The initial question one has to ask is "Why do it?" Why subject yourself and willingly become a student leader at Penn? The answer is hardly obvious. For the last year, I've devoted between 30 and 40 hours per week to extracurricular activities. I spent more time in administrator's offices than I did in the classroom, lobbying for undergraduate education, ironically enough. Would I do it again? Was it worth it? I suppose, as I approach graduation, it is only natural to pose such questions. The year has not been without sacrifice and I do not mean the obvious sacrifices of being unable to accompany my friends to dinner on Saturday night. I made academic sacrifices as well. I spent late nights at the library furiously trying to catch up with work because my week was consumed with an endless succession of meetings and activities. The SCUE chair is often the sole undergraduate representative to committees composed of administrators with vast institutional knowledge. I -- drawing only on my transient existence as a student -- fought countless battles armed with only a fragile sense of legitimacy. Some committee decisions affected only a few students, but others were ideological and struck at the very core of the undergraduate experience. I know, first hand, what it is to feel, "the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat." I also learned to "fight the good fight." I was governed by what I believed was right and what was in the best interest of students, even when the consequences of opposing the deities of the University seemed a daunting proposition. Only time will tell whether decisions I helped to make will be enduring and meaningful. Regardless of any long-term implications, I feel extremely grateful to have had support from various members of the University community. I was fortunate to have a talented group of individuals, the members of SCUE, who provided me with their support during my tenure. Their tireless efforts in transforming undergraduate education have led to projects like the preceptorial program, the Speaking Across the University initiative and the Dinner with the Deans. I also appreciated working with a cadre of accomplished student leaders. Their activism and dedication inspired and motivated me, particularly when my own commitment wavered. Many of these individuals have become my closest friends and I look forward to sharing in their lives as they strike out into the world that awaits them. Finally, I worked with many thoughtful and dedicated administrators and faculty. Whenever I became frustrated or disillusioned, they reminded me that Penn is a special and an important place. In my role as SCUE chairperson, I realized that my work hinged on the contributions of more people than I ever imagined when I first assumed my responsibilities. I feel very lucky that I was elected to this position. The experience was far richer than I could have anticipated when I submitted my name as a candidate. So, for those of you who are considering a position of leadership in the University, do not lose your sense of purpose and commitment. Holding steadfast to what you believe will ultimately earn the respect of others. I hope that all students will become involved and active in this community, whether it be through student government, a fraternity or a performing arts group. Not only is it a rewarding endeavor, but our collective efforts coalesce, albeit briefly, to create a University that is a reflection of ourselves.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.