Shaina Evans speedwalks from Questrom to Warren Towers, balancing her laptop, camera, and the phone pressed to her ear. “I’ll be right there, I just got out of an event!” she assures me. The event was Campus Curlz’s Curlz Night Out, a celebration of natural hair, consisting of a cocktail (half) hour, booth presentations, a catwalk hair show, a panel, and then a Q&A.
Photo Credit: Shaina Evans
She serves as a historian on the Campus Curlz E-Board, documenting events by taking photos and collecting feedback about the events. “At the end of the year, I curate a video showcasing what we’ve done in a year and…” she trails, her attention snapping to a student who just walked into Warren’s Late Nite Café. “Give me a minute,” she says, standing up from the booth and chasing him down. Evans follows him along the checkout lane, asking him what he thought of Curlz Night Out and complimenting his walk down the catwalk— taking on her role of historian immediately.
Photo credit: Shaina Evans
In addition to Campus Curlz, Evans is a general member of Sisters United and is a mentor for Boston Partners Education. Her biggest commitment, however, which pairs perfectly with her political science/sociology double major, is in student government. She is a member of the advocacy committee in CAS Student Government and a senator, representing CAS constituency, in BU Student Government. Unlike other senators, though, Evans is relatively new to Senate.
“I went into Advocacy specifically as an accident,” Evans explains. “Someone went abroad during the spring semester so I filled in for her. Happy accident. I’m glad I’m here.”
Her motivations for getting involved in student government can be traced back throughout the years: “I went to an info meeting for student government at the beginning of the year, and I’ve always been interested in student government in high school, but I never did it,” she notes. “Starting college though, I thought I’d try it.”
Photo Credit: Shaina Evans
Evans has been able to impact a lot of change at BU, most significantly as a member of the CAS Student Government free tampons initiative team, but she still has so much more she wants to accomplish in the next three years of her college career.
When asked about her student government aspirations, her passion becomes clear. “T-passes!” she says enthusiastically. Though she has a list of initiatives she eventually wants to accomplish, having BU subsidize Charlie passes more is always the first goal she mentions: “I want BU to subsidize T-passes, I want SAO to not be SAO anymore, and I think funding for student groups should be democratized.”
Evans’s goals are popular ones in student government. The Student Activities Office (SAO) has a strained relationship with clubs/organizations and other student governments, such as the Northeastern University SGA, are allowed to determine funding for other student groups.
Along the same vein, Evans has ambitious long-term goals: “I want student government to actually have a relationship with the administration so they can take us seriously.”
In terms of personal goals, Evans wants to get more comfortable with herself and use BU to her advantage. “I’m already pretty comfortable with myself but I want to solidify that. It’s kind of new— being comfortable with myself. I also want to leave BU knowing I did all I could as far as resources available to me. I didn’t just party and show up to classes. I want to be able to say I invested in something and the investment paid off, which is stressful and a really tall order.”
Evans reminds us that underneath the powerhouse in BU Senate that she is, she’s also just a freshman, navigating a completely different world. She cited her favorite part of being at BU so far as embracing the freedom and independence that, while she’s always had, has been elevated to a completely new level. She’s learned lots of new things about herself: “I found out I actually like going to school, like I wake up and go to classes,” she muses. “If you asked me in high school, if I had the choice to go to class, I’d be like ‘Fuck, no.’ I’m able to define myself a little bit easier after this year. It’s a lot of self-discovery.”
Photo Credit: Shaina Evans
Despite everything, Evans still faces struggles and obstacles that she’ll have to work hard to overcome. The hardest part of her freshman year, for example, was making new friends. “I didn’t realize how comfortable I was with the people I had known since forever, back home,” she recalls. “I kinda forgot what it was like to meet new people and introduce yourself and be uncomfortable and be awkward. That was a challenge for me, and it still is.”
Additionally, as a woman pursuing political science, she faces the stigma that labels women as too “pure” or “weak-willed” to succeed. The concept simply baffled her, and her first reaction was “What evidence do they have?” Her discussion of women in politics is an important one to have in the current political climate.
“A lot of times people who are marginalized, like women, are often generalized, and I think that all women are pure and weak-willed and fill-in-the-blank, is overgeneralizing more than half of the population. That’s just another aspect to why this is such a problem. We don’t all think the same. We don’t all behave the same. And that’s just something people don’t recognize. After 2016, you saw a lot of women come out and say, ‘Yeah, I don’t think Hillary can do it, she’s not strong enough.’ And that’s such internalized sexism and, I think, self-doubt, even with myself, is really common. Am I really qualified and strong enough to do this? And I think that’s something we need to unlearn, and that’ll take a long time.”
Evans’s key takeaways: “A woman who is feminine is supposed to be very passive, polite, and politically correct…all of these things we see as negative, but I think they’re very positive. I think feminine leaders are great— to be able to impact change while still being polite. It’s the whole women-can’t-push-the-big-red-button-thing, but I think we need people that will reconsider pushing it. I think feminine qualities are so important for world order and how that trickles down to the organization.”
Shaina Evans, the CAS Senate Powerhouse and an empowered woman ready to explore where college and life takes, would also like to encourage anyone who’s interested in joining student government to reach out and get involved. Her promises? It’s easy and the events are really fun. Catch her at a Senate meeting next year or running around campus from one club to another.