Leaving a legacy: 5 tips from a Student Government veteran, Tania Twinoburyo

‘I learnt that one cannot be reactionary when in government … Reacting without thinking about the solutions to the problem
will not help you as a member of government, or the student body.’

As the voice of ALA’s student body, the Student Government plays a pivotal role in maintaining relations between students and the Administration. Outgoing Chairlady Tania Twinoburyo shares insights and advice gained from serving in two consecutive Student Governments…

I have come to the end of a beautiful journey. However, this was not an easy journey. It was a journey filled with foreshadowing climaxes and resolutions. I started off as Secretary in the Student Government during my first year, and went on to serve as Chairlady during the first term of this, my second year.

I learnt that communication is important. Tell people what you have done, why it has been successful or why you haven’t been able to do something you’ve promised or been mandated to do.

I learnt a lot from being Secretary. I learnt that one cannot be reactionary when in government, because the student body is looking up to you as an example. I realized that because our government body was very reactionary, the student body responded in the same way, which is not beneficial to anyone. Reacting without thinking about the solutions to the problem will not help you as a member of government, or the student body.

Even though we run as units for Student Government, it doesn’t mean that when you get to government you can work as an individual. You have to work as one unit to cater for the student body needs. As secretary during my first time in office, I encountered many problems as secretary in my first government term, and often had to do damage control because of people’s views about various leaders, and threats of impeachment from office. However, through all this I learnt the importance of diplomacy and not being reactionary.

I remember saying, while I was still in office, that I would never run for government again – but somehow I found myself accepting my nomination for Chairlady. The day I got elected I was so afraid of repeating the mistakes of the previous Chairpersons, that I immediately went through all the roles of the office bearers, created a team accountability system and a calendar for every single person in office.

Leaving a Legacy

I realized that even though I had good intentions, I was rubbing my fears onto my new government, which was not fair on them. So I decided to start on a clean slate and act as guidance for all the other reps in office. Doing so allowed room for failure and growth. Moreover, it allowed for the reps in office to be much freer. The only thing that I emphasized was the fact that we are a unit working together to achieve one purpose, “catering for the student body’s need”.

Another thing that I was really strict on was our budget. Even though I allowed for the treasurer to be free in his allocation of money, I had to be conscious of all the governments that came after house because I wouldn’t want a situation where they had no money left because we spent it all.

My love for this community is one thing I will never take for granted. My happiness comes off other people’s happiness. Even if one individual is unhappy, I will work as hard as I can to ensure that they are happy. I know that I can’t always cater for the entire community but I knew that I could lead in a way that the entire community could be happy. I didn’t want to be just my title – and I wanted to create discourse. I wanted to show people that you could hold a position of power and still do everything like everyone else, meaning that I didn’t want to flex my title.

My manifesto was heavily based on the Year 1s’ transition into the Academy. So I got the contact details of all the Year 1s, sent them all a message. I even joined their group chat to answer any questions they may have had. I spent most of my summer speaking to worried parents, reassuring them that their children  will be fine when they get to the Academy, answering questions etc.

I wanted to ensure that when the Year Ones arrived on campus, they felt much more confident and secure in the Academy. I ensured, along with other members in the community, that every Second Year who had a roommate went to collect their roommate – no matter what time of the day it was. Moreover, Second Years were required to start connecting with their First Year roommates before they even got to campus.

Remember This: Advice to Incoming Government

• Never be afraid to seek help when you need it.

• The entire student body is looking at you as an example. The way you react, they will react. If you are reactionary so will they. If you are solution orientated they will be too.

• Always work together as one government and not units.

• Integrity should be one of your biggest values. Do what is right even if the masses don’t agree with it.

• Remember to breathe – everything will be alright.

MEET ALA’s new Student Government

Elections for office bearers are held twice during the academic year, usually in November and April. Meet the New Student Government chairs  inaugurated on Sunday, November 25.

Lobna Jbeniani and David Tago – the incoming Chairlady and Chairman of the Student Government Body