Student Association President-Elect Rudaba Ahmed’s endgame goal for the 58th is to unify campus and bridge all gaps between students, faculty, clubs and organizations.
Ahmed is a junior international student from Bangladesh. She majors in economics, accounting and finance and currently holds the position of SA Vice President for Finance.
Ahmed chose to attend SUNY Plattsburgh because of its Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited program, scholarships and opportunities.
Besides academics, she loves the small community that is SUNY Plattsburgh. She said the campus “complements the complexities of college life and the chaos,” by not succumbing to loud NY state stereotypes.
As the president-elect, Ahmed has a plethora of ideas to improve campus life and SUNY Plattsburgh as a whole.
Ahmed has a particular interest in bringing different clubs and organizations on campus together. She said there is a sense of exclusion between students that prevents new connections from happening.
“I feel like we are all so much more similar than different,” Ahmed said. “We don’t realize that because of stereotypes, [past] things that have happened on campus and just the horrible environment with this country right now. Once we’re unified, we’ll get better, grow together and be able to throw bigger and better events.”
Ahmed said more collaborations within these groups could lead to an increase in student involvement and enrollment in the future. She speculates that student involvement can improve with more activities offered outside of classes.
Ahmed said student involvement is down because the lack of incentive for students to join clubs and organizations.
As the vice president for finance, Ahmed made the senator, vice president and president roles hourly-paid positions in the revised SA constitution, which won two thirds of the majority vote from the student body in the Nov. 11 SA election.
Ahmed said compensating those involved with SA will create an incentive for others to join and give students who may have rougher financial situations a chance to get involved.
She said her role as vice president for finance required the same amount of work as her internship in Bangladesh. Therefore, the money could increase involvement while compensating SA officers for their hard work.
“[no compensation] is why you see very less competition when it comes to SA elections,” Ahmed said. “Because of that less competition, people who run just go for the position. I feel like other people who are more interested, but have financial restraints, end up going another route where they get off-campus jobs I feel like the next time we see [SA] elections, you’ll see a much higher percentage of people who run.”
The idea is currently being worked out by Ahmed and SA Adviser Bryan Hartman. Hartman has not yet had a conversation with Ahmed regarding her plans but believes the SA will be in good hands.
“We’ve had presidents who have never been involved with the SA and they’ve done incredibly well,” Hartman said. “So the fact that Ahmed has the insight she does on the services and budgets will only help her in the [president role].”
Ahmed is also looking to reward clubs and organizations for big events or services to the campus community as well. Instead of a stipend or hourly-pay rate, Ahmed wants to offer scholarships to students who are active members of the community and give awards to those who throw important events every semester. She also said raising the funds of a club or organization is an option as well. The SA currently offers scholarships to clubs or involved students who apply but on a very small scale according to Ahmed. She wants to hold a big campus events similar to the president’s gala where clubs and organizations are recognized for its work.
Ahmed wants to assist students with financial problems as much as possible, so they can worry less about tuition and bills and more about being a student. She is a supporter of the emergency student loan fund, which assists students who may be in need financially. She believes addressing those underlying is vital to student success.
“If your so worried about your finances and figuring out how your going to pay tuition and those little pills that add up, how are you going to focus or even have the mood to join anything on campus and be involved?” Ahmed said.
SA President Essence Hightower, who is disheartened with the thought of leaving SA, said she doesn’t know what to expect from Ahmed’s term as SA President.
“I do know that she has experience as vp for finance which is a very concentrated roles that asks for a lot of time out of the individual,” Hightower said. “I think she knows how the SA works, so I’m not worried.