I can remember the first day I became a student senator like it was yesterday. I was blissfully taking my evening nap in my room when suddenly, a text wakes me up to exciting news – I was elected as one of the nine student senators for the College of Engineering for the 70th session of Student Senate.
At first, I disregarded the message thinking it was a dream or a prank from a friend. But as I was beginning to fall back to sleep, I jumped out of my bed realizing it was for real! My campaigning efforts over the last two weeks had worked! With mixed emotions of excitement and suspicion, I soon called close friends asking for their confirmation if I was indeed elected. I took their responses with a grain of salt, in case it was all a big joke, but I was relieved to know that they were being truthful after viewing the results. I felt immediate reassurance — I had done it.
To provide some background, what inclined me to run was a combination of the following:
Curiosity – The Secret Sauce to Getting Started
I had a long and curious interest in knowing how our student legislative body worked and what kind of impact it had on our campus. Turns out being, they have a lot of influence.
Advocacy – You Can’t Have Google Solve All Your Problems
I was intrigued by the advocacy opportunities found within the Student Senate. I had a few friends who were previously involved in student government and spoke about the importance of representation. A friend of mine once told me, If you are not represented, your voice can’t be heard.
Leadership – It Is Better to Give Than to Receive
I was compelled to run because of a personal challenge to myself – I wanted to be the best representative for engineering students. Fast forward a year and a half later and graduation soon approaching, I know I served my time well and did my best to meet the expectations I had for myself.
Getting back to my experience, I recall being nervous for the first meeting. However, I felt excitement for the opportunity to be an advocate for engineering students. Although there was a learning curve in understanding rules and protocols, over time, I gained the confidence to speak out and pass legislation that advised and assisted the university’s administration. But relating engineering to the student senate, I would highlight the following three points:
Student Advocacy Impacts Engineering Students
As senators, we have the responsibility to call for the university to take certain courses of action or to implement specific policies that in the end help students. An example of this is the Student Rule 7 changes. Enabling job interviews to be considered excused absences is something our group has pushed for over the last few semesters and I know it will benefit many engineering students.
Diverse Perspectives Shape Campus Legislation
Everyone’s voice counts. With more than 16,000 engineering students on campus, there are people from all backgrounds, cultures, nationalities, and identities. If any concern is raised from engineering students that can make the university better and more welcoming, our goal is to represent those concerns through advocacy and deliver tangible results.
Engineering Student Representation Matters
As engineering students, we must be in the system to create the change we hope to see. Our perspective and thought process as engineers enable us to be problem-solvers and reach well-informed solutions. The engineering design process is not only reserved for solving technical problems or ENGR 111 projects – it’s for anything that needs a solution.
Students at Texas A&M University are strongly encouraged to get involved with their Student Senate and their Student Government Association. The legislative branch essentially serves as the voice of the student body and Senators need your voice to educate them on student opinion and to hold them accountable.