Meet Student Senate’s Girl Gang

** This is not an endorsement from Her Campus George Mason**  

Last month, student senators Shelby Adams, Monet Ballard, Dominique Dowling and Cassidy Whitehurst came together to create the Instagram page @gg.gmu and have become known as the Mason Senate Girl Gang. I wanted to get to know the Girl Gang better and figured others would too and decided to conduct an interview with the group.

What made you decide to run for student senate? Was there a certain person or group of people that inspired you?

Dominique: I wanted to run for Student Senate because I always wanted to be involved in Student Government in high school but never had the time to do so. I knew that I wanted to be involved at George Mason and I figured that Student Government would be perfect because I could speak for members of my community on campus and learn from other communities.

Shelby: I joined Student Government because I have a passion for helping others. I want to ensure that everyone at Mason feels as though they belong and have the necessary resources to excel in any big or small goal they want to achieve. I also joined to bring myself out of my comfort zone and talk to new people and learn from different experiences.

Monet: I have always wanted to impact people’s lives in a positive manner. I figured Student Government would help me directly connect to students and Mason resources.

Cassidy: I was involved in Student Government in high school and I really enjoyed serving the students. This experience inspired me to run for the Senate here at George Mason.

What made you decide to start the Girl Gang page on Instagram?

Shelby: Student Government does a lot in regards to helping the student body that goes unnoticed. With this Instagram page, we wanted to spread awareness on what goes on within Student government and the legislation and the initiatives we work on for GMU students.

Cassidy: We also wanted to make this account to outreach to different groups on campus to see the needs of the student body.

Did you know each other before joining? What brought the four of you together?

Dominique: I knew Cassidy before running for Student Government because we had a class together during the fall semester. After meeting Shelby and Monét at the first Senate meeting, our personalities sort of “clicked” I guess. We also sat on the same committees so I always saw them. Eventually, we just began talking more outside of Senate and here we are.

Shelby: I didn’t know anyone in the Girl Gang before Senate. I remember I spoke to Monét at this Senate Retreat we had. I talked to Dominique and Cassidy at the first Senate meeting. We all bring different personality traits to the table, that just mesh well.

Cassidy: I knew Dominique beforehand because of our class together. All three of us really click well together. We grew a tight bond really fast!

What are some goals you hope to accomplish while in student senate, as a group or individually?

Dominique: One of my biggest goals that I hope to accomplish as a Student Senator is to increase inclusivity here at George Mason University.

Shelby: A big goal I wish to accomplish is building connections or relationships with RSOs and with different offices and departments around campus. With a good working relationship, a lot of things can get done that could benefit the Student Body.

Monet: I want to help make sure that students at Mason know that there are organizations and services that are here to help them through anything. The same goes for people, like us, to help with students’ concerns.

Cassidy: I am focused on the health and safety of students here at George Mason. I am working on an initiative right now with a fellow student senator, Maria Hernandez, to increase awareness about what to do in the event of an active threat on campus.

Photo Courtesy of Shelby Adams, Monet Ballard, Dominique Dowling and Cassidy Whitehurst

What does being a female leader mean to you?

Dominique: Being a female leader, who is also a person of color, means a lot to me. Women are often not taken seriously even if their qualifications speak loud enough for them. It’s important that as a female leader, I take advantage of the positions that I find myself in to speak up for students who can’t have their voice heard.

Shelby: Being a female leader means not only knowing who you are as a person but also taking the time to listen and learn from others.  We can learn so much from other peoples’ experiences that are different than our own. Being a female leader also is having the ability to empower people to believe in themselves.

Cassidy: Being a female leader to me means I can show other women that it’s possible to have a position of power on this campus and to have a positive impact. It’s very empowering.

What unique things do you feel you bring to the table as female leaders?

Shelby: I didn’t know anyone in the Girl Gang before Student Senate. We all have different personality traits that we bring to the table, that just works so well with all of us. Due to different personalities, we are able to bring different opinions and ideas in conversations that we can all take and learn from each other. As a group, we are understanding and compassionate, and most importantly we a dedication to making sure that the Student body is taken care of.

How do you manage being involved with SG and other organizations in addition to a full class load and other responsibilities?

Dominique: Student Government requires a lot of time commitment, but I’ve been able to balance classes, homework, office hours, and going BSA events pretty well so far. I became more involved during the Spring semester, so a lot of my extra time goes to SG initiatives and events but I still have a good handle on my other responsibilities.

Shelby: Student Government is a big time commitment so I make sure to keep a planner to keep me on track of everything I do in regards to academics and extracurriculars. So far, I’m balancing everything well! A planner really helps!

Cassidy: As said before, Student Government is a big time commitment. Time management is needed with my other academic commitments and extracurricular activities. Being organized, writing down responsibilities in a planner, etc, have really helped me.

What other organizations are you involved with on campus?

Dominique: I’m a part of the Black Student Alliance.

Shelby: I am only part of Student Government, and I’m still on the lookout for other organizations!

Cassidy: I am a part of Alpha Xi Delta Women’s Fraternity.

Monet: I am also an RA and a part of the Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity.

What are your goals after graduation?

Dominique: I plan on becoming a first or second grade teacher after graduating with my Master’s in 2023 and then returning to school to earn my administrative license.

Shelby: I don’t know exactly what I want to be in the future, I still figuring that out! What I do know for a fact is that I want to create positive change and help people all around the world.  

Monet: I am going to go to law school and pursue a career as an immigration lawyer.

Cassidy: I am also planning on going to law school and I want to pursue a career as either a criminal defense or civil rights attorney.

How can students reach you to talk about their concerns?

Dominique: The best way students can reach me to talk about their concerns is through social media. Direct messaging me on Instagram is always faster to reach me, but email works just as well because I check that daily. My email is [email protected] and my Instagram is @fedupblackteen. I’m always open to talk about anything that concerns students!

Shelby: Of course students can definitely reach out to our Girl Gang account anytime! They can also reach me on my Instagram which is @shelby.l.a! My email is [email protected]! I am always open to hearing your concerns and feedback! It’s not a bother at all!

Cassidy: I would love for students to visit me during my office hours on Mondays from 4pm-5pm or Tuesdays from 5:30pm-6:30pm. My email is also [email protected] ! I love hearing students concerns and want to help any way I can.

Make sure to check out their Instagram to stay up to date with everything the gang is up to!

** This is not an endorsement from Her Campus George Mason**