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Why I Really Joined Student Government

PHOTO/ CLAS Student Government - Facebook
PHOTO/ CLAS Student Government – Facebook

By Nissim Said, president of CLAS Student Government

Published: March 28th, 2018 

I wish I could tell you I knew what I was getting myself into. I wish I could tell you I was a lifelong advocate for the betterment of the minority. I wish I could tell you I felt a higher purpose calling upon me to serve. I wish I could tell you I appreciated my responsibilities. I wish I could tell you that I joined with an agenda of ideas and changes ready to propose. I wish I could tell you I took it seriously right out of the gates. 

Regretfully, I cannot admit to any of those things. I joined student government for the food, and stayed to make a difference. But there is no zealot like the convert.

A selfish outspoken kid with an ego the size of Montana. Only once I became president, it felt real for me. The failures of our government would fall on my shoulders. Chiefly responsible for all our actions & activities.

While I did not understand where the journey would take me, I did indeed arrive. You don’t need the leadership qualities, you don’t need the portfolio of accomplishments.

If you have vision, a desire to serve others, you will succeed. Everything else; the skills, the tools, everything is given to you. I guarantee you will be equipped to put any idea into action. Student government is transformative. You will not be the same person at the end of your term. 

You can do this. You can be the next set of leaders who work toward a better future for all. The journey begins with the decision to serve. If your intentions are good, willing to work for it, there is no limit to the change you alone can create. Every idea, big or small needs a willing advocate.

The only position that requires past experience is the presidency. There’s a great deal to lose if an inexperienced student assumed this office. The college governance structure relies on student leadership bringing ideas forward and speaking truth to power. No president can truly advocate for others if they do not understand the issues and the complex political structure within the City University of New York (CUNY).

You’ll also burn out. I’ve spent on average 15 hours a week being required to physically attend a meeting or event. You’ll spend long nights, and stressful weekends reading policies, reports, bylaws, memorandums, moratoriums & governing documents. If you can’t make that commitment, you are doing a disservice to your constituents.

I hope you choose to continue the fight. To pursue the goal of creating a better Brooklyn College. The success of our institution is secured by the commitments of hardworking administrators, faculty and students working together to find common solutions.

I was not able to create all the change I had hoped for. I have more than a few regrets. Yet, I am confident in our future. We’ve planted the seeds of change. If I’m remembered as the worst CLAS President of the next decade, I have succeeded.

If you’re interested, please email CLASStudentGovernment@gmail.com for more information about running for office.

Pick up your petitions to seek your place on the ballot. The deadline is April 2nd. Elections will run from April 23rd to April 30th.

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