I met with Apostolos on Monday after the presentations for the candidates for the student elections. Apostolos Pappas is running for the position of the president along with his partner Theoni Tsinonis who is running as his vice president. He studies Marketing Communication and Advertising in Deree. He has been very committed to student activities such as the Orientation Leaders, and he has represented the College at various conferences. I could see that he was very eager to respond to my questions and discuss with me.
Why do you want to be president and what do you think would be your role as the GB leader?
Firstly, let me answer the first part of the question. I have been studying here for four years now. This community has given me opportunities to make me a better person and it helped me in my professional and personal life. Because of that experience, I believe that now is the time to give back to the community, what I have received. With my character being the way that it is, I believe to be the right fit for this position. I want to help people, make a change and leave something behind that I can reflect and for it to be meaningful.
What about your role?
The role of the president is to represent the students and what they want. Another responsibility that the constitution states is that you have to be able to allocate the budget you receive and distribute it to the societies and clubs. You have to be here every day to do your work and be responsible.
Besides what the constitution says, how will you act?
You need to give to the people a sense of community because we do not have that.
On that idea, that this is how Apostolos will act, listening to your speech as well, the way you quoted Pablo Picasso in the beginning, I want to know how you choose to trust someone because choosing your friends, colleagues, mentor and someone to quote, is a part that influences how you act. You also have a team of four people running with you. How do you choose?
You have to engage with them, talk with them, and actually spend some time with them, communicate your vision with them. If they are responsible and reliable, able to do the job you asked them to, then I believe that I can trust them and have a great team.
From the turnout of the presentations, as we discussed together before the interview, we noticed that only the students that we know to be active in the student life were there. How do you feel when you see that students are not motivated to participate in the student life right now? How do you think you could motivate them?
I feel very bad because being involved is really important, belonging somewhere and helping others, you can get skills and experiences that you will not find somewhere else.
And how would you motivate them?
In order to motivate someone, you will first need to communicate your vision with them. Provide them a vision that they can relate to. After that, they will be invested in it. Talk with them. Communication is so important. I consider myself a very motivational person and that is why I always try to motivate with words, other people.
Communication is a big part of your vision. And good communication is and can be absolutely beneficial. What do you think will be the most difficult aspect of being a representative of the entire student body?
Solving the problem of the engagement. People do not know what is going on in Deree. When you first come here, you have no idea how to get involved. With the Student Helper -a program that focuses on helping students academically and socially in the College- an organization we want to create, a key way to solve such issues.
You have the ideas but you need the people.
Exactly. We are a big family here.
On another note, the President and the Vice President run together as a team. I am sure that by now you know Theoni very well. Tell us about your relationship with her.
She is an example for the students. She is amazing, very smart, and we have been friends for two years. We know each other very well and she is very engaged, very dedicated. She can do everything and I do believe she is very amazing and I admire her. She has helped me many times with academic problems and other situations that I had in the College. We have a common vision and this is a key in our relationship. Since she is also a Greek-American, she brings a different international perspective in the team, which I do not have.
You talk a lot about a common vision. One might say that at the end of the day, every team wants what is best for the College and a way to engage students in student life activities. In the end, it comes down to working together. Have you ever had the chance to work with Theoni as you will have to do so if you get elected?
We were friends but we also worked together. We have a common friend in the International business society where we have organized many events together, many times. Together we have been to conferences and have represented the College on off-campus activities. I know how she works and what she can offer to our team and to the College in general.
Wrapping up the interview, you obviously have never been officially in the student government body -he highlighted officially- yes, officially, this is a new role you are taking and until you get there, you have no idea what it takes to keep it all together. You will need someone to guide you. On that point, in the transitioning period between the old and the new student government body, you will have to work closely with them. However, what is your current relationship with them? Have they prepared you for what might come?
We have an amazing relationship with them, especially Ariadne (current Vice President), for more than a year now. We have organized events together, had bake sales, I have helped her and she has helped me multiple times. She is amazing at what she is doing as Vice President. I would be very lucky to have her on my team in the future so we can have their help. We should obviously use the experience of the current student government.
Finally, in the case, you get elected but some or all of your team does not, what would the dynamic be in your relationship with the rest of the team?
We are going to work together and pass them our vision. We will communicate and make sure that they participate in the creation of our vision, having them engaged and invested.
Is there a possibility that you might not work well together?
I do not think that this can be a problem. We will find a way to communicate!