By: Berkeley College student Rebecca Aguilera, Marketing Communications
I started Berkeley College in Fall 2015, when Student Development and Campus Life had made the decision to revamp their Student Government Associations to benefit the students at each campus and system wide. They wanted student voices to be heard and in order to do that, they needed strong SGA Executive Boards at each campus. When I first saw the flyer go up, I began to think about how this could be something really rewarding to do for the students at my campus. But as a freshman, I thought I could never run for a SGA position this soon. I went to Dean Sherrille Shabazz, and she encouraged me to run and see what could happen.
Needless to say, Student Government has been one of the highlights of my college journey. I ended up running for a position and was voted in for President of the White Plains campus. This position allowed me to work directly with the 6 active clubs and be the voice from students to administration. I didn’t know when running for this position, how honoring it would be and how hard and bittersweet the role would be to leave. I held the President position for two years at my campus before stepping down to let a new and fresh set of students take over the executive board.
During my time in SGA, I made some of the best college friends from all 8 campuses at Berkeley College that will forever hold a special place in my heart. We were able to understand what each other was working towards. We were there to encourage one another during SGA and outside of it. We became one big family!
One of my top highlights of SGA, was the Monthly SGA system-wide Summits for Executive Board members. These summits were held at a different campus each month. This set aside time for all the SGA students to get together to see what was happening at each campus, what issues were arising system-wide, and what resolutions we could advocate for. We were able to grow in our roles as the Administration gave us the tools to be successful executive boards.
SGA made huge initiatives to plan events on campus and make each campus feel like home to their students. As SGA is open to all student who meet the requirements and run for the office, this opportunity brought many students the ability to step out of their comfort zone and make a difference. From a student perspective, SGA brought some students the confidence and training to be a leader on campus. Every semester, new students would join the SGA family and it was amazing to witness student leaders be so encouraging to one another to teach and help these new members.
Back in 2015, we were new members, writing the SGA constitutions that we knew would be passed on to future executive boards. We were new executive boards willing to take any challenge that was presented to us. I had the honor to speak to the new Executive Board members for the Academic Year 2017-2018 at their Inauguration in January. As I looked into the faces of the new students, all I could think about was how back then, we were wishing for the room to be completely full like it was that day. We were laying the platform for the students in the future to have a foundation to build on and, luckily enough, I was able to inspire them.