Meet Barnard's VP of Campus Life, Angela Beam!

School & class: Barnard 2018

Major: Political Science

Hometown: Boerne, Texas

Tell me a little about yourself. What are your favorite hobbies and interests?

When I’m not following the presidential election, I like to run in Riverside, wander around art museums (esp. the Whitney), and explore food in the city. I can usually be found in the vicinity of Absolute Bagel on Saturday mornings, also a big fan of cats. 

Besides SGA, what else are you involved in on campus? 

Outside of SGA, I’m a member of Alpha Kappa Psi (Columbia’s co-ed professional business fraternity), an editorial cartoonist for Spec, and a Barnard Babysitter. I was involved with Artist Reaching Out my first two years, as both a volunteer and a coordinator— ARO is an awesome program under Columbia Community Impact that teaches art classes on Fridays at underserved public schools in Harlem that wouldn’t otherwise have fine arts curriculum. I was also an Orientation Leader for NSOP this year (Hi Millie 10, I love you all and promise I won’t force you to do any more icebreakers. xoxo, mom).

What is your current role in Barnard SGA, and what roles have you had in the past? 

I’m currently the Vice President of Campus Life! In this capacity, I’m constantly planning events in collaboration with my counterparts at CCSC, ESC, and GSSC for the undergraduate community at large, as well as events specifically for Barnard. At the moment, Homecoming, Desserts After Dark, SGA Body Brunch, and the Barnard Student-Alumnae Thanksgiving Program are in the works, much more to come!

Last year, I was the Representative for College Relations, which involved serving as liaison to the Seven Sisters Coalition (can you name all seven schools?), Columbia, and the offices of Alumnae Relations and Career Development. However, the annual Seven Sisters Conference was held at Barnard in November, so most of my work was centered around planning the event, and working to strengthen the Seven Sisters coalition throughout the remainder of the year. I also was the Barnard Chair for Glass House Rocks. 

My first year, I was on two committees: Arts and Culture, and Intercollegiate Relations. 

How did you get involved in SGA, and why? 

I was very involved in student government throughout high school, and served as Student Body President my senior year. So, coming to Barnard, I knew that if there was one thing I wanted to be involved in, it was SGA. After running unsuccessfully for First Year Class President, I decided to still get involved in SGA through committees, and ended up sticking around. 

Based on your experience, what is your favorite thing about being in SGA? 

The people, both those who are a part of SGA and those I’ve met because of my work with SGA. The incredible individuals who are a part of SGA are so dedicated and talented; being surrounded by these gems has been an absolutely integral part of my Barnard experience. 

If you could make one impact during your time as VP of Campus Life, what would it be and why? 

To leave things better than I found them. I know this sounds obnoxious, but I think it’s the best way to sum up what I’m trying to accomplish. I also want to improve Barnard-Columbia relations, but that’s another discussion…

Do you have any plans for after your term ends? 

Stay tuned, I’m not done yet ;)

Do you have any advice for people looking to get involved in SGA? 

A little known fact is that by virtue of paying student activities fees (which are a part of tuition), all Barnard students are considered members of SGA, as dictated by our Constitution. But that’s not what you’re asking, SO, I would strongly encourage anyone who is remotely interested in SGA to consider joining a committee! Committees typically require a relatively minimal time commitment and are an incredible way to make an impact on campus. There are so many specific policy areas to be involved in, ranging from Seven Sisters to Sustainability to Health Services to Academic Affairs. Besides being extremely gratifying, it’s a great way to get involved on campus, meet awesome individuals, and become a part of the SGA community. (Shameless plug) committee apps are currently open, apply now:

Last year you reinstated the Seven Sisters Coordinating Board. Would you mind telling me a little bit more this and your role? 

In an effort to make the conference as substantive as possible, we focused on improving the Seven Sisters’ relationship and enhancing our communication, with the goal of making our relationship is sustainable long term. Personally, I think it’s an incredible network, and feel as though student initiatives can go a long way in helping the coalition grow. In the past, there was a Coordinating Board, but it had been inactive for several years, so I proposed to reinstate it, because I thought that it would be a good starting point, if nothing else, for encouraging regular communication between the schools. The delegates motioned for me to lead the group as its President, and following the conference, each of the six remaining schools (Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Wellesley, and Vassar) voted on reinstating the Coordinating Board with their respective student governments, and it passed! For the remainder of the year, I led the review of the Seven Sisters Coalition Constitution, which we finished amending and revising in the spring. 

You were featured in the Winter 2016 edition of Barnard Magazine, in which you mentioned that growing up in San Antonio, Texas "women colleges just weren't really on the radar." What was it that drove you to Barnard? 

I applied to Barnard on a whim. Coming from Texas, I had never heard of Barnard, and had a limited at best understanding of women's colleges. In total, I applied to 14 schools and visited well over 20. Barnard was the last school I applied to, as well as the last I visited, and only after I had been admitted. In the most cliché of ways, I immediately knew it was where I would go when I arrived on campus. I was struck by how interesting and interested the students were, by how genuine their engagement in their respective communities, and how easily we could have wonderful, inspiring conversations. 

In your opinion, what is the best thing about attending a women's college? 

Just one thing? Ugh. It’s like a quasi-utopia where everyone around you are incredibly inspiring, powerful individuals, who are truly accomplished in their own unique way. Although this lends itself to a competitive environment it also pushes you to be the best version of yourself. Also feminism. 

Who is your biggest role model? 

If I said Hillary Clinton I’d be a cliché, right? I’m going to go with my current obsession, the fiercely fabulous Barnard Professor: Paula Franzese, but just know that my girl Hillz was on the short list too. This semester I’m taking Civil Rights and Civil Liberties with Prof Franzese, who in addition to being a member of Barnard’s faculty, is a law professor, attorney, mother of a Barnard sophomore, and perhaps most notably: a Barnard alum. She is absolutely brilliant, and the class is so engaging and interesting. If you ever have room in your schedule—take a class with Professor Franzese! Honorable mentions: Michelle Obama and Wendy Davis.

Have you had any political experience outside of school? 

Yes! Internships have been a huge component of my time at Barnard, and the majority of them have been government/politics related. I’ve worked for Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Senator Chuck Schumer, Eleanor’s Legacy (an affiliate of Emily’s List that works to elect female, Democratic, pro-choice politicians on the state and local level in New York, and educates NY women on how to run for office), SKDKnickerbocker (PR/Political consulting firm), and currently: Capalino+Company (a lobbying and strategic consulting firm). Going to school in NYC is such an asset—the opportunities to gain valuable internship experience are endless!

Do you hope to pursue a career in politics after college? 

Ultimately, I’d love to do something related to politics, but I’m still trying to figure out how I’ll get there. I plan to work in a business or government related position following graduation, and hopefully go on to attend law or business school a few years later. After that, who knows!

What is the best advice you've ever received? 

Say yes to opportunity, make eye contact, and be unapologetically yourself.

What is one thing you hope to do before you graduate? 

Be involved in an event or organization that pushes me out of my comfort zone.