By Daryl Yang | Image provided by AY2016/17 Yale-NUS Student Government
The Yale-NUS Student Government for the Academic Year 2016/17
The Yale-NUS Student Government was first established in February 2015. As elected members of the student body, members of the Student Government are the voices for the protection of student interests. Since it was introduced, the Student Government has published various reports internally to provide student feedback on different aspects of the student body’s academic and residential experience.
On 15 September 2016, the newly minted AY2016/17 Yale-NUS Student Government was officially sworn in. Consisting of a Student Council and Judiciary, the new Student Government comprises 17 members. At the same time, Saza Faradilla (Class of 2018) took over from Regina Marie Lee (Class of 2018) as Student Government President while Avery Simmons (Class of 2019) succeeded Scott Currie (Class of 2018) as Vice-President.
Joining the Student Government was not an obvious decision for Saza, who successfully ran in the Presidential Elections and was elected as President.
“I was one of those who was quite apathetic about Student Government when it first began and did not really see its benefits,” she expressed. “After two years, I think I do see the importance of having a government which is effective, receptive and has a heart. I believe I am someone who is able to offer these qualities, which is why I decided to run for President.”
Though Saza campaigned on three main platforms, namely ‘Culture of Care’, ‘Tackling Tough Issues’, and ‘Listening to You’, she explained that her central platform is “to champion a culture of care which values student welfare, effectiveness and flexibility”.
“I will first listen to the students and be reactive to whatever is necessary and most urgent. More than that, I will be working proactively on things which are always significant to the student body,” she said. This includes issues around academic grading and promoting a campus culture of community service.
For Hebe Hillhorst (Class of 2020), joining the Student Government was a complicated decision as she had just begun her college experience. “As a freshman, I was worried that I wouldn’t know the college well enough to understand what the problems are and how best to solve them with the least possible conflict, but I think this can be easily overcome by listening and being very open to advice,” she said.
Ultimately, it was her desire for a meaningful college experience that drove her to run for Student Government. “I didn’t want college to just be something I experienced – instead, I wanted it to be something I actively interacted with,” she explained.
As Director of External Communications, one of Hebe’s main focus is the Student Government website. “I want to improve the website by making it more of an information hub and something that students engage with,” she shared.
Timothy Lim (Class of 2018) has been appointed Director for Academics and he is responsible for communicating inquiries and feedback between students and the administration.
“In my freshmen year, I was heavily involved in the discussions on what kind of student government we would want. I was interested in joining the student government as I felt that it was through student government that I would be best able to give back to the members of the community who have given me so much,” Timothy shared on his motivation behind running for Student Government.
Since the elections, students have expressed great support for the newly elected representatives. For Holly Apsley (Class of 2018), the new Student Government is well-positioned to serve the school community under Saza’s leadership.
“I am excited about the new student government because I have confidence in Saza’s ability to provide leadership on sensitive and pressing issues like students’ concerns with academic matters,” said Holly.
For the new Student President, one of her favourite moments in college to date was during her Presidential campaign, which reminded her of the strong community spirit at Yale-NUS College.
“When campaigning began, I was pasting hand-made posters around campus, but another friend saw and almost forced me into letting her help me create new, nicer posters. She then proceeded to create 10 different posters in an hour,” Saza shared.
“From online endorsements to gestures of encouragement in the dining hall, I never realised how much my friends supported me and how willing they were to really help me achieve my goals. For that, I am extremely thankful,” Saza reflected.
“I really love Yale-NUS, and I honestly believe that there is no better place for me than this community.”