By Contributing Writer Jeremy Bedient
Perhaps I’m a bit biased, but I love the Student Senate. I got involved in this organization a week into my time here at NJIT after my NSO peer leader encouraged me to join. Serving as Freshman Resident Representative gave me a perspective on this university that can only be found as a member of Senate. I knew after that year that I wanted to lead this organization one day, and that day came sooner than expected when I took over as president this past September. As a sophomore, I was ill-prepared to be the president, but came in willing to step up to the challenge knowing that I had a terrific executive board by my side.
Our greatest weakness coming into the year was how new we all were to our positions and to Senate as a whole. We had to learn quickly what our roles entailed and make our plans for the year while juggling the day to day responsibilities of our positions. Our inexperience was certainly a weakness, but I believe it was also our greatest strength. We questioned why things were done, and would not take “because that’s how it’s always been done” as an answer. This led us to create changes to the organization to adapt it to the current needs of the students.
If you ask anyone on our executive board, they’ll tell you that this was a clean up year. We cleaned up our finances after years of poor management, changed our system of overseeing student organizations, and made changes to our constitution that had remained more or less the same for the past decade. With these changes, we have a more concrete vision for the future, and the structures to make that vision a reality.
Not all of the work we did this year was internally focused. This semester, the Senate-funded Highlander Hub platform was launched and is already being used by thousands of students to connect with their organizations, and everything else our campus has to offer. The Add/Drop date was extended thanks to work from our Academic Affairs committee and now students can have more freedom in changing their schedules. Dozens of our senators attended meetings with faculty, staff, and administrators to provide student perspectives and influence the direction of the university. This is by no means all that we accomplished this year, but shows the wide array of things that Senate has been up to.
I’m incredibly proud of what we did this year, and even more excited for what the next Senate will do. Serving as president took me outside of my comfort zone and challenged me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. If it weren’t for my faith, and the support of friends, the executive board, and administrators like Dean Boger [Dean of Students] and Kristie Damell [Director of Student Life], I wouldn’t have made it through the term. I’m thankful for all of these people and their friendship, advice, and willingness to stand by me through such a big year.
With elections being over, I look at the new executive board and see such incredible potential for Senate. Their leadership will bring this organization to new heights, and far exceed anything that we did this year. I look forward to seeing how they’ll serve our amazing student body and shape their undergraduate experience.
Photo by Noah Benipayo