In his second semester, he interned for a Manhattan Borough President campaign. Last semester, he interned for Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s district office. As a second-year student, Aman Islam is demonstrating what it means to be a go-getter, and he shows no signs of stopping.
Aman Islam and Kimberly Mars are both political science majors at Pace—Aman in New York City and Kimberly in Pleasantville. But that’s not where the similarities end. They also both hold the office of President of the Student Government Association’s executive board on their respective campuses.
Not sure what the Student Government Association (SGA) does? No worries—we got you. The purpose of SGA is to represent the voice and rights of the student body, to ensure an environment which supports the development of student leadership and responsibility, and facilitate the activities and interests of the undergraduate student body. Essentially, SGA is the elected representatives of the student body.
With the approach of the fall semester, we sat down with Kimberly and Aman to learn more about their student government background, their governing ideals, and their hopes for the upcoming year. Consider this your introduction to Pace’s SGA presidents.
How did you get involved with student government?
Aman: When I came to Pace, I was trying to find my place on campus in this virtual world. I did student government through high school, so I ran for freshman president. I actually lost that race, but I became a fellow with the SGA and got really involved. This year I decided it was time to try to join the executive board. So what started off as a loss, turned into being president.
Kimberly: This is actually my second term as SGA president. When I first came to Pace, I was on an executive board for Black Student Union and I noticed there was a limitation to what we were able to accomplish. I wanted to make a difference, but I knew I had to be in one of the highest positions to make an impact. That was one of my biggest motivating factors to join SGA.
What are some examples of SGA having a positive impact at Pace?
Aman: The pronouns initiative that happened last year. We saw an issue that wasn’t being addressed. Our freshman class representatives last year decided to write out a proposal to make it easier for students to include their preferred pronouns across digital platforms. We showed it to administration and they adopted it.
Kimberly: Last year we were heavily involved with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and starting this new tradition called the Heritage Celebration, which supports students of color on campus that are graduating. We gave them certificates and the opportunity to feel appreciated for all their hard work.
What hopes do you and the rest of the SGA have for this upcoming year?
Aman: We are coming back stronger than ever. We are branding ourselves not only as an advocacy group but as a programming group. We want to bring events, throw banquets, and have so much fun while advocating for every single student here, regardless of if you are an incoming freshman or an outgoing senior.
Kimberly: We’re starting from scratch with a mostly new board. We want to have town hall events more often so we can gauge what the student body is looking for from us and from the University. We also want to continue doing events that bring the student body together like Springfest, which was an amazing chance to see the entire student body come out.
What are you personally most excited about this year?
Aman: I’m just excited to see where this year takes me, and how the Pace Community grows from COVID-19. It’s just great to see all the new faces coming to campus and all the new people to bring the legacy of Pace globally.
Kimberly: I’m most excited to see the new, incoming class and see what it is they want to get out of Pace. I always love talking to the freshman because they have amazing ideas or ways they want to change or adapt the university to be better for everyone.
Finally, what do you want the students on your campus to know about SGA?
Aman: First of all, welcome to Pace, we’re so excited to have you here. SGA is here for you. If you have a problem, reach out. We can advocate for you, and you can advocate for yourself. We will listen to you. Be loud, be proud, and tell us what you need.
Kimberly: I just want the student body to know that they can come to us for anything. They should never be afraid to use their voice. It is extremely important, and they deserve to be heard. They can speak up in any way they choose, they can come to us, and we’ll help them. We are always here.