My Experience Running for Thelomathesian Society President! | St. Lawrence University

My Experience Running for Thelomathesian Society President!

Tinga Adiang

My experience running for the Thelomathesian (Thelmo) Society President was one of the most inspiring and challenging experiences I have been through while a student at St Lawrence. Student government has always been a passion of my mine. I started my student government experience in high school, where I was on the student council representing my class. In my first week of college, I was fortunate to have Ryan Orvis ’17 as one of my Orientation Leaders. Ryan was the Thelmoathesian Society President the year before I arrived at St. Lawrence. Ryan encouraged me to join Thelmo, our student government, but I was a little unsure if I would join because I was not entirely confident I would be able to juggle all of my responsibilities. Ultimately, I decided that becoming involved was a priority for me and one I could accomplish through participating in Thelmo. I joined the organization filled with excitement as senator representing the students. Simultaneously, I was also a member of the Men’s Varsity Basketball team. I was a senator for two semesters throughout my first year and at the start of my sophomore year, I chaired the Academic Affairs Committee. In this position, I brought Dave Zirin, a sports political activist, to campus.

As a result of these early experiences, and with the support of my teammates, friends, family and professors, I decided to run for Thelmo President and launched my campaign. There were three other candidates that were well qualified for the position so I knew it was going to be a tough race. For me, the campaign was exhilarating. Immediately, I was able to do what I love to do and that is to talk to other students from all sorts of organizations, clubs and walks of life. I ran on the platform of making Thelmo a more accessible resource to students, while addressing the concerns of student needs from all backgrounds. A regular day for me during my campaign consisted of going to class from 8:50 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., then go to a club or organization meeting and talk about what I wanted to work on if I they elected me as the next president.

The conversations consisted of me talking about my experience within Thelmo and listening to the experiences of others. I knew if I got elected, those were the topics that I would have to prioritize because the purpose of Thelmo is to represent students while trying to address their needs and concerns to the best of our abilities. For instance, I heard from multiple students that the Health Center not being open during the weekends was a concern, as was communication about what Thelmo was up to. Now, as president, I am working to find a way to have the Health Center open to meet the needs of our community, and I am now send out weekly emails to students on Sundays informing them of what Thelmo did the week prior and invite them to attend our weekly meetings. I took the time to not only listen, but to really hear what the students would want for me to focus on.

The campaign period required my full attention and commitment because I needed to ensure that I got out my message to all sectors of the student body and listen to every voice I could. I went door to door in the dorms talking to students about my plans and informing them that I was running for president. I was fairly confident most students knew I was running as there were numerous campaign posters of mine all around campus, but I wanted to make a personal connection with as many students as possible so that people better understood me and not just what they might assume of me based on my poster.  I got to meet so many students throughout my campaign that I would have never met otherwise. As a result of these connections, I am so much more informed of the St. Lawrence community that I now represent.

I highly encourage St. Lawrence students to join Thelmo or run for an executive board position. This is an experience I will cherish for life and will never forget. If you are passionate about student politics, community organizing or just want to be more involved and have a voice, then Thelmo is the place for you!