A new batch of Student Government Association senators were recently sworn in. They include three Freshman senators, one Communication and the Arts senator, and two senators for Arts and Sciences.
Frank Mabalatan, a junior majoring in management and political science commented his opinion on the newly sworn in senators.
“The newly sworn in senators share a keen sense [of] empathy for their fellow students,” Mabalatan said. “They seek to understand the experiences of their constituents through human connection which is crucial for any kind of public representative.”
Mabalatan, who is also the Vice President of SGA went on to say that, “additionally, they all have this service-oriented instinct that permeates through academics and extracurricular involvement which is encouraging to see in new senators.”
He went on to explain the selection process that SGA uses. “All prospective senators have to complete a Formstack application for the seat they are applying for (the vacant seats included 2 for Arts & Sciences, 1 for Communications & the Arts, and 3 Freshman seats).”
Additionally, the prospective senators are required to attend one meeting out of the three offered. Thirty-seven people applied for and completed the application requirements and then the elections committee selected twenty candidates for interviews. After interviews that lasted three days, the committee chose the candidates on September 20, the final day.
He also explained the criteria that is looked for in new senators.
“The willingness to understand the diverse array of student experiences and knowing that every student is a human with their own opinions and feelings were important things EC was looking for in a candidate,” Mabalatan said. “Additionally, EC sought candidates who possessed willingness and skill in collaboration, given that the Student Government Association is [an] organization compromised of several representatives who carry their own talents and opinions.”
The new senators include Rishi Shah, Ria Sandeep and Aminat Tokakova, who are the three new freshman senators. Sara Agudelo is the new communication and the arts senator and Angelo Cadiente and Parth Shah are the new arts and sciences senators.
Aminat Tokakova, a freshman diplomacy majors and one of the new SGA freshman senators commented on her new position.
“I am excited to make a significant impact on campus, meet so many amazing people with the same passion to improve the world around us and give back to the community,” Tokakova said. “I am excited to learn from current members of SGA how to be an effective leader and balance my time for education and organizational work.”
Rishi Shah, a freshman biology major and one of the new freshman senators also commented on his new position.
“I am most excited about being able to bring the concerns of my peers to administration and working with administration in order to make changes that better help my peers have a better experience.”
Sara Agudelo, a senior majoring in public relations and the new communication and the arts senator also commented on her new position.
“I’m most excited about seeing what changes and goals I can accomplish for the students that are part of the communication and the arts school,” Agudelo said.
Tokakova went on to explain the changes she hopes to make.
“I have joined the Student Life Committee in SGA; therefore, I want to make changes regarding the daily life on campus so that I could actually see the results of my initiatives and see the change I would bring,” Tokakova said.
“I also represent all the international students of the freshman class because I do relate to the struggles they have to face on a daily basis: homesickness, difficulties with learning English, and difficulties with adjusting to a new environment.”
Based off this, she is hoping to work on initiatives that promote diversity on campus as well as within SGA while also helping to express the voices of international students and minority students of Seton Hall.
In terms of changes, Agudelo hopes to, “find the mistakes that there are in the required curriculum and start a discussion with our dean to find new ways to improve them.”
Agudelo went on to say that she hopes to implement more accessible opportunities to get internships through the career center and have a variety of companies that can attend career fair. She concluded by commented on the selection process stating that it was “very exciting. I felt like I was interviewing for a big job and it gave me confidence in my interviewing skills.”
Shah went on to also share the ideas he hopes to implement stating, “one idea I want to implement is a platform where commuters and residents can connect better. This could be through events, a social platform, etc. I know it was tough for me as a commuter to make friends at first because I was not in the dorms and constantly with my peers and I want to change that for other people.”
He concluded by describing the selection process as “grueling and involved first an application process, and then an interview process where I was interviewed for 15 minutes.”
Tokakova concluded by explaining her opinion on the selection process.
“I was honestly very nervous when applying for the position; everyone who I knew were applying seemed to be more than qualified to be a Freshman Senator,” she said. “However, when I found out that I made it and got the position, I was beyond happy and felt extremely honored to be given the opportunity to represent my freshman class.”
Tokakova went on to say that all of the current SGA members were very enthusiastic in answering her questions.
“In general, the selection process was a little intense at times, but I knew, after all, that no position defined me and my abilities; I knew I joined SGA not just to hold a certain position but to actually improve the community I live in,” Tokakova said.
Mabaltan concluded by stating, “the prospective senator has to be a servant leader by nature. SGA senators can be very influential in their position, but that must not distract the senator from understanding who the most important person is: the student.”
Rhania Khamel can be reached at email@example.com.