented opening to everyone, which is what we want our list to be for the rest of the campus.
EB: We also want people to know that we are here for them. We are going to work hard (we’ve already been working very hard), and we want to provide them with all our knowledge and competences. So I’ll speak for myself, I’m in the Communications with Dana DeMartino and we are really working hard on well providing photos of events and providing good visual content for the campaign. We are trying to give all our work and competences to the services of the students.
OE: My poll in the list is the new poll in the list: Student Outreach, External Life. The goal is to make people feel good in Reims by finding partnerships to make their lives cheaper, to make it more comfortable, but also to organize many trips during next year and mostly trips during the weekend to allow students to discover France, Europe and around Reims.
AS: I also wanted to add that something very specific and special about our list is how close we are and how close we’ve gotten. We all noticed at the first meeting how well we clicked and how well we got along, and throughout the months of campaigning we’ve gotten so much closer. Despite the fact that we are all from very different places and grew up in different backgrounds, we still have this core that gets along very well and can work super well together which makes our events all different. However, there’s still a certain theme and we can work all together for events that might not necessarily interest us at first, but just because of the fact that we get along so well we can diffuse our interests to each other.
EB: In theory, Bohemian Reimsody, is also the idea of us being a band and us being really close together. So we don’t play music but we create events and we just want to be close and we work hard on communication and making sure things work and reducing tensions.
AJ: I’m also in the Student Outreach pole (the new one), were we have External and Internal Life [pole], I’m in external life. Queen is was a band that used to integrate their public into their songs, so this is what we’re going for: integrate students into our Bureau.
Question 3: What do you intend to change, if you were to succeed in the elections?
AJ: As we said before we observed along these four months, the good things there are about the BDE and also the negative aspects. We really wanted to focus our campaign promises on this new poll that we created.
We’ve noticed that the Mental Health Committee is kind of dying out on campus. We talked to the president of this committee and one of our campaign promises is actually expanding this role of student outreach to either help this committee or expand, help them with our resources and collections. Or make it the UV of the AS, kind of an external pole of the BDE*. We really think it’s a key issue and really related to the BDE and we don’t think it’s touched or dealt with enough.
AS: As a lot of campus is in the Euro-American program I think there are a lot of mental health resources in many American universities and even high schools. Some students may feel lost or not listened to when they arrive in France when they don’t have the necessary resources for their mental health. Which is why we think it’s super important to make it an external pole. Because mental health is becoming such a huge issue and many people are not educated on it and don’t have the right resources.
OE: We want to be a BDE that cares about students. So during campaign week we’ll organize an AIDES Intervention and screening (depistage) to show that we want students to feel well and to care about them. We’ll also have alcohol prevention kits at all our events during campaign week and also next year if we are elected we would continue to do this.
EB: We also have creative events and we want to change this for BDE for next year. We don’t just want to have parties where people are getting drunk and that type of event.
AS: We want to make campus life and external life cheaper. Our first mission is to have an “Adherence (Membership) System” for students. It means that students pay a certain amount at the beginning of the year so the events are cheaper later on. This will also help the BDE start with less for example, debt, as this year, making events cheaper in general and then also cheaper for the students who pay early on. We also have a lot of partnerships that are going to make student life cheaper like with Saint-Remi sport and Bureau Type to make merch and readers cheaper. For external life we also have partnerships with restaurants, with hair salons, with Laverie and others to make Reims student life cheaper in general.
AJ: By our partnerships we want to show we just don’t want to have restaurants as partners but also to touch every part of student life. Why we include salon place, a Laverie, because they are key aspects of student life that are not being grasped by the BDE now and I think that students will really enjoy having these types of discounts.
AS: Also the student guide that the outreach poll is working on would recommend doctors, because on the Sciences Po Trade there’s always questions about doctors.
Question 4: What are some events you want to highlight that your list will offer this week?
EB: I’d say one of our most important events is “12 Hours in Paris”. So basically we’re gonna leave with the bus at 4pm on Wednesday night and go to Paris; we’ll have a Louvre visit organized for everybody. Then with Sciences Po Paris and the ECP we have a club night at the Duplex in Paris and the Squat. Then we’re coming back early in the morning on Thursday, with fresh food for breakfast for those who did this adventure. The price will be 10 euros and we’re doing this with BDA list Moon Struck.
OE: We will also have chiller events; for example on Monday we’ll organize a “Wellness Day” to emphasize what we want to do with the mental health poll next year. So you’ll be able to benefit from yoga, healthy food, massages and all the stuff that makes you feel well. This will be with the AS list Kick AS.
AS: We have a “Desi-Phage” Screening and also with a conference from AIDS about different risks and relating to Freddie Mercury, which shows we want to put more emphasis on physical and mental health.
EB: We also want to have more random events just cause we’re kinda crazy and we want people to know that. Our theme is Queen, Bohemian Reimsody, so you know we have to be outrageous a little bit, so this is our crazy side. We’re hosting the “Laverie Party” where we’ll just invite people to wash their clothes on Sunday night at 6pm at the Lavomatic on Rue Gambetta. We are gonna have champagne, there will be music, and the whole place will be privatized. The owner is really stoked for this event as we are.
AJ: The owner is actually going to make renovations this year in order to install machines to have Sciences Po student discounts; the owner is really excited about our Laverie Party and it’s gonna be really original event. And also I really wanted to highlight one event that is really important and meaningful to everyone in our list, and I think will be to the people to: the “International Festival” we’re doing on the second Friday of the campaign. We’re putting different stands all around campus, all representing a region: I’m doing Latin America, Khassim, Mialy and Amy are doing Africa, and in these tents we will put music, food, and drinks typical to the regions so people can come and feel like home – it represents this international side of our list.
AS: One other event that I’m super excited for and that I’ve been talking about a lot is the “Bonfire”. So we talked about Paris, which is a super intense trip for 12 hours doing a lot of different things, but I think this bonfire shows a different side which is more just being able to talk to everyone, being able to chill and all be by the fire. I just think it’s really fun for people to sing and show their talents so I’m really excited about that.
OE: As we know that students love food during campaign week we provide lots every morning and every lunchtime so you will have everything you want.
AS: And we’re having a breakfast for dinner which I’m super excited about with a lot of American food that we have. We’re super excited about that because it’s gonna be a diner-type vibe.
Question 5: One last thing?
OE: We really want to help students with their Parcours Civique. For campaign week we contacted several organizations in Reims to provide a guide of some organizations that are willing to welcome volunteers for next year for Parcours Civique. What we also want to do next year is to organize a fair where organizations in Reims can come and recruit volunteers directly from Sciences Po like we do with student associations.
EB: We also want to not copy what Sciences Po Carriere is doing but maybe work with them and try to have all the information centralized because we know that Sciences Po students might not necessarily get internships in Reims so we want to have local spotlight on internships in Reims but also potential internships in Paris, France, Europe, wherever else.
AJ: We’re also listening to students own testimonies about their own internships things like this so we can get the best ones we’ve heard for our guide we’re doing which is called “How to Live Like Queens” to present in Campaign Week.
AS: We want to have transparency in the BDE. WE want to incorporate more poles and and we want to have once a month general assemblies where all students can come and present their ideas and suggestions.
*Correction: the UV is a separate association and not a part of the Association Sportive.