In my middle school government classes, my peers started calling me congresswoman Barendse as a way to tease me about my obvious obsession with politics and government. This continued into high school as students realized that my love interest in the political system was a passion I was going to continue to pursue as I went to college.
Since day one at Chapman, I knew that Student Government Association (SGA) was an area on campus in which I felt my qualifications and passions would best align. SGA blends the concepts of advocacy, leadership and inclusion into a wonderful organization that I am honored to be a part of. The timing was always off when I tried to run in past elections, until the opportunity came in the form of the special election to fill the at-large senate seat.
My initial reason for running for the position was motivated by the fact that I could represent a variety of students in senate. I am involved on campus in the orientation program, UPB, Greek life, multiple clubs and I am in Dodge, so I have had the opportunity to connect with different facets of the Chapman community. Another motivation I had in running for the position is that I believe SGA needs to increase its presence on campus as well as its relations with other organizations and clubs in order create a more unified student body. An additional section I would like to focus on is diversity programming and the ability for SGA to promote getting clubs and organizations properly Safe Space trained in order to develop a heightened sense of inclusion.
There are a multitude of projects I plan to focus on throughout the semester, such as parking, cafeteria hours, academic advising options and the class registration process. These are areas of improvement that SGA constantly seeks to improve upon although the solutions are not simplistic. I have already taken it upon myself to contact fellow students and ask what they would like to see change on our campus, because ultimately that is what matters most. I have heard suggestions such as changing the laundry system, increasing the availability of on-campus jobs, getting student discounts at places in the circle, making off-campus housing connections and providing more affordable travel course opportunities. I plan to publicize my office hours in the student union where I can meet with anyone who wants to discuss issues impacting the student body in a personalized environment.
I believe SGA has made such positive strides in a short amount of time and I wish to continue that progression as a senator for the rest of the semester. The main goal I have going into this opportunity is to stay true to the reason why I first decided to run and to always keep the best interests of the student body as my highest priority. SGA is full of inspiring and passionate leaders who make visible and impactful changes on this campus. I am looking forward to serving the Chapman community.