SPB’s new exec members are just ‘so excited’ to take over
In the wake of major controversy over fall’s WILD headliner, Lil Dicky, the Social Programming Board has dealt with a number of external conflicts. However, they’ve also been in the midst of some pretty major internal shifts, as the current SPB president, junior Noah Truwit, prepares to step down and incoming president, junior Dina Guilak, rises to the challenge.
Guilak, who was elected Sept. 20, won’t completely transition into her new position until a month from now. Sophomores Zach Trunsky and Rithvik Kondai, newly elected vice president of finance and vice president of membership, respectively, were voted in Sept. 14 and are also in the transition period.
Guilak is the first to arrive at the Danforth University Center for our interview, carrying a seriously hefty backpack full of work that’s somehow balanced by her bubbly personality. She’s closely followed by Kondai, who’s all smiles in his casual tee and ponytail, and Trunsky, a bit more reserved but still game to talk about SPB.
All three were previously on SPB in lesser roles and are excited to pursue these higher positions and increase positive feedback in the Washington University community.
Guilak, who prior to this served on the general board, says that she “saw an opportunity to get more involved, kinda just went for it head on.” Her experience as director of programming for her social sorority, Chi Omega, brought her confidence that she could handle this role.
“We have a great opportunity in front of us and we are very lucky to be the people in this position and to have as much of an ability to effect change,” she explains.
When asked what else she is involved in on campus, Guilak laughs, saying, “I could give you the whole laundry list,” before going on to explain that outside of SPB and Chi Omega, she is involved in Reflections and works an off-campus job at Pastaria. “Yeah, it’s a fun time.”
Kondai, who has a similar reaction to this question, spares the details and explains that other than his involvement as the treasurer for the community service honorary Lambda Sigma (not to mention being on the Chaahat Bollywood fusion dance team), he is very committed to SPB.
Since last year he was already on the executive board as concerts director, Kondai was able to bond with some of the older SPB members and gain insight from past years’ experiences.
“Coming [in] as a freshman there’s just a lot to learn from all of these people and I thought the best place to bring in that knowledge this coming year would be VP membership,” Rithvik says, pausing to look at Guilak and Trunsky. “I just love working with people and I think I have a lot to bring in terms of helping people for following years and making sure that we function well together.”
Trunsky, like Guilak, served on the general board last year, but specifically on the operations committee while also being on Student Union’s Treasury.
“I kind of had that previous background knowledge on how finances within SU and campus clubs work so I saw that opportunity to apply for VP of Finance and hopefully I can apply some of that knowledge to SPB,” he explains.
Currently a Washington University Student Associate and on the executive board for Olin Business School’s venture fund, Trunsky says that he really likes the wide range of impact that SPB has on campus and hopes that this team will be able to better respond to student feedback this year.
“Student feedback is important and in the end we are programming for the students,” Trunsky says. “I think that’s one of the big things that I, along with the rest of everyone else, would want to focus [on].”
As far as plans go for the upcoming year, the three have not yet had a chance to sit down and discuss their means to a large extent—and understandably so, as elections were so recent. Guilak does mention, however, that they are currently working with the previous executive board to implement changes in SPB, which will be released within the next week. These changes, although not publicly addressed yet, seem to be reflected in their own statements of desired change.
“One thing I was kind of running off of was making sure that the student body knows the members of the SPB team, because I think sometimes there is confusion or misconception of who makes up SPB,” Kondai says, and the other two nod their heads in agreement. “I think that if people know who they can reach out to if they have concerns—if they can see a face to WILD, a face to a concert, a studio comedy event—then maybe that makes it more personal.”
Guilak expands off of this, saying, “We are hoping to be more approachable. So, we are going to try to hold more open forums more frequently [and] office hours, something like that.”
The three are very aware of the power that they hold in their positions, and know that in light of recent events, there’s a sense of mistrust of SPB in the Wash. U. community. In response to this, they hope to be more transparent in their roles.
Trunsky, especially, speaks to this, saying, “We are definitely going to work on transparency because I think that’s what a lot of what students want to see—because they are unsure of how the artists are picked. So, I think that’s a little bit of the changes that we are working with the current exec board [on]—having it be more transparent so that students can see how the process is done, so they see the rationale.”
When asked to pick out their top artist that they would want at WILD, the three grow overwhelmed with excitement.
“Oh my god,” Guilak shakes her head and begins to scroll through her Spotify. “I have no idea.”
“Anyone?” Kondai asks.
“Kanye!” Trunsky blurts out.
In the end they settle on a three-act lineup with Kanye West, Maroon 5 (because they are “just so amazing,” says Guilak) and Beyonce (because “you can’t go wrong,” according to Kondai).
Overall, the three can’t help but emphasize their excitement and readiness to step into their roles as heads of SPB.
“Every time [someone] asks ‘what do you do’ and I’m like, ‘I’m incoming SPB president!’ and I’m just like…” Guilak grins.
“She lights up,” Kondai says.
Guilak blushes, “I’m so excited.”