As if rising out of thin air, The Student Empowerment Party gave Queens College students something that’s been absent in previous yearly elections: a choice. During last semester’s student government election, the current Student Association ultimately triumphed against SEP. But that did not deter SEP, now known as the Student Empowerment Project, from continuing its efforts to improve the QC community.
According to the club’s vice president Liam Philip, a sophomore majoring in history and economics, the six-month active club “works as an auxiliary organizational body for other clubs on campus.” This includes, but is not limited to, helping with club advertisements, promoting co-sponsored events between clubs, and keeping students in the loop about available resources, extracurricular activities, and anything else that affects them. For example, SEP informs students about how their money gets spent and how their concerns about the campus environment or academics are resolved, or not.
Most of the student body perceives QC as a commuter school: a place where students simply attend classes, study, and leave. SEP is striving to change this mindset by introducing them to the numerous clubs, programs, and resources on campus that the majority of students do not know about. In order to reduce that lack of student awareness, SEP tries to act as a unifying network.
SEP member Haisam Khalil, a sophomore majoring in political science, said, “[SEP has] always been about reaching out to other students and just making sure that what they want gets done. If there is a need that is not being fulfilled, that is not being handled, we reach out and try to show representation.”
In October, SEP found that it is not alone in its beliefs and goals. During the Congress for Clubs Presidents meeting, an assembly in which all QC club presidents discuss their concerns and attempt to form solutions, members of the Student Association have expressed similar desires. Noticing their common interests, Philip reached out to SA in hopes of collaborating.
“We have a set agenda; we’re just trying to get it done. It makes sense to utilize each other’s strengths,” Philip said. But while the Student Association touts collaboration as a yearly initiative among a number of others ( student advocacy, technology improvement, student athletics and Greek life support, and resolving academic issues), Philip says he has yet to hear back from them.
Other clubs at QC make their mission apparent through their titles alone. This can deter some students from getting involved on campus. SEP is all-encompassing; they welcome those who do not necessarily have a specified interest as well as those who do. The twenty-member club welcomes anyone who cares about QC politics, wants to feel connected to individuals outside of their social circle and feels inclined to make a positive difference in the QC experience for all attending students. SEP will also run in next semester’s student government elections to support and provide an alternative for those who feel that our current officials are unsatisfactory. Watch out for them because they’re coming with clear minds and strong hearts!