“It’s a lot of thankless work; I think Martin can speak to that,” Wang said. “The time I spent at NIU and as a member of the SA Senate was invaluable to me.”
Aside from being speaker, Wang was a member of the McKearn Fellows Program, NIU Forensics Team, Honors Student Association and an NIU UNIV 101 Peer instructor. Wang said being a member of SA taught her the true value of leadership.
“Being a member of the Student Association — whether you’re a senator, executive member or supreme court justice — it’s more than just being a resume builder, the network you build, the friends you make or the title, it’s about tangible change,” Wang said. “I’ve met student leaders across Illinois, and NIU is unique among them in that the SA has more autonomy than most other student governments.”
Senators who served under Wang in the 48th and the 49th session had the opportunity to speak about their time working with her.
Senator Brandon Lesnicki said he doesn’t think he would be the election commissioner if it wasn’t for Wang’s leadership.
“Last year, I served as deputy under [Wang],” Lesnicki said. “I really think she did a lot in terms of helping me grow as a leader, and there were so many different things she did on and off campus, from helping with social policy to the parking reform.”
Legislative Director Ian Pearson said even after Wang graduated, she continued to mentor him and help him be an effective leader of the Senate.
“When I took on the 49th session, I had no clear idea of how the Senate worked [or] how the Student Association can be a tool for the campus,” Pearson said. “Not only did [Wang] take a personal interest in my learning, but she also helped me by appointing me to several committees which I was able to take [positions on].”
Wang said current senators should keep each other accountable while taking care of themselves and each other.
Wang also told senators to move forward together.
She said the work in the Senate shouldn’t be easy, adding everyone in SA is human.
“Remember, there are students that need your voice, and you’re the only one standing between them and the administration, the city of DeKalb or the state government,” Wang said. “The true value of [being a] public servant is knowing that you set an example, so you act accordingly.”