September 1, 2021

STUDENT ASSEMBLY VIEWPOINT | Welcome to the Student Assembly Viewpoint

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My name is Anuli Ononye and I am serving as your 2021-2022 Student Assembly President. If I haven’t seen you (virtually or in person) this year, welcome (or welcome back) to campus! I am excited to be back on our semi-normal campus and for the amazing things in store this academic year. 

I am honored to write to you in the first Student Assembly Viewpoint column of the semester. The SA Viewpoint was one of my major platform points during campaigning last semester, and I am thankful to the incredible editors at The Sun for providing us, members of the SA, with this platform to communicate with you this year. Unlike other similar columns that you have probably read, this will be a rotating column providing you with the opportunity to hear from your diverse, passionate representatives. I hope hearing directly from members of the Student Assembly will encourage you to seek them out for support on resolutions and initiatives, attend an SA meeting and feel more comfortable communicating with us in casual and informal settings. 

The SA has been working tirelessly for the past few months in preparation for this academic year. While last Thursday, August 26, was our first official meeting of the semester, representatives have been meeting with constituents and administrators, brainstorming and drafting policy changes, and researching different issues on campus in preparation for this year. 

In case you and I have never met, I thought I would let you know a little bit about me. I am studying Feminist Gender Sexuality Studies, Government and College Scholar in the College of Arts & Sciences. For the past two years, I helped found Student Assembly’s Office of the Student Advocate (OSA) as the Director of Academics (2019-2020) and as the Undergraduate Student Advocate (2020-2021). In addition to my work for Student Assembly, I am a columnist for The Cornell Daily Sun, a member of the pre-law fraternity Kappa Alpha Pi, an Undergraduate Resident Fellow (URF) on West Campus and an intern for the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs. Both in my different roles on campus and during the campaign trail last semester, I had the opportunity to speak with so many members of our community about concerns ranging from accessibility to mental health resources to academic support throughout the pandemic. I want you all to know that I have listened and am continuing to listen, and this year is our opportunity to make our campus into the space you want it to be. 

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at the convocation ceremony for the Classes of 2024 and 2025, along with new transfer students. While the pandemic has changed a lot, one thing that I am particularly proud of is the community that we have all continued to foster on campus. During the speech, I gave the new students my three “Don’ts” to create a great time on campus: “Don’t be afraid to try new things,” “Don’t be afraid to meet new people” and “Don’t worry about fitting in.” Although these are hard rules to follow, keeping yourself open this year is step one to accessing the limitless opportunities that we have on this campus. 

I hope our new column reaffirms the SA’s efforts to increase transparency and reaffirm your faith in our elected body. Above all, the SA should be serving you. I am looking forward to the opportunity to hear first hand from our amazing representatives and offer the column as an open invitation for you to use us as a resource this year. 

Anuli Ononye is the President of the Student Assembly and a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. Ononye is this week’s author of Student Assembly Viewpoint, a rotating column written by members of the SA. Comments may be sent to [email protected]. Student Assembly Viewpoint runs every other Thursday this semester.