2015 Student trustee candidate: Raquel Chavez

Student trustee candidate

Student trustee candidate

By Alex Nugent

Major: Senior political science and community leadership and civic engagement major and Spanish and Latino Studies minor

Involvement: NIU Model United Nations president, Student Association vice president, Pre-Law Honor Society outreach coordinator and Political Science Student Advisory Committee member

Q: Why do you think you are the right candidate for this position?

A: I think I am the right candidate for this position because I have [had] executive experience with the SA for a year, administratively and student body-wise, so I have a good gauge on the temperature in the student body and in the administration. I have also fostered many relationships with the administrators and would be working with them and overseeing their actions as the student trustee and have already met with the majority of the Board of Trustees during certain events … as VP.

Q: What would be your No. 1 priority if elected? Why?

A: Keeping Northern strong, meaning better recruitment, enrollment and retention efforts and thinking of creative ways in which to allocate funding, program prioritization, make sure our money is being spent wisely, effectively and efficiently. Money is going to be one of those great determining factors on whether students stay or not. We need to think of ways in order to help the president communicate down to the administration and come up with different ways to make NIU more appealing to students and create policies that will make our campus more safe.

Q: What is an issue NIU is facing and how can the SA can help NIU fix the problem?

A: I think the [retention] of students is probably where the SA can come into play the most. When students have something they are involved in they are more likely to stay. A big thing is having students be more aware of what NIU has to offer making sure students aren’t lost because there can be an information overload and it’s hard to know what all is happening. So, I think that the SA could be the link to certain things students may not know about, like where to go and who to talk to.

Q: How will you help the SA connect more with students?

A: In my particular position, it will be a little more difficult. I think that me keeping ties with the executive board and remain[ing] keeping in touch with the students … we want to try to get people to understand that the SA is still students just like you. The only difference is we just have the connections that help us get things done. There’s a lot to this job and you have to really want it and be prepared.

Q: What do you see as the main cause(s) behind NIU’s declining enrollment? How can the SA combat this/those problem(s)?

A: We need to make NIU more appealing. The infrastructure can be a turnoff and I think that there is not that much to do in DeKalb. Some people make their own fun, but a lot of people do not. Working with the city of DeKalb is going to be huge. Being on the Board of Trustees I wouldn’t deal with that issue that much, except for interacting with the city officials, not to say that I couldn’t or wouldn’t; I totally will if need be. I think the best way in which to combat it would be fostering relationships with community members, and making sure these community members are aware of the situation Northern is going through.