Our Impact

It's hard to believe that my journey serving as your Student Body President is now coming to a close. With my last day in office on May 4th (graduation), I wanted to close the loop on our promises from last year, and where we landed on them. 

Paulina and I firmly believe that what you heard from us on the campaign trail are commitments to you, and we want to honor those in our last few days in office. 

Read more below on updates to our advocacy on the areas of Reasonable Pricing, Rights, Representation, Resources, and Relationships. For one last time, thank you for your support, and your trust. 

Sincerely,

Suchira + Paulina

 

Reasonable Pricing

This year, we’ve advocated for a more affordable student experience, both inside and outside the classroom.

We’ve worked with the Provost Office and Library Services to push for change in the current administration of online homework textbooks and mandatory platforms:

  1. The university is investing $30,000 in open source material

  2. The university is running a pilot program to use open source material in place of purchased platforms in each academic college for the Fall of 2018.

We’ve also expanded the signature SGA scholarship program, awarding a record 15 incredible student leaders on campus with a $500 award for their inspiring work.

 

Rights

We’ve passed a new Student Bill of Academic Rights and Responsibilities with collaboration from the Faculty Senate, the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of General Counsel, and the Provost Office.

For the first time in 25 years, Northeastern has expanded rights of students in the classroom and on campus.

In July of 2017, the years worth of advocacy from the Sexual Assault Response Coalition and SGA has yielded change in the Title IX policy, changing from an all-student board to a staff and student board for hearings in cases of sexual violence. 

 

Representation

  1. We’ve waived the four-week requirement in our Senate to attain voting rights. Now anyone who joins Senate before the semesterly deadline, has voting rights granted right away.

  2. We’ve communicated with members from the University’s Campus Planning and Development team, and Library services on the new makerspace in the basement of Snell to ensure that students will have input regarding construction of the new space.

  3. We launched the Budget Priorities Survey this year, receiving record participation based off of a novel model of stakeholder involvement + communication

  4. Our Student Affairs committee has led the charge on launching the organization’s first ever block pARTy, celebrating music and arts groups on campus.

 

Resources

  1. We’ve advocated for more mental health clinicians -- and have received a commitment from the administration to continue staffing at national benchmark levels. 

  2. We’ve advocated for more confidential resources on campus, and have worked alongside the Sexual Assault Response Coalition to advocate for the ViSiON Resource Center to be made more accessible + confidential.

  3. We’ve implemented Trayless Dining to increase on-campus sustainability.

  4. Our Renewable Energy Initiatives Board has gained representation from across the university and has passed legislation to increase the number of trees on campus.

  5. Our Student Affairs committee is working towards a mobile application to foster community and student group connectivity.

  6. We were able to connect with administrators who are working to make the campus more accessible, and who are committed to continuing to gather our feedback in this important area. 

  7. Our Student Involvement Board and Finance Board has created regular meetings with leadership from the Center for Student Involvement to discuss student group needs -- such as the much needed access to organization pro-cards.

 

Relationships

  1. We marched at the Boston Pride Parade, and held the second annual rainbow flag raising ceremony -- unveiling a new flag that celebrated the diversity + intersectionality of our student body.

  2. We held regular open meetings with NUPD to discuss policing policy in and around campus.

  3. We built constant contact with campus cultural and community centers, advocating for more funding to be made available to them, which was successfully approved through the Budget Priorities process.

  4. We promoted Student Athletics, by building contact with the Student Athletics Advisory Council.

  5. We met with members of the Young Alumni Board and Young Global Leaders program to advocate for physical alumni clubs to be created around the world, connecting current, future, and past students of Northeastern.

25 years.

It was about 1am on a cold night in January. I found myself scrolling through an old Sharepoint site. Why I was on it at 1am in the morning? You'd have to know a lot more about me to answer that question. Mostly just that I find myself most productive on Friday nights. 

I found an old SGA bill on the page, from 1992. "The Student Bill of Rights" said the title. I was intrigued. I didn't even know I had a bill of rights beyond what was in the federal Constitution. So, like any resourceful millenial, I googled it. "Northeastern Student Bill of Rights" I typed into google. Here's what came up: 

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Yup. You read that right. passed in 1992. And this is the most recent version we've got. 

Instantly, I knew I wanted to make this a big part of Paulina's + my platform. This is incredible tool that has the potential to empower students in the classroom and on campus. 25 years has been far too long. 

From there, our original idea took off in ways we never imagined. We'd speak about our platform to potential voters. We'd explain to them how we wanted to expand explicit rights for international students in the area of language services, how we wanted to detail Title IX provisions, how we wanted to ensure that students with differing levels of abilities had what they needed to succeed. And every time we talked to someone, we walked away with even more ideas: formalized rights for our DACA students, rights for our Student Athletes, the right to not have to pay to do your homework. 

So it really became a simple choice. This is an initiative, a historic event, that touches the lives of every single undergraduate student. Regardless of background, or identity, it's our job to ensure that you're protected in the classroom and on campus. So you'll find us on campus throughout the fall. We want your feedback, your voice to help craft your rights. That's what's at the heart of this initiative: an enduring belief that we, as students, deserve a say in our rights on campus. 

So lend us your voice. Give us your feedback. Join the conversation. It's been 25 years. It's time for us to define our rights. Check out this page for more information + updates regarding the initiative. 

This team.

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Welcome week is usually a time of absolute chaos in our office. This is my third year on cabinet, so I've seen the 332 turn from organized desks, to a place where giveaways are everywhere, and you can barely make it back to your desk without stepping on boxes, or sign up sheets. 

I'm not saying that's not a good sign -- messiness shows movement, productivity even -- indicates a much-needed lack of complacency. 

But, this year, things were different. The office was still organized when I walked in after co-op today. Our couch didn't have boxes all over it. 

I was met by Collin, our Director of Communications telling me about his next steps for working with the Office of Global Services for our semesterly Outreach event, Husky Takeover -- a first of its kind partnership for our organization. 

Kara, our Chief of Staff, told me about her plan to restart an old mentorship program, to foster inclusion throughout our senate. 

Brian still had his sign from Fall Fest on his desk, that encouraged students who couldn't find the club they were looking for, to make their own by working with our Student Involvement Board. 

Sahil was working all day on his preparing for his first Campus Safety Dialogue, the continuation of a pioneering initiative by our Student Services committee to bring NUPD administrators and students in the same room to discuss community policing practices. 

You see, I realized why things weren't the way they've always been during Welcome Week. This year, there's been something different in the air. There's been unifying commitment from our incredible cabinet and executive board, to put simply, do more. Every single individual is taking their roles to the next level, constantly asking themselves what they can do to make the lives of their peers better. 

I am so humbled to be leading such a team. Going into the office is a breath of fresh air knowing that I'm working alongside some of the most passionate + hardworking individuals at Northeastern. 

Thank you to my incredible Cabinet for making 332 always feel like home. We've got quite the year ahead of us. 

Convocation 2017

You will decide what your role is in Northeastern’s story. You will decide how to shape not just our school’s history, but the world’s. Because Northeastern is a place where you can truly change the world.

I had an incredible time welcoming the 120th entering class at Convocation yesterday. Watch my speech from this link (starting at the 10 minute mark), or read below!

Good morning everyone, and welcome, Northeastern’s 120th entering class!

Just a few moments ago, you all stood up from your seats. I want you to remember that moment for the years to come: that feeling of pride as you stood with your peers. That pride is unmatched. It is what makes our Northeastern community so characteristically unique. You stand tall knowing that you are not just among the best and the brightest, but more importantly, among the most passionate and driven.

At a university where change is the only constant, the people have always been its greatest tradition.

During my freshman year, a senior said to me, “Northeastern is a rocket ship, it only goes up.” It’s something I remember to this day.

The same, to a certain extent, can be said about the world we’re living in. We are moving at an unprecedented pace when it comes to connection and content.

But I must ask -- what are we moving so quickly towards?

Well, Northeastern’s newest class, that is for you to decide. How will you choose to move our world, and our campus, forward?

My favorite professor at Northeastern reminded me last year that you have two lives to live: one that you are given, and one that you make for yourself.

In these next few years, you will choose, you will create, this second life for yourself. You will decide what your role is in Northeastern’s story. You will decide how to shape not just our school’s history, but the world’s. Because Northeastern is a place where you can truly change the world.

Make these decisions by first choosing to stand up, just like you did moments ago. Stand up for what’s right. Stand up for your peers. And stand up against tired conventions, and restricting norms. Our world needs it.

Make these decisions by stepping in. Be part of the conversation. Develop a voracious appetite for questions, be unyielding in your conviction, and always seek to innovate. You don’t have to start your own company, or have a world-renowned co-op. All you must do to innovate, is to leave the space you occupy -- whatever that may be -- a classroom, a co-op, a student organization, a team, better than you found it. This could mean creating a new signature event, or simply improving upon an existing process. It could even mean giving feedback to a friend or joining together to help others. Your small acts of kindness, your short inches of progress, are what keeps this university moving ever forward. By being driven by the pursuit of making your home a better place, you can change the world.

Finally, after having stood up and having stepped in, reach out, and create your story. You are only as good as the people you inspire. Make your place in Northeastern’s narrative immortal, by inspiring people to carry on your work, people who will scale it to places beyond your imagination.

Pebbles in a pond cast ripples into an ocean. Value the role you play in Northeastern’s story, and believe in your capacity to create positive change. The future of this university is now in your hands. And thus, the future of our world, is now yours to create.

To our 120th entering class -- welcome to Northeastern. History is yours to write.

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My Projects

This year, I'll be working on the following projects. I'll be reporting on my progress as the year goes on. Come by 332 Curry to chat, or send me an email if you want more information or like involved!

Updating our Student Bill of Rights for the first time in 25 years. 

Advocating for more confidential resources on campus for survivors of sexual assault.

Creating a transparent + intentional Budget Priorities Survey. 

Raising the Pride Flag on Centennial for the entire month of OUTober.

Writing legislation to change Columbus Day --> Indigenous People's Day. 

Creating stronger connection with Student Athletics. 

Reviewing Northeastern Policing policy.

Creating contacts with Campus Cultural + Resource Centers

Recognizing Northeastern students through the Student Leadership Access Awards.

Advocating for the creation of Northeastern Alumni Clubs.

Creating a network of student leaders

Communicating transparently, efficiently, and promptly.

A short summer.

During our Summer II Senate on August 14th, I gave an address that served as a homage to truly the best time of year -- the summer. 

As my friends will tell you I fricken love summer. I grew up in New Jersey where summer months were characterized by long nights, long run, and spending every possible moment outside in the sun. 

So, as I began to think about my address, I knew it had to be about summer. Here's what I said: 

"To me, summer represents three things: growth, relaxation, and building community. This year, those three things took new meaning to me as I approached my role in SGA. 

I'm happy to say I saw a lot of growth this summer for our organization. We partnered with new student groups. We started communicating with campus centers 1:1 for the first time. And our membership grew. I know this is only the beginning. 

This summer, we built community. We started work on our fall initiative, finding a cause worth students unifying behind. We started work on our Budget Priorities Survey, reaching out to new communities to get their feedback on the process. We met with the Young Alumni Board to collaborate with our Alumni community. 

Though this summer was productive, I did find some time for the last bit of summer -- relaxation. I had an incredible time planning our cabinet retreat. I'm proud of our team and what they have accomplished in just these few short months. 

I ask you all to do the same -- think about your last few weeks of summer. Take time to grow, build community, and relax. There's a lot to be excited about this year."

Happy end of summer Huskies -- this usually bittersweet time for me, is a lot sweeter for me this year -- after all, I've got the best job in the world to look forward to. 

 

Welcome, Orientees

Good morning everyone and welcome to Northeastern!

Three years ago, I sat where you all do today, feeling nervous, apprehensive, but somehow sure of exactly what I wanted out of Northeastern: I wanted to graduate from the business school, I wanted to be involved on campus, but not too involved,  and I wanted to call Boston my home, as soon as humanly possible.

Lucky for me, none of these things happened as I had planned: I ended up switching my field of study, finding myself pulled towards new paths I had never before envisioned. I ended up getting “overly involved” on campus, drawn by the many amazing communities and opportunities. And while Boston did begin to feel like home from the moment I set foot here that fall, it was the people who cheered me on and supported me every step of the way that made it a true home, one filled with family.

To me, these are the things that make  Northeastern so extraordinary. Here, it is never too late to pursue new and growing passions: whether it be through the incredible diversity of our student organizations on campus, or the wide breadth of classes and programs offered – there is an incredible amount of flexibility and support that gives you the ability to get up any morning and change your once-determined course entirely. Here at Northeastern, you are the architects and the authors of your own story.

My favorite part about Northeastern has been listening to other students talk about their experiences: a friend sorting out her visa paperwork because she’s working for an international venture capital firm. Another friend having the experience of a lifetime joining a student group, discusses how leadership changed her life and helps her approach problems in the classroom, and now, the real world. Another friend, tells me how his experience working abroad for a non-profit made him realize just how small this world is, and that action + empathy working hand in hand can create an incredible catalyst for change.   

Hearing people share their stories and passions is infectious. When I hear these people speak, there is a light in their eyes: a genuine excitement for the future and what it holds. They are empowered by this ability to be the authors of their own journey. And that is something you will only find here.

However, these flexible support systems and the opportunities available are just one half of the equation. Which brings me to my last point: what made Boston feel like home, were the people. Northeastern is filled with the most driven, passionate, and change-seeking individuals in the entire world. I know you are part of the best class that has ever entered this University. I know you are here just waiting for the starting gun to go off, itching to make change and leave your legacies, so my only advice to you is this: in the pursuit of doing incredible things, always remember to build your team. Find the people that will support you through both the 1am spontaneous Ice Cream runs, as well as your first ever finals week. Find the people that will inspire you to do more, and dream bigger. And I challenge you to find the people that you may not find right away – these are the people you’ll meet on a study abroad and end up traveling the world with, these are the people you may never have a class with but bump into every time you go to that one club’s meeting, and these are the people in this room with you today, that you will no doubt cross paths with again in the future. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my time at Northeastern, it’s this: opportunities are everywhere. The structure to explore them is in place. But what makes Northeastern truly great, are the people who are ready to create. The people all around you who share your ambition, your drive, and your passions. So to Northeastern’s newest class, go find your team, and get to work!  

Thank you.