Excelling at the role of Student Body President takes a lot of sincerity and humble commitment. Nagela Nukuna of Georgia Institute of Technology bursts with that drive.
“I want students to see student government as an organization that is on their side. We’re known typically as the organization that gives you money. I want people to look at us a resource, a friend, and an advocate for them,” she said.
Naturally, the position comes with its challenges. The fourth-year Industrial Engineering major must balance the various demands of the job.
“I spend 50% of my time managing people and the organization as a whole, which is not something I immediately expected when I went into this role. Forty-percent of my role is then spent representing Tech at external events like conferences or speaking engagements or campus partner meetings. I spend the other 10% is the other new initiatives and pet projects that I want to work on,” Nukuna said. “It’s been transitioning into that headspace that’s been a challenge.”
Nukuna strives to create a campus environment that benefits all Georgia Tech students. Nukuna has prioritized sexual assault prevention during her term by leaning on her sexual violence advisory board and teaming up with fellow Georgia state schools to publish a white paper on the topic.
“As students under the University System of Georgia, the new sexual assault policy does not leave a lot of room for student feedback,” Nukuna said. “The white paper will address that process and what they could have done better to engage students, the repercussions of the policy’s broad language, consent education, and the detrimental effects the current policy has had on students who try to report.”
As far as what it takes to achieve success in these various initiatives (which includes installing a hammock garden to promote student mental health), Nukuna emphasizes the importance of teamwork and respect for her cabinet members.
“I wouldn’t ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do,” she said.
For her fellow student government presidents struggling to keep up with the challenges of their presidency, Nukuna has some thoughtful advice.
“Have a close support network, whether that be friends or family,” she said. “Find a friend you can vent to who won’t look at you in a bad light for complaining. Because although you get to do cool things in this job, it is time consuming.”
We can’t wait to see all of the amazing things Nagela will continue to do this year!