After weeks of perfectly-crafted campaigns, of bonding between classmates being formed and innumerable voting from the Queens College student body, the results are in. The President and Vice-President of the Student Association, QC’s student government, are officially Joseph Cobourne, ‘21, and Siddharth Malviya, ‘21, respectively.
Cobourne, a political science major, as well as a double-minor in history and philosophy, in his junior year, navigated his way to this esteemed position as a student of the SEEK Program, something he attributes much of his success to at QC.
“The [Queens College] SEEK program, has something called Student Generational Leadership which is like a smaller version of Student Association,” he said. “Director Blackman-Richards created this leadership program to help develop leaders and teach them how to manage the formality and requirements of their roles.”
It was SEEK’s Pride Day that introduced him to current President Carmine Couloute, when she introduced herself as a candidate in the running for the Presidency. Couloute is also a student of the SEEK and Student General Leadership programs; these commonalities made Couloute into a figure of inspiration for Cobourne, who eventually decided to “run as a senator at large under the first Students Serving Students (SSS) party campaign.”
Cobourne says a helpful tactic to adjusting was “…tailing Carmine and Farbod whenever I’m able to. It’s been helpful because I get to see what I’ll be required to do without haven’t to bear the full responsibility of it all. I have a good idea of what I’ll be looking forward to next semester.”
Hailing from an entirely different background is Vice-President Siddharth “Sidd” Malviya, who is a biology and psychology double-major with a Division of Math and Natural Sciences.
When asked how he got into the political facet of QC, Malviya accredited The Knight News, QC’s student-newspaper. “I just came in once every two weeks in 2018 for the [newspaper] meetings. Gradually I began to stick around in the Student Union, and [saw all] corners of student life in the basement… it’s truly quite amazing that there’s every single club—well, almost every—all in one building.”
Malviya continued, saying, “Since last semester, having joined the board of The Knight News, I began to interact more with student government, and I had [a] great appreciation for the hard work they do, and how they persist to keep students engaged and accommodate to everyone by hosting great events.”
As the representatives of the 20,000 students on campus, the President and Vice-President are burdened with the immense task of resolving some of the biggest issues that have arisen over the past few years. These issues from general problems, such as bad Wifi service, to more embedded problems, such as the polarizing divide between Greek life and Student Association, something Sidd pointed out as a serious concern.
However, he believes there is a shred of optimism to be found: “I think we’re starting to bridge the divide between SA and Greek life considering that the candidate for student body president, Joseph Cobourne, is part of Greek life on campus.”
Many students probably remember that during the era of the 2017-2018 SA government, a large-scale scandal was revealed after the details of fabricated meeting minutes came out. How can QC students trust that this year’s board will not repeat these mistakes?
Both members unilaterally agreed that the answer is simply transparency. “Students can trust this administration as the policy of the Students Serving Students party is to promote unity and transparency,” the Vice-President said. “While prior administrations may have had their flaws, it’s ultimately up to the future administrations to demonstrate a sense of consistency, which I believe has been shown through this year’s executive cabinet.”
Backing him up is the President, who chimed in saying, “The SSS party that Carmine and Farbod formed embodies a new era of what it means to be a leader of Student Association. Farbod has demonstrated the tenacity I need to advocate for students when representing my peers amongst faculty.”
It is clear that significant work is cut out for the newly-elected SA government. President Couloute has laid out the foundation that they need to start building a bigger and better student body here at QC; the ball is now in the court of President Cobourne and Vice-President Malviya. They know what they need to do, and there is, undoubtedly, nothing they won’t do to ensure a great school year!