Portrait of an SJU Leader

Hey, Johnnies! Today is the day we vote for our 2017-2018 student government. I got the awesome chance to interview Tahmir Williams, candidate for VP and president of our chapter of the NAACP. Read it under the cut and don’t forget to vote!

What prompted you to run for VP?
I decided to run for VP because serving as President of NAACP this year, I saw firsthand what struggles organizations have to go through to be successful. I saw a lack of budgeting for smaller organizations to hold successful events and a lack of communication between organizations, operations, facilities and public safety. Organizations should not have to experience a bad event because things were not communicated correctly with operations, facilities or public safety.
Part of your platform is higher retention rates. What are you going to do to ensure that students stay here? In my opinion, there are two main reasons why many students decide to leave St. John’s, financial being the first and a lack of interest being second. I would like to help the University gain higher retention rates by working with administrators to first establish some type of grant or scholarship that students that hit financial hardship can tap into in order to keep them here at St. John’s. I would also work with administrators to find a way to keep students engaged. We can only know how to keep students engaged first by having a University wide survey and feeding off what the students have to say.
You also say you want to improve student services. What are some examples of things you want our school to offer?
I would like to work on improving the shuttle bus services, campus dining and counseling services. First, I’ve been told by many that shuttle buses are always late and in some cases never come. My idea is to add at least one additional shuttle bus so the services can run more frequently. Second, with campus dining, I believe there should be more meal plan options for students. I hope to work with chartwells and administration to find new options for students and meal plans. Lastly, I’ve been told that students sometimes have to wait weeks to months to see a counselor on campus. My hope is to have the University either hire more counselors or seek a partnership with outside counseling services. No student should wait to receive help!
You’re the current president of our NAACP chapter. What has that experience been like? Will you bring any of your knowledge from that organization to your vice presidency?
Being the President of our NAACP has been such an amazing experience for me. Being able to lead the chapter of a national organization is rewarding but nonetheless challenging. This chapter, in particular, has struggled with budgeting and membership. However, our membership has grown by over 60% since Fall 2015 and this year, I established our chapters first Community Service and Events Committees. Absolutely, I will bring my knowledge of the struggles of organizations in order to work with them effectively, I will bring my organization skills, hard work ethic and persistent attitude to this position if elected.
What separates you from other candidates? Why are you the best for the job?
What separates me from other candidates is my experience with leadership at St. John’s as well as my clear goals and ideas for this position. I am best for the job because I know the struggle of organizations, therefore I have a greater idea on how to improve them than other candidates.

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