Op-ed: Northeastern deserves uniteNU


Suchira Sharma and Paulina Ruiz

Suchira Sharma and Paulina Ruiz

Suchira Sharma still remembers the day Collin Walter joined SGA three years ago. She was running the first Senator education workshop, and Collin walked up to her afterward. He had a dozen questions on how the organization worked. But she will always remember his last question: “How do I make a difference?”

This captures what makes Collin the ideal candidate to be our next Student Body President. He seeks to understand the ways things operate in order to change them. He is driven by working alongside stakeholders. Also, he is always someone who puts his own ambitions last. Northeastern deserves a selfless leader.

Since then, as student body president and vice president, we have only seen his passion for SGA and Northeastern grow stronger. If a student brings a concern to him, he works tirelessly until it’s resolved. And that’s clear from his accomplishments. As a senator representing the College of Science, he drafted legislation to hold elected officials more accountable, sparking a conversation to revise SGA’s governing documents. It’s because of him that the organization now has a transparent process of revision every year.

He also worked closely on SGA’s signature tool for advocacy — the Budget Priorities Survey. Under his leadership, we saw a record-breaking level of participation. He increased the number of Student Leadership Access Award scholarships offered by SGA and the number of applicants, and thereby made pursuing leadership opportunities at the university more affordable for students across campus. He also played a crucial role in unveiling the new SGA website, which has drastically changed the way SGA maintains accountability and transparency. Northeastern deserves creativity.

Collin, a rising senior, is someone who has a wide breadth and depth of experience. He is rooted to his values. Because he believes in civic engagement, he served on the executive board of Generation Citizen. Because he believes in reforming academic policy, he served as the primary representative to meet with his college dean. Because he believes in Northeastern, he has spent three years advocating for change from every single facet of student government — as a senator, committee member and executive board member. Northeastern deserves devotion.

No one is more qualified to lead our Senate than the woman who sat at the front of the room, directed Senators on procedure and served as a role model for our organization. Nina Kalantar is an example of an empowered woman working to make change in our organization and university. She uses her experience as a woman of color to guide her advocacy.

Last year, we shattered the glass ceiling of SGA elections by becoming the first all-female slate elected to office. We must continue that progress. We cannot slip into old habits. Nina is dedicated to ensuring marginalized voices are heard in Senate, in SGA, and at the table with administrators. Nina’s approach to everything is intentional, and our student government needs her conscientiousness in progressing forward. Northeastern deserves representation.

At the start of her term as parliamentarian, Nina already knew how she wanted to make an impact on our student government. After serving for a year as an active special-interest Senator for the International Relations Council, Nina identified problems with the way SGA was governed. She noticed that internal, structural issues were preventing SGA from serving students the best it could. Instead of just noticing issues, Nina acted on her concerns. She started formulating the Legislative Review Committee. Northeastern deserves innovation.

We have had the pleasure of working with both slates over the course of the last year. Having served in the roles at stake, we know that experience and dedication matter in SGA leadership. With a combined six years as students at Northeastern, five years in SGA and two years serving in SGA leadership positions, uniteNU are best suited to competently serve the student body. Northeastern deserves experience.

Collin and Nina have had very different roles in the organization, exposing them to multiple facets of the work that we do. As our executive director of communications, Collin has had experience with event programming, internal budgeting, student group outreach, strategic planning, executing projects and marketing.

As an active senator for the College of Science, Collin had experience writing legislation and with SGA’s internal governance. With his service on the Academic Affairs committee, Collin is the only candidate with knowledge of academic policy and experience advocating for academic change that affects every student at Northeastern.

As a special-interest Senator, Nina has learned about student group engagement and representation in SGA. As our parliamentarian, she gained experience in appeals, our governing documents and Senate procedure — crucial components for the role of Student Body VP. Northeastern deserves versatility.

This election isn’t just about individuals. Collin and Nina understand that change is best accomplished when we work together to push for progress. uniteNU is about all of us, as a community, uniting together for change. Northeastern deserves uniteNU.

Suchira Sharma is a fourth-year management and finance double major, and president of the student body.

Paulina Ruiz is a third-year psychology major with a minor in political science, and vice president of the student body.