International Student Senator Candidate

Serena Ikemhe Elijah

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Serena Ikemhe Elijah

Sophomore, BS Aerospace Engineering

"I believe that being international is a sacrifice and not a privilege, and I am dedicated to increasing the quality of life of international students. My name is Serena, and I am a first-semester sophomore, the current secretary for the African Students Association, and a member of I.S.O, F.B.L.A, B.S.A and N.S.B.E. I am multilingual, a pianist, and maybe an expert at Sudoku. I want to serve you as an International senator because I know so much more can be done for International Students, such as addressing our career needs, by having more inclusive hiring companies at career fairs, dedicated career services advisors for internationals, creating a professional club for internationals students with resources and contact with international alumni and also our social needs by allocating funds and offering support to our events; Diwali, Coming2Africa, International Education Week, etc. and bringing more diverse artists, event hosts, and celebrations to the campus. If I get this position, I hope to be a voice for the international community and serve the international student body."

  • What makes you a qualified candidate for this position?

    "Most importantly, I am an international student. It is in my best interest that if I get elected as International Senator, I do a good job because I will experience the consequences of my actions nonetheless. I am presently the secretary of the African Students Association, an active member of the International Students Organization, and I recently went to the Florida International Leadership Conference. This shows that I am currently involved with international groups and students, and I have some experience leading an international group of students. Last semester, I took a Rhetoric class and am currently in a Speech class. The course in rhetoric instructed me on how to utilize persuasive language in my writing and encourage people to take action when it is necessary. I am currently taking a Speech class that helps me improve on communication in my writing to an audience. Also, during the collection of signatures, I learned to express gratitude in the languages of the various international students that signed for me. Although this was just a step, I hope it shows I am open to understanding unfamiliar aspects of various cultures, cultivating connections, and fostering inclusiveness."

  • What is the purpose of the SGA Student Senate?

    "The purpose of a student government association (SGA) senate is to serve as a representative body for the student population and to advocate for their interests and needs. The senate is typically composed of elected representatives from various departments or schools within our university. The SGA senate plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between the administration and the student body, by providing a platform for students to voice their concerns and propose solutions to issues that affect their academic and social experiences. They also have the power to allocate funds to student organizations and events, approve new policies, and work with the administration to improve campus life. Additionally, the senate serves as a training ground for student leaders, providing them with opportunities to develop leadership skills, public speaking, and organizational management. It also fosters a sense of community and civic engagement among students as they work together to enhance the campus experience for their constituents."

  • How do you plan to elevate and communicate issues that your constituents are concerned about to the Senate?

    "To properly communicate my constituent's issues to the senate, I first have to communicate with my constituent, so I can know what the issues they're facing are. I intend to communicate with my constituents through their clubs and sports activities. I intend to keep in touch with all the presidents and vice presidents of all minority/international clubs, such as B.R.A.S.A, S.A.S.E, I.S.O, etc. My plan is for them to communicate with their members during meetings and forward their concerns and issues to me. I also plan to attend their meetings as frequently as possible but at least twice a semester. I also know that many international students play football (or soccer as it is here), and I intend to attend most of their matches and other activities to foster a relationship with them. If possible, I also plan on having a mini radio talk show with WIKD where students can call or text their concerns live to a dedicated phone number, and I give bi-weekly updates on my plans and actions I'm taking. However, I also understand that some students still don't participate in extracurricular activities due to one reason or the other. So I intend on sending out a private anonymous form to each and every international student via email (don't worry, I'll make sure there is no "reply all") where students can put in their contact information if they choose to, voice their concerns to me or simply ask for directions for resources. Once I have collected their issues. I would present it to the senate with possible solutions."

  • How will you improve the ERAU experience for your constituents?

    "I intend to improve my constituents' ERAU experience by being an influential senator. I intend to create a file like this shared on OneDrive with all the resources available to my constituents. This file would be an encyclopedia-like document (it will contain resources available to my constituents in alphabetical order). I also intend on promoting my position through flyers and occasional tabling, that way they are aware of my position and will communicate the ways they would like me to improve their experience at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Also, if I get elected as international senator, I will immediately begin communicating with the SGA senate on pressing issues of international students such as lack of funding for International student conferences, housing exemptions for international minors, communicating the consequences of these issues to the senate, and possible solutions to these issues. I also intend on improving their experience by making their voices count by sending out a monthly anonymous online evaluation form for them to evaluate their experiences, my performance as their senator, and put in any feedback or comments they might have."