As I pack up my office and come to terms with officially being the former Student Body President, I find myself reflecting on the past year.
The past year as your Student Body President flew by. It seems like it was yesterday that I took my oath and described the passion that I saw in my executive board’s eyes. Now, the day has come that I will contently witness Ramon take his oath of office, thus officially step out of the role and join the ranks of the former Student Body Presidents who also worked tirelessly to construct a strong future for their peers.
This is a highly bittersweet feeling. I will certainly not miss the late nights, the heavy weight of stress and the seemingly endless to-do list. However, I will miss the feeling of walking out of the office each day knowing that I helped at least one of my peers that day. I will miss speaking for those who feel they do not have a voice. I will miss empowering my executive board to lead and learn through their various programs and initiatives. I will miss unending love and support that Student Government has given me over the past year. I will miss the people around me that picked me up when I fell apart, the people that never stopped believing in me, and the friends that became family.
This year was another successful year for SIUE Student Government. Together we changed the negative stigma surrounding mental health and counseling services through our partnership with the iCare program. We continued the conversation about sexual assault prevention with the backing of It’s On Us. We responded to students’ concerns regarding diversity and inclusion by adding a Student Diversity Council and a Student Diversity Officer to ensure that students are included in the conversations and solutions. We spoke up for student employees who were disserviced by the employment policies and helped ensure that the hours capacity was increased to 28 hours per week and employment eligibility was open to more students. We carefully allocated student activity fees to ensure student money was stretched as far as it could and impacted students the most. We welcomed new student organizations that allowed students to carry out their passions during their college career. We enlightened 500 campus community members on oppression that underrepresented students face every day through Tunnel of Oppression. We brightened the holidays of hundreds of local children through Angel Tree. We spoke up to administration to ensure that students were included important conversations. We lived up to the mission that we set out to do. We heard voices and took action.
All things considered, it is impossible to hang my head in regret as I end my term. This year has been an incredible adventure in which I have experienced endless opportunities and vastly expanded the horizons of my SIUE family.
Thank you. To my peers who trusted me to serve. To my executive team that took on every challenge head first and with a smile. To the senate who worked tirelessly on the endless tasks and initiatives that came their way. To the frequent office users that dealt with my daily pacing. To my advisors who supported and guided me every step of the way. To the faculty and staff members who I saw more than my own friends and family. To my family, friends, brothers and girlfriend who continued to stand by my side and support me even when I did not give them the love they deserved because I was too focused on work. Thank you. Each of you played a role in my term. Each of you played a role in carrying out positive change this year. I certainly would not have made it this far if it weren’t for each of you.
Fortunately, this is not the end of my Student Government Journey. In July, I will begin my term as the SIUE Student Trustee on the SIU Board of Trustees. I am grateful for one last opportunity to continue to speak up for my peers. I am ready for this new adventure.
Congratulations to Ramon. I am very confident that you will lead Student Government through another year of advocacy and change. I am proud to be a part of your team. Congratulations to all new and returning members of the Student Government team for the 2017-2018 school year. Together, we will have yet another successful year.
Student Body President Out.