Student Senate President: Friend vs. Friend

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Our Student Senate isn’t like other Student Senates. Last year I attended one meeting to request money for River Day 2016, and became aggravated that Student Senate didn’t have their funding updated, tabling me for the next week. Fire grew inside me: I wanted to make Student Senate better. This was around the time of their elections so I nominated myself for Treasurer.

What’s exciting about being in Student Senate is that any issue you have, you can take head on yourself, and change things. That’s exactly what I did when I became Treasurer. I could create committees I thought were important, such as a “Food Committee” and “Environmental Action Committee (EAC).” Both of these became successful, and one of the most exciting results from the Food Committee is being able to inform Students of the changes within Chartwells. As well, EAC came together and ensured Student Senate’s Capital Project included environmental friendly updates. The EAC is taking the initiative to get equipment around campus working again, and to get NEC to save water like they used to.

Also, as I’m able to update students on where their money is going, every meeting is fulfilling for me. I always hear students wondering where their money is going and I’m able to report it’s being put towards: updating computers, purchasing 400 new beds, breaking ground at the Putnam Center, and repairing the Lewin House’s broken boiler. There are many places student money is going, but you don’t know unless you attend Senate meetings. So I highly encourage all students to attend, and even join Student Senate, to be kept updated on where their money is going.

Now it’s that time of the year, where clubs and organizations begin to elect board members. Student Senate has been taking nominations for President since March 22nd. The only qualifications needed to nominate yourself, or someone else, is to have a minimum 2.5 overall GPA, a clean conduct record, leadership experience, and must be an undergraduate student.  Currently the students running are: D’nysha Cook, Trevor VanNiel and myself, Danielle Stevens.

I was hesitant to nominate myself for Student Senate President because I didn’t want to run against one of my closest friends, who is practically like family. Many people have tried to encourage me to run, no matter what the outcome is, because either of us would do a great job. I nominated myself last minute on March 29th, at Wednesday night’s meeting. I want to take Student Senate in a new direction, in a direction that will make students believe in Student Senate, knowing that when they come to us we will take them seriously and help make changes that lessen their struggles and, also, provide answers to their questions by the next meeting.

The biggest struggles running against a close friend for such a powerful leadership position are in maintaining respect for each other and not forcing other’s friends to take sides, or cast votes for the wrong reasons: people should vote for who’s qualified and take all those running into consideration. In high school, I watched two platonic friends tear each other apart during elections for Class President, breaking other friendships, only for neither of the girls to win.

Student Senate is different at other colleges: Student Senate is often a big deal. Students attend meetings to know what’s happening and make complaints that get resolved in a timely manner. As well, clubs and organizations are much more involved and engaged in the events they put on. Hopefully, in the years to come, NEC’s Student Senate will be an essential part of the community. I hope to make my mark on that.

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