Being Collegiate President is a pretty cool job to have. You get to meet with the President, you get to fulfill and maintain Wells College traditions and it’s an impressive role to put on a resume. But, as election week approaches, senior Collegiate President Samantha Hall has some tips and insights for anyone who wants to be her successor or for anyone who wants the tea on being in charge of the student body.
Major: Sociology & Anthropology
How long have you been Collegiate President and what has it been like?
I was elected Collegiate President in April 2017. When I was running for the position, I ran unopposed. That was interesting because I heard that people wanted to run, but I ended up being the only one. What inspired me to run and sparked my interest was a Spring Break trip to PLEN: Women in Congress. I came back and I was on this high and was so interested in policies and student government and getting involved in ‘politics for the people’. I make myself available to different areas on campus. It’s been the most rewarding experience to look at the campus culture and campus business. I’ve been able to look at all these pockets and areas of campus from both sides.
What’s been the best and worst part of being Collegiate President?
The best way that I can explain the downside is to look at the United States and look at the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl makes a ton of money on tickets, the concerts, the teams and when they win, and then look at the United States and poverty and homelessness. Money, budgeting, who gets money and where is that get really hard on a small campus. Especially looking at the student activities fund and deciding as collegiate with the help of our advisor, how do we decide what students need money for. You have to have these conversations. Conferences are so powerful and can change a person’s purpose and studies, but what does that mean when this really expensive conference takes from the other students who are essentially pulling from the same pool of money. Money only goes so far, so it’s much more difficult than people think to decide these things.
The best part is when you can fulfill the clubs wishes. Clubs can ask for $20 and that can change the whole structure of the club. When clubs bond together and seeing clubs collaborate and pull their teams together, that’s the best thing to me. It shows their passion and it’s the best part of campus.
What’s the most important characteristic of being a Collegiate President?
The most important characteristic is to be positive. On the worst days, know that this is hard. Part of positive thinking is knowing that there is a way, and if there’s not a way you can channel that anger or disappointment into doing something positive. The action is positive. If you’re upset and need to do something about it, that’s a positive transition. Most importantly when your team is feeling down after being at meetings with the president and not knowing what to say or having to learn Robert’s rules, you have to know that this is great for the longevity of the school. After we’re gone this will follow through and we’re confident about that. Being negative is like cancer that spreads. If you’re down, the team is down and you can’t allow that.
Also, it’s okay to use your resources and mentors like Dean Michael is great for understanding aspects of campus from the student side and using President Gibraltar to understand the business side of things.
What advice do you have for anyone planning to run for Collegiate President?
My advice is to be yourself and understand that the Wells community is always changing and there are levels and layers of our community. There are voices to be heard. Think of it as a flashlight, you have this beam of one light but it’s fading and then you allow the whole student body to speak whether it’s at student assembly or the dining hall or in the Grind. Your beams together are going to make a bright light and make a huge difference. I’m shining for these other students shine through.
Wise words from our Collegiate President! Good luck to everyone running during election week!