Here at Lesley, when it comes to getting involved, we are fortunate to have a relatively small student body. This makes it possible for individual students’ voices to be heard, and to resonate with staff, faculty, and peers.
The ease with which one can jump start change here at Lesley struck me right away as a freshman. It was a total change from my high school years. At that time, there were not many opportunities for me to take on a leadership role, and the few that did exist in student government were fairly polarizing. They were positions of status, and it was simply understood that not everyone could hold one-you had to know the “right” people and present yourself the “right” way. It was very much a popularity contest below the surface.
Perhaps you can identify with this. If you came from a similar situation, or if you have a passion for making change happen, I’d encourage you to join Undergraduate Student Government (USG) for the 2019-2020 school year.
USG provided the perfect opportunity for me to become involved right away when I arrived on campus as a freshman. It got me comfortable with working with upperclassmen to reach common goals, as well as self-advocating and holding myself accountable for deadlines. I got to see the ins-and-outs of what it takes to plan a campus-wide event, and even represented USG at some of these events.
After serving as a Class of 2022 Senator for the 2018-2019 school year, I strengthened my leadership skills by working alongside knowledgeable, experienced members of the team. I was willing to learn and grow throughout my first year in USG as I participated and voted in weekly Senate meetings, gaining confidence along the way. This willingness translated well into me taking on more of a leadership role this year as a Chairperson of CLAS Affairs.
In my new position, my responsibility is to advocate for CLAS students using the experience I’ve gained, as well as reach out for help and advice when I don’t have the answers. I’m responsible for communicating students’ concerns to Dean Steven Shapiro, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, in monthly meetings. I also work on organizing opportunities for all students to voice their concerns directly to the Dean at least once a semester. I’m now directly involved in making sure students in my College are having an enjoyable and comfortable academic experience, which is incredibly rewarding. I’ll get to see the ripple effects of the changes I help put into place play out in my classes and in the larger Lesley community.
There are so many opportunities for growth like this within USG. As representatives of the student body, part of USG’s daily responsibility is to listen to and then advocate for those who may be silenced on campus. Bailey Haines, USG Vice President reiterates that “USG strives to serve as a platform for student voices to be heard on campus.” As an organization, we work to put others in the best possible position to have their needs and issues addressed by faculty members at Lesley. We start (often difficult) conversations between students and staff to continue to make sure that Lesley’s values are upheld. We always consider whether diverse identities feel safe, welcomed, and represented on campus. If ensuring that our campus remains an inclusive and comfortable place for all is important to you, joining USG is a great way to continue this work.
USG also provides an invaluable opportunity to form lasting bonds with both your peers and faculty. As a member, you’ll foster a sense of community at Lesley by planning campus-wide events for everyone to enjoy. This semester, we’ll be holding Alpaca Madness, a successful returning event from last year that brings petting zoo animals to campus for students to hold and take pictures with. USG will also be hosting a Community Halloween Party in collaboration with the Office of Community Service (OCS), a food drive in November, and stress-relief activities before finals, among other activities. Our events have a dual purpose: to strengthen the on-campus presence of USG and serve our campus and local community.
Most importantly, USG can be the lasting impression you leave on your school. After your four years here, the work you do with USG can be remembered as work that meant something; work that brought different groups of students together to have fun, that made campus a safer and more enjoyable place for all, that changed your school for the better.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, we’d love to have you join USG! Any member of the student body is invited to attend our weekly Senate meetings, which are held from 8:30-9:45 in Alumni Hall on Doble Campus. We’re also looking for organized, hard-working individuals to hold leadership positions this year. We’ll be accepting intent packets for all prospective members until September 20; elections will follow on September 23, with positions officially being announced on September 25. We encourage you to apply and see all of the good you can do.
I look forward to another successful year of USG in 2019-2020, and on behalf of myself and the rest of our team, I hope you’ll join us!