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Being in USG is about more than having fun

The White House | Flickr

Elections for the Undergraduate Student Government are approaching and as current USG president, I wanted to reflect on what I have learned about my time in USG — the USG that not everyone sees.

When I came in as a first-year student, I saw USG as the organization on campus that gave out free opportunities for cool events. I noticed that USG was filled with students on campus who liked bringing people joy.

I remember helping out at an event and giving food to students. Seeing students smile after finding out something was free was the best feeling ever.

In the beginning, I didn’t know a lot of students, and I didn’t know their stories, but I was happy that they were able to smile even for a fraction of a second because of me, because of USG.

That was one of the main reasons why I decided to stay involved in USG.

As I took on the role of president, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I only saw the fun side of USG; I didn’t know about the other side of USG that worked on advocating for student rights and projecting students voices.

I realized that there was a world of USG that a lot of people didn’t see, the USG that worked in the background, the USG that wasn’t always just fun and games.

I attended a protest on Christmas Eve with other students from across CUNY. We protested Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s veto of a bill for more funding for public college. As I protested and fought for the tuition for over 500,000 students in the whole CUNY system, I felt so empowered.

I helped plan a winter graduation reception for students who couldn’t attend the annual graduation at Barclays Center.

I attended meetings to confirm the way the money from every student’s technology fee was being spent.

I found out about the construction going on in the library months before the construction began and gave my feedback on the marketing campaign for it.

Being part of USG and attending USG events are two completely different things.

It is important for interested students to know about the role before they apply and accept both the highs and lows that come with working for USG.

I’m happy to say that USG is having a general interest meeting about elections on Feb. 26 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in NVC 4-170. Students should come to this meeting and take the time to learn about USG life.

Radhika Kalani is the president of USG. She can be reached at Her office is located at 3-272 in the Newman Vertical Campus.

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