Student Spotlight with Joyce Kim

EARLY ELECTION DAYS: In elementary school, College senior Joyce Kim got her first taste of running for student government when she was elected historian. It seems like she hasn’t stopped running for elections since, first in high school, and most recently, for the Undergraduate Assembly (UA). In her first year at Penn, Kim was elected a New Student Representative, and during her sophomore and junior years, she was on the executive committee as Secretary and Social Justice Committee Director, respectively. In April, Kim was elected Student Body President.

CAMPUS CAMPAIGN: In order to win the UA presidency, Kim had to run a serious campaign: She met with student groups all over campus to get endorsements, set up social media accounts for her candidacy, and even developed a platform with her running mate, now-Student Body Vice President Josh Chilcote. Her friends, she says, supported her run, managing her campaign and taking photographs of her and Chilcote. Kim says she also had to debate her opponent three times in one week—a scary proposition since she’s not a debater. “The week leading up to and the week of elections were probably two of my most challenging weeks here at Penn,” Kim says.

PARTY PLATFORM: Kim and Chilcote picked several issues on which to focus their campaign, including the better inclusion of international students into undergraduate life at Penn; preventing sexual assaults and violence; providing more funding for student groups, primarily those that are religious and political in nature; and better integrating students’ voices within Student Financial Services. “Between the two of us, we have had extensive experience with these different issues,” Kim says. “That’s what made us, I think, more credible.”

FUTURE ELECTION?: After graduation, Kim says she’ll likely focus her attention on entering academia rather than running for elected office. She’s interested in pursuing a Ph.D. and either working as a professor or for the U.S. Department of State. Kim is a political science major, and is double-minoring  in Korean studies and urban studies.

PENN 2,000: Kim describes what she calls the Penn 2,000—which means that out of 10,000 undergraduates, she figures that about 2,000 are actively engaged. As President, Kim hopes to reach the remaining 8,000 students and let them know that the Undergraduate Assembly, with $2.1 million in funding, has the potential to make a significant impact in students’ lives. “I think it’s important for me to try and get that sort of involvement and that connection beyond the Penn 2,000,” Kim says. “I also think it’s important for people to feel like they can be part of the UA, no matter who they are.”

Joyce Kim