The realm of politics and voting may seem worlds away. Our minds usually go straight to Washington, D.C., when we hear the word “Congress.” While there are big-ticket decisions going on many miles away, there are topics being discussed right on this campus by our own student body’s personal Congress. Recently, elections took place for next year’s officers. The new Student Congress president and vice president for the 2019-2020 school year sat down for an interview with aims for the students of Hope College to get to know them better. President-elect Chandler Alberta and vice presidentelect Aubrey Wilson share some of their experiences and stories with Student Congress over the past years.
What was your role in Congress, and what will it be next year?
Alberda: “My role for the 2018-19 school year was Vice President, which we have shifted, so I manage all of Congress. I put together agendas and make sure that everything on the president’s docket is on schedule. I organize meetings, organize the groups and make sure that the flow of everyone’s job is going smoothly. It would be Jason Gomory, the old president’s, job to work with faculty, and then it would be my job to bring it to Congress and make sure that we keep on working on those things. As I become the president, those roles will change, so I will be more of a liaison between the students and administration. I will begin working with the administration more, learning what they’re working on and bridge that gap.”
Wilson: “My role right now is the Sophomore Representative, and I was the Freshman representative last year. I represented the Sophomore Class opinions, views, beliefs, backgrounds and bring them to Congress when we’re talking over things, debriefing and brainstorming. I also hold the role of Task Force Leader, and my task force is Internal and External Affairs. So we do the social media. My team runs all the pop-up events, which is when you walk past the Bultman, and there’s donuts on the patio, and those sorts of things. I will be stepping into what Chandler’s role is right now: bridging the gap between general Congress and her new role.”
Why did you decide to get involved in Student Congress?
Alberda: “I got involved at the Student Activities Fair freshman year. I saw the table and walked up because I had been the Student Council President at my high school, so I was thinking that it would be the same kind of role, which is not what I found at all. SAC is more like a Student Council type of deal. I thought I would just be throwing events, and in my first few meetings of student congress I quickly found out that that was not what it was at all. So it definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I wasn’t sure if that was something I really wanted to be a part of. Then sophomore year I was in SAC and Student Congress, so I was able to experience both of those things in a higher education aspect, and I found that I really enjoyed Congress a lot. You learn so much about how to handle issues and conflict and how to work with people who are both above you and below you. There are so many different aspects to what your purpose is in Congress, and this was something just new and different that I found myself falling in love with.”
Wilson: “I was Class President in high school, so this was another spectrum, the next step. I didn’t know about it when I first came to campus as a freshman, and second semester I was like ‘oh, I’ll do it!’ I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I thought ‘yeah, we help make things run smoothly on campus,’ which is not it at all. It’s very much bridging the gap between faculty, administration and students and then just entertaining students.”