Meet Liz and Marques, Colby’s new SGA presidents

As most of Colby is anxiously waiting to go home and enjoy their summers, Marcques Houston ’18 and Liz Paulino ’18, the 2017-18 SGA co-presidents, are doing the opposite. The two are spending all of their time looking ahead to the fall and have already begun planning ways in which their administration can change Colby’s environment.

Houston is from Monmouth, Maine, while Paulino comes from Auburn, Massachusetts. Houston is an English and American Studies double Major with a Creative writing minor, and Paulino is a Government and Latin American Studies double Major. Beyond their studies, they are both very involved in the Colby community. Houston is on the track team, running the 400m and the 200m, and is part of both the SOBHU executive board and the Hall Staff. Paulino is part of the First Generation to College program, the Women of Color Alliance, and is very active in the government department.

Paulino initially asked Houston to run with her as vice president, but their roles quickly changed to co-presidents. “The fact that Liz came to me meant a lot. The running process was not something I wanted to do. I wanted to be on SGA, so having her ask me pushed me,” Houston said.

One reason that this duo is unique is because Paulino has been on SGA for the entirety of her Colby career, including serving as class vice president during her sophomore year, while Houston has never been on SGA before, allowing for different perspectives.

They chose to run just days before the form was due, and immediately sat down to discuss how they wanted to move forward. “Campaigning was just sitting down and talking about what we were going to do,” Paulino said. Their campaign included meeting with different groups like the Feminist Alliance, the women’s basketball team, the men’s hockey team, and the leaders of the Bridge.

During her presidency with Houston, Paulino really wants to help the quiet and shy students find their voice. “I had things when I was younger that I was passionate about but too afraid to speak out. As a government major I have learned to be unapologetic,” Paulino said.

“At least from my standpoint I think representing people who don’t always get their voice heard on campus helped us in the long run,” said Houston. Paulino followed up his point by saying what was important was their “insistence on making voices heard. Sitting down with student groups and talking about SGA and how we can enrich them as a group.” The duo emphasized they really wanted the silent voices to be louder.

“I was actually really, really surprised,” Houston said of their victory. “I was shocked that we won. It took me forever to soak in the fact that we won and how huge it was. I called my mom.” Paulino felt similar. “I remember Marcques’s face when we won,” she laughed. “Neither of us could believe it. I went for a run. I ran all the way to T.J.Maxx. I was running on adrenaline,” she said.

Houston and Paulino have many plans for the future of Colby. Aside from various meetings with the deans, they have a meeting coming up with President Greene.

Their most important plan for the future is creating a community based on conversation. They want to expand the “Conversation Series,” which opened up dialogue between the Colby community and different outlets outside of Mayflower Hill. Houston and Paulino have been working with Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies Rabbi Rachel Isaacs as well as the deans to create a better conversation program to bridge the Colby Community with the greater Waterville Community. They have already instated is a new position called Community Outreach.  “It will deal with other schools, groups, and communities,” Paulino said. “It will let us really change the way we talk about things. We will get a different perspective outside the Colby bubble.” The two hope to extend Colby outside the confines of campus.

Houston said that he really wants to “change campus dialogue and make it so that students talk to one another. Part of our exec board is having people that really care and want to make Colby a better place.” When looking for an executive board to work under them, they said they “want leaders who are present and go to things and are not only engaged. We want people who are active in their daily lives and not just when things happen.” Houston and Paulino are looking for people to help them lead the school that are extre-
mely passionate.

When asked what is something that they want the Colby Community to know about the two of them (or SGA in general), their answers echoed each other. Houston said “As somebody who has not been on SGA before, you see some ways that SGA isn’t accessible. Trying to find ways to make SGA more transparent and accessible so they know what we are doing is important. We are very passionate about changing the overall culture of it.” Liz replied reinforcing him, saying “I second that in so many ways. Sometimes SGA seems like a little bit of a boys club to me. I am really exciting that SGA is changing. I am excited to be able to provide students like me my freshman year (quiet and shy) to feel like they can really change things. I also want to have a female workshop for SGA.”

Houston and Paulino plan to make big changes to the Colby Community. Making voices heard, opening discussion between so many different groups on and off campus, and changing the culture of SGA in general are just a few changes they have already started to make, and their presidency has not even begun.