Taylor Wichtendahl, Staff Writer
Fourth Estate caught up with Student Body President Khushboo Bhatia and Vice President Ali Zaidi to find out what’s coming up next for Student Government (SG) at Mason this semester.
Last month, the organization started things off by hosting its first of several lunches with President Cabrera. Happening monthly this semester, these lunches are intended to provide fifteen students the opportunity to meet with President Cabrera for an hour and a half to discuss issues that matter to them.
According to Bhatia, Student Government began hosting these lunches as a way to connect students with prominent faculty members. “One big goal that Ali and I had coming into our roles this year was to be able to connect students directly to our university’s administration, in an effort to encourage students to hold our administration accountable,” Bhatia said.
The next lunches will be held October 26 at Ike’s, November 11 at the Globe and December 4 at Southside. Students may register on the Student Government website. Spots are available on a first come first serve basis.
Student Government has several other plans in the works as well, including the continuation of its famous What Do You Want Wednesdays (WDYWW). According to SG’s website, What Do You Want Wednesday “allows Mason students and Student Government to interact in a one on one basis to facilitate conversation regarding desired changes or questions about campus issues.” The goal of this program is to get direct feedback from students to share with administration.
Student Government will also be hosting its annual Fall Academic Advising Expo October 22, which provides students with an opportunity to meet with advisors and ask questions before registering for spring classes.
Additionally, Student Government will be hosting Night Walk on Oct. 29 and Witch Watch on Oct. 31. At Night Walk SG members will walk around the Fairfax Campus with Mason administrators to identify potential safety concerns, which students will later compile into a report to be shared with various Mason offices. Witch Watch is a festival open to all Mason students and members of the local community that will feature games, activities, and chances to win prizes. This Student Government tradition is an popular Halloween event on campus.
In November, SG will bring the #PatriotsinAction Week back to Mason, which raises awareness for sexual assault and gender violence. This year’s Week of Action will focus on encouraging Patriots to stand up against interpersonal violence and sexual assault.
Student Government will also take part in Mason’s yearly pep rally, Gold Rush/HOOPLA, happening November 13. This spirit-filled collaborative event hosted by Student Government, Mason Athletics and the Patriot Activities Council will take place just before the men’s basketball team plays its first home game of the season. Free t-shirts will be provided.
At the end of November, Student Government will host its annual Deans and Provost Dinner, where members of Student Government will be discussing important issues with academic administrators.
Bhatia and Zaidi say Student Government is looking forward to hosting these events and providing Mason students with opportunities to get involved. According to its website, SG’s main initiatives include being accountable to students, fostering a positive culture of safety and student well-being and building Patriot Pride by improving the student experience for both on-campus and off-campus students. Members also hope to build a community that embraces diversity and to ensure student success both during and after college.
Mason students can take part in SG activities by joining the Executive Cabinet, Student Senate or Elections and Disputes Commission. Obtaining any of these positions requires that a student be appointed by other SG members.
Those currently involved with Student Government have a lot to say about why the organization is a great way to get involved at Mason.
“Being involved in Student Government has allowed me to have a direct impact on the student body and the University as a whole,” Greg Warren, chair of the University Services Committee, said. “This has allowed me to get so much more out of my time at Mason and has prepared me for many different lines of work down the road.”
Another member, Jessica Green, chair of the Academics Committee, says joining SG helped her to grow as an individual. “The experiences that I’ve had … have expanded my knowledge and helped me to develop my individuality, but still allows me to be a part of something bigger than myself,” she said.
As an off-campus student, Farah Elherazy, speaker pro-tempore of the Student Senate, sees SG as an important way to plug into what’s happening at Mason.
“Being active in student life at Mason, has allowed me as an off-campus student to truly call mason my second home,” Elherazy said.
Bhatia and Zaidi, as well as their fellow Patriots in Student Government, have been working hard to actively plan events for students and create an even better Mason experience for all.