Interviewed by Sophie Harrington and Clement Streiff
Transcribed by Sophie Harrington
Cover photo by the SmASh Bros 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: Sarah Afsahi, Moroccan and French, Euraf
Vice-President: Aurélien de Chaunac, French, Euram
List Name: SmASh Bros
President: Sarah Afsahi, Euraf
Vice President: Aurélien de Chaunac, Euram
Secretary: Juliana Bongiorno, American, Euram
Head of Sports and Partnerships: Gabriel Hofmann, French, Euram
Question 1: Why is your list running?
Sarah Afsahi (SA): We saw what the babies have done this year so we have seen what was good and what could be better. I think we had an objective point of view because we have been a part of many events that took place on and off campus. We know that the organization may be tricky as we are a part of other associations as well. We think that we have experience due to our participation in other associations and that we can be an inspiration for others.
Aurélien de Chaunac (AC): To add on to that I think that the fact that we are a part of other associations else than the AS helps us see what’s important in organizing events and being objective about what has been done by the AS this year. We will continue using some of their events that work every year like the ski trip or the way they organize WEIC and the Minicrit, really hard events to organize. But, we’ll bring our main themes, to make sure each sport is represented in the life of the campus; we also have a lot of partnerships that are different from this year. I think we’re gonna bring something new but based off of the good things that worked in the past.
Gabriel Hofmann (GH): Just to add on to what Sarah says, sometimes people call out the “counter list” from the AS but we don’t define as a “counter list”. We are just some students who gathered together and who love sports, we have a passion for sports, and we really have a big experience even if we weren’t in the AS this past year. Above all we have plenty of ideas (we’ll go back to it in the next questions) that we want to share with the whole campus.
SA: Just to highlight this is a new team, new projects, new identities: we want to represent everyone. Even the exchanges that are only here for a year or a semester, we want to include everyone in our events.
Juliana Bongiorno (JB): We are also running because we are really passionate about sports in general, and we all bring different ideas and perspectives to the team. We have seven different nationalities on our team and nine out of 14 of us are on competition teams, so we all come from different areas of the campus and I think we each contribute something different.
GH: To summarize, it’s maybe a potential weakness not to be a “baby”, but we want to make it a strength and we have a lot of projects and created our team from scratch. This is a strength. We are not chosen at the beginning of the year so we are really diversified, every person chosen has a role to play.
SA: We’re running because we want a change, even if we appreciate and recognize what the AS has done this year. I think changes might be something good for sports on campus and may give students another point of view about sports during their studies. Sports are essential. You wanna do sports when you study to keep you focused, to take care of your mental health and your body because it’s something really important.
Question 2: What do you want students to know about you?
GH: Just to begin we want to articulate the fact that SmASh Bros is not only a list, we are above all a team. We are creative, we really stick together, we are invested, we want to make the AS really dynamic and inclusive. That’s really important. We want to be a warm and open-minded “brotherhood!” So everyone can identify to each other. Sometimes I heard people saying that the AS can be just a group of friends, maybe a bit exclusive, and I just want to take the counterpoint: to be really inclusive, everyone can identify to us, propose a lot of events people can come to us.
JB: I think that’s really reflected in the events we’re having throughout the Campaign Week. We really want to make sports accessible to all walks of campus life not only to exchanges, 1As, 2As, but all groups of people. Which is why we’re including Handi-Sport and ESport within our events because we want it to be available for every person on the campus to be able to participate.
AC: Also the question being “What do you want students to know about you?” I want students to know about us. We created this team 2 months ago and we weren’t put together, like the babies were; we chose each other and even if we’re not from same group of friends in the beginning we became/created a specific atmosphere throughout the programmation of events and making the communication and all of that. Plus we also have a lot of athletes in the team: many of us are in sports teams representing both EURAF and EURAM which is really important. Also in the way we function within the list I think it’s really interesting because everyone of us has a subject, what they like to do and stuff, and I think it’s interesting to have everyone at the same level but working on the things they like. Having still the executive organizing everything, telling people to do what they do, cause we do what we like we’re doing it the best way.
SA: As Gabriel said we built this team for scratch. I didn’t know many people on this team before, and building this project together in 2 months made a strong bond between each and everyone one of us. And I think this is one of the most important things about sports, because it creates connections between people and we want to do this thing again but with every student on campus. Meaning that we want to create a bond and connections with sports, thanks to sports, between students, and make workshops. I can see on campus that there are many friend groups already made, and we rarely go out of those friend groups to meet new people. During the Campaign Week and next year we really emphasize this point: by doing workshops where everyone is invited, and encouraging people to participate more and more into sports, make new friends, new groups.
Questions 3: What do you intend to change, if you were to succeed in the elections?
GH: First of all we really want people to know that we are aware that the AS from this year was successful; there was a lot of things that students actually liked so we can be in the continuity in certain things. For example, the integration of newcomers (0A and exchanges) in both the first and second semester, we found this policy very cool and we want to carry on. Another point, we found that the AS from this year was really good when it came to trips, but we have our own motto: “Change it. SmASh it.” We want to bring some changes, we have a lot of ideas: first we want to make sports as local as we can. To introduce sports not only during sports lessons but also by organizing each week some workshops like Zumba and fitness runs. We want to organize a lot of excursions like to go on weekends for two days hiking, going to visit caves, or the Marche du Grand-Est. Something really brand new is the introduction of E-Sport with Wii Teams, Smash Bros, Fifa because E-Sport is in full development today and we want Sciences Po to follow the move. We want to ease the life of students by maybe introducing a lending bike system where we would purchase bikes from 2As, and we also want to get some communal sports materials to be available when people want.
AC: There’s also a lot of things we started to work on because we think that running an election is preparing the future of what we’ll do. We planned some promises that we will do if we are elected: first we started thinking about a ceremony that could happen at the end of the year that could happen to give to best athletes on the campus or to students who start initiatives on the campus to make sports more accessible. We want to include the students that are in sports team but not in competitive ones (in the intermediate levels) so they can play games between each other. We had an idea to promote sports on campus and we could write, maybe in collaboration with Sundial, what sports teams do/did with the initiatives through associations or even summarize what happens during a weekend trip or the ski trip.
JB: We also just want to make it clear that there is a Facebook page with the Sciences Po Reims sports results but we really want to centralize that. We would have an area on our website dedicated to that. Also I think that the fact that we’ve played on teams for most of our lives has really given us a lot of experience with working with a group and delegating work which I think will really help us contribute to accomplishing our goals for next year and what we want to change. I want to stress what Aurélien said about increasing competitions for the intermediate sports teams so that not only people in all types of sports but all levels of sports can participate.
Question 4: What are some events you want to highlight that your list will offer this week?
SA: The name of our list is SmASh Bros, which is a game that has been released recently that gathers many famous video-game characters like Mario, Pokemon, Zelda, and others. As a theme of our list is the theme of video games we really don’t want to forget that which is why we have three days dedicated to ESports. Days where people will be able to play many different video games like Mario Kart, Smash bros, and others because we have a partnership with Nintendo Reims. Everyone will be able to play these games for three days and on the last day there will be a big-big-big final in the amphitheater (on Friday)! We want everyone to be there to support the people who will play.
Secondly, we know that many parties are not attended by everyone because the theme may not appeal to some or your friends aren’t going, so we have planned many different parties and evenings with different themes to please everyone and we have a big, big, big surprise on campus on Monday. This big surprise is with the Air BDE and Utopiart and it’s going to be awesome.
AC: Just to add examples to clarify what we said about the parties to include people: we have a party that will be hosted in a house that belongs to a colloc of exchange students so we really want to integrate exchange students. We have a party with AirBDE and the theme is Africa and the Future, because we really want to include EURAF students and provide some different themes for parties. We are going to have a big gala at Palais du Tau which is one of our biggest events. And also we have a lot of partnerships with different clubs in Reims that were found by our really good partnership teams for example with the pool, with lightsabers. We can do workshops on campus that will be really original and different from what we see usually and we will try to include every sport on campus.
SA: To add, we have a lot of small events and small workshops on campus everyday. If you want to do something with us any day of the week you’re gonna find us. If it’s not on our stand you’ll find us on any courtyard so just check our planning and be aware of all the events we’re gonna do.
JB: We also have several events centered on wellness and lifestyle including an event where we’ll be given out “SmAShies” – smoothies SmASh Bros themed. We’re also doing exercises such as “Train the Brain” and “Treat Yourself” workshop.
Question 5: One last thing?
SA: We built this team, we’re fourteen people, motivated and with a strong bond.
GH: Maybe we can draw a parallel with the Olympic torch, you know, because we are firing as the torch, we are full of projects, we are dynamic, and very ubiquitous. We want to be accessible and full of energy. And the fire is interesting because it’s warm: we’re warm and inclusive, you know.
JB and SA: Change it. SmASh it. Vote for us.