What It Takes To Be SSSC President (Spoiler: You definitely have what it takes)
Hi! Welcome back to the blog B-)
My name is Bianka Sriharan and I’m the current SSSC President! Elections are coming up, and I’m going to use my first blog post as a tool to convince you that you are capable of being a faculty president.
Before coming into this role, I didn’t fully understand what it would take for me to be and feel successful as a faculty president. I grappled with the decision to run for quite some time because as much as I felt passionate about the work, I really did not see myself as “presidential.” If you’re feeling the same way, keep reading because I will break down a few myths associated with the role (and student government as a whole).
Myth #1: Being a faculty president is difficult.
Is it time-consuming? Yes. Can it be exhausting at times? Yes. Will it be hard to learn the ropes? Absolutely not.
If you are passionate about your faculty’s student experience, are a generally kind person and have time management skills, you can do this role. The difficulty associated with this role has nothing to do with the type of work, but the amount. I won’t lie, you’ll have a lot to do but it is certainly manageable.
I also want to emphasize that you do not have to have been on SSSC since the day you were born to succeed in this or any other council-related role. Council experience will give you some valuable insight and maybe some confidence for the role, but you do not NEED it.
My answer might be controversial, but my intent is not to diminish the work associated with this role but to shed light on where the challenges come from. I genuinely believe that this role seems a lot harder than it is, and that scares people. It scared me for sure!
Myth #2: It takes a certain type of person to be a faculty president.
FALSE. NOPE. No.
I may seem extroverted, but I am someone who truly prefers to keep to myself. I am also not the loudest voice in the room and prefer to be a team player rather than run the show. I thought that you HAD to be a commanding presence to be a successful leader, but I’ve learned (or at least I think) that I’m doing a good job without being that sort of person.
I have stepped into a louder voice for the sake of certain aspects of my role but not because I had to. I felt more empowered to take on a bigger presence as I became more comfortable with the role, but I still lead in my own way.
This role is unique in that there is a lot of room to be your own type of leader, so long as you can be respectful and gain the respect of your council. Neither of those things are hard to do if you are joining council for the right reasons.
Myth #3: Diverse people can’t be leaders.
That title was a joke, but the lack of diversity in elections is no joke. As you can probably tell, I am a woman of colour and I wanted to use this space to say what I wish someone said to me before I ran. There is a LOT to unpack when it comes to diversity in student leadership (especially at Western...) but I will keep it brief with the following points:
Diversity in elections matters. Diverse candidates result in diverse ideas and that’s how change starts. Your ideas MATTER and there’s a good chance that your vision will resonate with others.
Don’t be afraid to take up space, take the leap. I know, easier said than done, but you will never regret taking this leap and taking up space if this is what you’re passionate about. I certainly don’t regret it.
In conclusion, you are more than capable of doing this role. Your resume, personality type and/or identity will not hinder your ability to succeed. At the end of the day, we’re all just students. You happen to be someone who cares about your peers and the experience your faculty has to offer, and that makes you capable of seeking leadership roles in student government.
I hope this has given you something to think about and, hopefully, a little bit of confidence in yourself :) If you have ANY questions or need a little pep talk before you take the leap, please reach out to me!