Student Body President of the Year: Nagela Nukuna

During the inaugural Campus Legacy Awards, NCLC announced the recipient of the national Student Body President of the Year award. Check out our interview with Nagela! 

Now that you have completed your term, what are you most proud of achieving?

There's so much that I'm glad we were able to do this past year, so it's hard for me to just pick one. So I'll pick the achievement that I'm happy about completing, that spanned the longest time period!

This project was our work to develop permanent hammocks on campus. This initiative actually began when I was the SGA VP Student Life, along with the work of the previous VP Campus Services. Together, we developed a series of proposals around why they would be beneficial, and how the infrastructure would improve the mental health of students on campus. We were able to generate stakeholder buy-in, and resources to begin the process. The transition moved to our current VP Campus Services (16-17), Sujay Peramanu, who was able to successfully execute the project with the help of our administrative campus partners. Overall, this took about 2 years of persistent work and follow-through, and I'm proud of our team for stepping up to transition the project between administrations, and have it appear on campus.

If you could go back to the start of your term, what would you do differently?

I wish I was able to do more relationship-building work during the summer, prior to the academic year. Being able to meet more administrative partners, and having the right relationships formed is half the battle in this role. Charting out the year in terms of your goals is fine, but knowing the touch-points of people who can help you towards achieving success is so crucial.

 What does the award, Student Body President of the Year, mean to you?

Receiving the inaugural Student Body President of the Year Award last week was such an honor, especially amongst all the incredible leaders sitting in the room. Being a part of a group that celebrates service to and for others to the highest degree was a moment I will never forget. The work that NCLC and similar organizations are doing is so vital; they are supporting student leadership and investing in the leaders of tomorrow. By showing us what can be, and providing examples of remarkable public servants who have made positive changes in our world, is a tremendous undertaking that NCLC has taken in stride. Leila Janah said that "talent is distributed equally, while opportunity is not". I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve, and for the opportunities that NCLC has given me this past year. 

 What does the word “legacy” mean to you? 

Legacy is the net positive value add you leave in the lives of the people you serve.

 What’s next for you?

Right now, I'm focusing on graduation (in December 2017), and on applying to different graduate school programs. Ideally, I'd love to do a joint MBA and Public Policy degree, but I am still looking at other options within the Tech industry as well.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I'd love to be working in the intersection between Government Policy and Tech, working to help emerging countries with infrastructure development. I'm also really interested in this global movement of inspiring women to enter the STEM field, so I may try and get involved in Let Girls Learn, or similar initiatives. However, I don't know what the future has in store for me just yet, so I'll keep you posted!

If you could summarize your time as Student Body President in three words, what would those three words be?

Instructive. Inspiring. Invigorating

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