Student Government Association (SGA) Diplomacy Senator and diplomacy and international relations major Jacob Abel is wrapping up his last term in SGA this year. Abel, one of the most senior members of SGA in time and rank, leaves behind years of hard work and a team to recall their fondest memories with him in SGA.
SGA President and junior finance major Rishi Shah shared many special times with Abel.
“My time working with Jacob was inspirational,” Shah said. “He has been by my side since day one and has helped me grow tremendously as a leader.
Jacob is serious about his work and puts 150% into every initiative he takes on.”
Working together in SGA compelled a friendship to form between Shah, Abel and their colleague and friend, SGA Senator Bill Kuncken. Shah could not believe his luck when the entire trio had been elected to serve on the SGA.
“A few moments stick out with Jacob, I remember when we first joined SGA as Ad-Hocs, we both wanted to be Freshmen Senators. Jacob and Bill lived in a dorm together and I had a room right across from them,” Shah recalled.
“I believe around 60 or so freshmen applied and only three would be selected. I woke up on Saturday morning with an email congratulating me for getting the seat and I immediately thought ‘oh my god, they probably didn’t get it.’ I get a call from Jacob and both of us were a bit hesitant thinking one of us didn’t get the seat, it turned out all three of us got it!”
Shah feels fortunate to serve with and to have gained a friend in Abel.
“More recently, Jacob and I were able to present to the Board of Regents Student Affairs Committee for the first time on behalf of SGA,” Shah reflected. “It was honestly amazing to see how much we accomplished throughout the last three terms and how much we have grown as leader.”
It made me reflect on why we were so passionate to begin,” Shah continued.
“I am honored to have someone like Jacob in my life as a friend and as an inspiration. As sad as I am to no longer serve with Jacob in SGA, his contributions will not go unnoticed.”
Abel has similar sentiments about his SGA colleagues and memories.
“My time in SGA has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” he said. “The people I have served with over the three years I have been in the organization have helped me grow so much. SGA really became my family and I am so appreciative for the time I have had to serve the student body.”
SGA has met his expectations since joining his freshman year, and also surprised him.
“Being the Diplomacy Senator and Senate Speaker has met my expectations in certain ways and surprised me in others,” Abel said. “I very much expected to complete the tasks that are described in our by-laws for each role.However, I didn’t expect to be able to work so closely with so many different groups and administrators. I think this is a testament to how hard SGA has worked over the last several years, that we now have a presence in so many different venues. You can really learn a lot about yourself by serving in these roles and the position is really what you make of it. I think SGA has a lot of good work to come and the sky is the limit.”
Abel felt inspired to join SGA for a desire to make a difference on campus.
“I was inspired to join SGA because I wanted to make a difference on campus. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a freshman senator and I have hit the ground running from there,” he explained.
Abel went on to say that the people already in SGA had inspired him as well.
“I was able to work very closely with Vinay Trambadia who served as PR Chair and Senate Speaker before I was able to fill both those roles,” Abel said. “I was able to learn a lot by working closely with him. It was also an inspiration to work so closely with so many driven people throughout my three years in SGA.”
Working with the people that he did, helped motivate him. “I firmly believe that change starts at the local level and I think SGA has been able to make a lot of change over the last three years,” Abel said.
Abel gave words to impart those who will continue serving after him.
“As I have told our members in the past they should always remember that they represent the students and that they should always fight for the interests of students,” he said. “While many of the projects we are working on can take a long time to complete and require us to work through multiple different departments it is all worth it in the end.”
“It’s always important to rely on one another for strength and guidance. You can really learn a lot about yourself by serving in these roles and the position is really what you make of it. I think SGA has a lot of good work to come and the sky is the limit.”
Kaitlyn Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.