Written for The Argo by Irenonsen Eigbe
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Irenonsen Eigbe, I’m a junior biology major with a concentration in Pre-Professional studies and a dance minor. The reason I’m writing this is because I’m the current Vice President of Student Senate and for the next academic year I’m running for President. With elections coming up April 19th to the 21st, I wanted to let people know who I am and what I stand for before they decide who they want as the next Student Senate President. I’ll make this as concise as possible so I don’t bore you too much.
Student Senate has been a constant throughout my time here at Stockton, but I know there are a lot of people who aren’t even aware who we are apart from the few emails you might get in your inbox. Student Senate’s main mission is to be the voice for the students when it comes to things regarding the university. We’re pretty much the go-between to deal with issues and strive to make every student’s time at Stockton as comfortable as possible.
While Senate has accomplished a lot as a whole, I also want to talk about my time on Senate and what I’ve personally been able to accomplish. During my time on Senate I’ve gone from a senator on Governmental Affairs, to Chairperson of Governmental Affairs, and now Vice President of Senate. I was able to plan and co-moderate a US presidential debate between the Democratic and Republican clubs and add the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to the Senate constitution. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee was an idea Senate had for a while and was finally able to implement when I wrote the necessary amendments and ran it by my committee for the full Senate to pass.
Another big accomplishment was Senate’s Continue the Movement March and Rally which started as a Governmental Affairs event, but turned into a collaboration with the new Diversity and Inclusion committee as it focused not only on civic engagement but social justice. With this event, I wanted the Stockton community to had a reminder that all the things that happened in the summer of 2020 were still ongoing and that we shouldn’t stop our activism because the attention has died down. Although I did have help from other senators, much of this organizing was on me and I was able to put it together with almost no prior in person event planning experience. This event ended up being so successful in commemorating the activism of past Black figures that it is now an annual Senate Black History Month event that I organized again this year as Vice President with the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
When I had brought to the attention of Senate in fall of 2020 that the Board of Trustees was planning to vote on the academic calendar for Spring of 2021 without a spring break, we had all been upset for a variety of reasons. Not only did Senate not find out until I told them one of my professors was talking about it, but we felt students were losing a much needed mental health break given that there were almost no days off in the spring. I had ended up going to the Board of Trustees meeting to voice my thoughts after Senate was told at our meeting the day before it was being voted on. Although they voted before opening up for public comments, it was still important that I let them know that how they had voted did not have the student body’s best interest in mind.
Going along with my advocacy of student mental health is the Destress with Senate event I co-hosted with SET, Gaming Club, and CLAWS to give people a break before finals week in the fall. Over a hundred students were able to act like kids for a few hours and win prizes to help relax from games like rock paper scissors, red light green light, and four corners.
As Senate president, I hope to continue taking part in these events I’ve put together, bring back and create new ones, and continue to communicate with the administration when I feel they aren’t hearing what the students have to say or including Student Senate in important conversations that affect the student body. Along with this, I’ll strive to mesh Student Senate into the community of Stockton through partnerships with clubs and Greek organizations on events and volunteering opportunities. Through this, it’s my hope that Senate can become more well known around campus as a group that is easy to approach about any topic.
Within Senate, I plan to use what I’ve picked up through my community and event organizing to delegate tasks that need to be done and lead with enthusiasm, empathy, and openness to ideas. Learning from previous years, I will also make sure Senate has goals throughout the academic year to make sure we are following the responsibilities of Senate and on track with tasks that have a specific timeline. College may mostly be about getting your degree, but I want to make sure everyone including the senators are able to have the most fun they can while doing so. If you feel based on what I’ve said that I would make a great Student Senate President, please make sure to vote for me on Ospreyhub when the email from Student Senate comes out at noon on April 19th. If you see me around campus, don’t be afraid to say hi and ask if I still have any of my campaign stickers!!