Who’s the voice for students on campus? The president of course. Ever wonder what the position is like? Bowling Green State University class president Alexander Chiarelott tells us what made him stand out, the importance of networking, along with tips for politics on campus.
Many factors determine a successful presidency. Read on to hear Alexander’s insights.
Q: What inspired you to run for office?
AC: I have been in the Undergraduate Student Government at BGSU since the Fall semester of my freshman year and ever since then I have fallen in love with the organization and what it has been able to do for the student body. Ultimately, I felt like with all my experience in the organization (over three full years) it was time to put my name in the running to be the president. It is an incredibly important year as we begin to emerge from the pandemic and I felt it was also time to push for some major changes not just on our campus, but on campuses across the state.
Q: What were your emotions after being elected?
AC: I was incredibly excited upon winning the election, but more so just ready to get to work. This role is only one short year, and you must be prepared to make the most of it.
Q: In your opinion, what was the driving force behind your successful election?
AC: I strongly believe that all the dedicated students and community members that saw what we were trying to do and stepped up to help in major ways made the difference for us. We were able to build not just a strong coalition of voting support, but also support among everyday students who helped every single day with the campaign. The contested election was filled with amazing candidates and without this grassroots level support I don’t know if we would’ve been able to win.
Q: What are your goals in office?
AC: We have a plethora of unique goals for our time in office. Some of the major ones include setting a campus minimum wage for all our student workers at $10 an hour, bringing important environmental changes to campus like post-consumer composting, working to expand compensation efforts for student teachers, helping to establish an on-campus food pantry and ensuring that diversity and inclusion efforts remain at the forefront of people’s minds and so much more. Our entire agenda can be found on our website.
Q: How will your position as student body president benefit you after college or your major?
AC: I would say the raw experience of such a role will be beneficial after I graduate, navigating tough situations, time management, prioritization, leadership, and establishing a vision people can get behind are all key components of being the student government president.
Q: How do you balance the responsibilities of being in office?
AC: Balancing all the responsibilities of office is certainly a unique challenge, but one I would say I have gotten pretty good at so far. One of the most important components is to just remember to take time to process the situations you’re faced with and be rational about how you approach them.
Q: Do you have any other leadership activities/extracurriculars outside being president?
AC: Outside of my specific leadership role in USG I am in the honors college at my university currently working on my final project. I also like to volunteer at a local food pantry and am working on a few side projects with a group of student leaders with the goal of better connecting student governments from around the nation.
Q: If you could be remembered for one accomplishment during your time as President at Bowling Green State University, what would that be?
AC: If I could be remembered for one overarching accomplishment at BGSU I would want it to be how much we were able to make the student body care about student government and what we can do for them. It has been a long-lasting problem to get students to know or care about the work we do. In the short few months we’ve been in office we have gotten thousands of students at BGSU interested in USG through social media, our campaign, our community service, and so much more. Ultimately the more students who participate in the process the better off we all are because at the end of the day each of our universities must be student oriented because we hold all the power, we often just don’t realize it.
Q: What tips would you give to future student presidents?
AC: A tip I would give to the future student presidents would be to take your time and be intentional with everything you do. It’s better to be slow and get it right than be first and get it wrong. Most importantly, believe in yourself and your goals. You can’t expect others to believe in you if you don’t even believe in yourself.
Q: Do you have aspirations to run for any political positions after graduation?
AC: I certainly do have political aspirations after graduation. In the grand scale of the nation and the world we have long standing issues that few have tried to address, and the changes required to fix these issues are long overdue. I want to see a world where we don’t have people struggling to find food, make rent, or receive the help they need. The government’s job is to help everyone, not just those who are privileged or wealthy.
How to Run for Office
AC: The biggest tip I can give to any student who wants to run is to just have no fear, put your ideas out there and above all else pour your heart and soul into the campaign each day. The students will see which campaigns are truly working to try and make a difference on your campus. Make social media accounts, build a website, talk to student orgs. We also found that videos garnered a lot of engagement because people can actually see and hear you. Ensure you run a campaign you can be proud of, run on your ideas and experience and not how you directly compare to the other candidates. Above all else remember that everyone around you just wants to see the campus improve so always be respectful to those running against you whether you win or lose.
AC: Anyone can feel free to contact me at [email protected] or my instagram @chiarelott. Don’t hesitate to reach out with literally any questions or collaboration efforts, I would love to work with you!