Op-Ed: A call for community engagement this April

Come April, Tufts students kick into high gear. There are performances every weekend, all the work we’ve been procrastinating all semester comes to a head, and of course Quidditch Nationals overshadow all other athletic endeavors. TCU Senate elections for the next academic year also take place in April, so get ready for your Facebook feeds to be inundated with campaign events and friend requests from overeager candidates!

Being a voice for your community is time intensive, and I know as a Senator, it can be intimidating to be a focal point of discord on campus. However, reflecting back on all the important work that has come out of Senate in my time at Tufts, I can’t emphasize enough that Senate proves to be a vital space to advance student interests. If you are at all interested in making a change in your community and don’t know where to begin, Senate is a great place to start. I encourage you to consider running to represent your class year or community, or at least vote for your student representatives in this April’s election.

Over the years, Senate has quietly been the catalyst for many of the services that are integral to the fabric of Tufts student life. Late Night Dining, visited by hundreds of students every weekend, was a Senate initiative. The Tufts Mobile App that allows students easy access to shuttle trackers and dining hall menus was as well. Next year, all students will have 10 weeks to elect to take a class Pass/Fail instead of just first-years.

On an institutional level, Senate has been working to address issues of Tufts’ financial accessibility through initiatives such as the Swipe it Forward Meal Bank, providing free menstrual products in high-traffic bathrooms around campus, $10 printing stipends for full-time students and Trustee Representative Nathan Foster’s work on introducing affordability metrics for the Board of Trustees’ performance standards. In addition, as our administration is grappling with significant budget deficits, it is now more crucial than ever to have students advocating for our own best interests. It is our responsibility to demand transparency regarding tuition hikes and how the Tufts administration allocates resources around campus.

If you yourself do not have time to run, take a few minutes to think about leaders in your life who have been or have the potential to be strong advocates and leaders. TCU Senate, and our whole Tufts community, could use them right now.