Thoughts of Mohamed and Hill on their administration – CERCLE MARISTE
Shortly after being elected president and vice-president of the Student Government Association (SGA) in early March 2020, Mohamed and Hill realized they were facing challenges never faced by the college. Shortly after their election, Marist students left campus as COVID-19 rapidly devastated the world.
Throughout the summer, Mohamed and Hill worked out a detailed program to prepare for the next school year, taking into account the prospect of a virtual semester. The duo also led SGA’s summer session, educating cabinet members and creating a cohesive plan across their departments. The summer session was also an important time for SGA leaders to familiarize themselves and develop their relationships. SGA consists of 77 cabinet members, which makes strong communication essential.
“Coming into the semester, Roda and I had a very comprehensive plan for the summer,” Hill said. “Throughout our administration, we have tried to keep the idea of diversity, inclusion and equity present in all of our initiatives.”
Following the SGA elections in March 2020, Mohamed became the first Muslim woman president of the Marist student body. Along with Hill, they are the first women of color to hold their positions together. From the start of their campaign, Mohamed and Hill’s main priority was to always represent the student body and to act as a liaison between the students and the college administration.
“As soon as we got back to campus it was a bit of a shock,” Hill said. “About two weeks into the first half of the year, we sat down and realized that our goals were going to be very different than expected. We realized we were dealing with more short term advocacy as opposed to long term goals. “
The administration of the SGA has focused on issues such as Conklin Hall, housing and quarantine. For Mohamed, it has also become imperative to be the voice of the students. “Our comments have been more important than in previous years,” Mohamed said.
During the first semester, Mohamed heard many grievances about Saturday classes from students and teachers. She decided that this needed to be addressed to improve student experiences during an already difficult school year.
“We were able to communicate with the student body and give that feedback to the college administration because they were going through something that they had never experienced either,” Mohamed said.
Along with the initiatives on campus, Mohamed said that this year SGA has developed a stronger presence in Poughkeepsie. Working with a local high school, SGA created a program to help students learn more about financial literacy.
While addressing various issues on campus and conducting outreach activities in the community, Hill believes the administration of the SGA has been able to maintain an underlying goal of their long-term goal of creating more diversity. , inclusion and equity at Marist.
“We challenged the administration to be more inclusive and reflect the student body,” Hill said. “I think we have been able to be a critical voice and also a voice of reason in some cases.”
Six clubs were created this year, including the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Pre-Physician Assistants, Marist Moderates, the Marist Community of Analysis, the United Nations Marist Model and the Association of African Students. In creating these clubs, Hill said she was thrilled it increases the diversity of club types and involvement.
Each semester creates its own unique set of challenges. From the start of the fall semester 2020, Mohamed immediately favored mask campaigns followed by vaccination campaigns in the spring. With COVID-19, Mohamed and Hill also had to navigate a tense social climate after a summer of mourning and protests for the deaths of several unarmed black men caused by police. “As women of color we came in when there was so much chaos and we were able to create space and opportunity for the whole student body”, Said Mohamed.
“Most of our goals are either achieved or close,” Mohamed said. “Like the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity program, we are in the process of creating a course.”
There will always be new issues requiring SGA’s attention. For the next fall semester, Mohamed said, “Not only will the college have to deal with the virus, but the college will also have to deal with half of the student body feeling productive online and half of the student body preferring them. in person.
Nevertheless, Mohamed is reassured that SGA is led by a motivated and well-equipped team. On April 21, Tenzin Tsundu ’22 was elected student body president alongside Caleb Davis ’24 as vice president for the 2021-2022 school year.
“The two people who will become leaders next year have been in our administration and have watched us this year – learning what we have done well and what we could have improved,” Mohamed said. “If they represent the student body, then they have done their job.”