While on the Student Government Association campaign trail, Elliot Horen, a University Scholar, and Suchira Sharma asked students about how to better Northeastern. They found a student body in support of change, but struggling to identify specific priorities.
Horen and Sharma, who represented the only ticket on the ballot—ChangeNU—carried the day in the 2016 direct elections earlier this month, garnering 3,389 of 3,775 votes. As the newly elected SGA president and executive vice president, they see themselves helping students identify areas where the university can change or improve, and then making it happen.
“A lot of our responsibility is creating that conversation intentionally so we are engaging with students on issues that they care about but might not come to mind right away,” explained Sharma, DMSB’19.
Horen and Sharma expect to fully assume their new roles by next month.
The pair met last spring when Horen, CIS’18, was serving as the SGA chief of staff and looking to hire a deputy. “Here was someone as a freshman who walked through the door for an interview and was incredibly capable and talented,” Horen said of Sharma. “It has been a great working relationship.”
In their leadership roles, Horen and Sharma plan to adopt a proactive and progressive strategy focused on major policy issues. “The direction we want to take SGA is a student government that engages more with students on big issues and is even more responsive to their needs,” Horen said. “We have really passionate students. People love this school but everyone has one or two frustrations. So our goal is to channel those into something productive.”
Horen and Sharma’s conversations with students served as the framework for their 17-page platform outlining and prioritizing the issues they plan to tackle during their administration. These areas include sustainability, mental health care, sexual assault prevention, and housing.
Sharma is also passionate about restructuring SGA from the inside, maintaining a high level of transparency, and working to make the student senate more progressive.
“We’ve heard overwhelming student desire for better mental health care on campus as well as for bringing some form of renewable energy to campus,” Horen said. “In general, Northeastern has started to expect more from the students, and that’s a wonderful thing, but I think students have also begun to expect more from Northeastern.”