Friday, December 4, 2015

Meet the Student Government Association

As SAIS  prospective students prepare to arrive in Bologna for our Open Day, this Monday, December 7, we asked the members of the Student Government Association (SGA) to share some of their experiences and elaborate why they chose SAIS Europe. The SGA is elected by the student body each year. The members play a crucial role at SAIS as they act as the link between the student body and the administration. Below are their stories.

MIGUEL - President
I am this year’s SGA President and was born in a city known for its world famous Oporto Wine – Porto, Portugal. Before joining SAIS I was working as economic adviser to the Portuguese Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Lisbon.

The SGA has two main goals: to enrich the academic experience of the students by supporting their initiatives and to build a community among the student body. In 2015, the Association has organized a club fair with 26 participating clubs followed by karaoke night, a Halloween Party in a new location, and more recently, a Thanksgiving dinner with more than 200 participants.

Moving forward, the SGA has various goals including creating a football tournament, organizing cultural events around Bologna, designing new SAIS merchandise, and working closely with the administration to provide students with academic and career services.

The SGA members
The possibility of studying one year in Europe and another in DC was a decisive factor when choosing SAIS as my next home. Moreover, my passion for economics and international affairs made the Master of Arts (MA) program at SAIS the perfect fit for my long-term career goals.

In the SGA, I am responsible for coordinating all the areas of the association, and I am directly involved in the organization of social events and the management of internal relations.

After approximately three months with the SGA, the experience of serving the SAIS students has surpassed my initial expectations. More than a group of students, this year’s class is already a big family. The sense of community grows day by day, and the SGA works hard to promote events that strengthen friendship between students.

MAX - Treasurer
I am from Germany and I am in charge of student clubs as well as the distribution of SGA funds. In my role, I allocate funds to the Student Clubs to help them organize events that will benefit the SAIS community. This includes  inviting external experts and guest speakers for lectures, panel discussions and even sporting events.

Like many of my classmates I was attracted by the opportunity to study across the two sides of the Atlantic. I wanted a program that would provide a great variety of perspectives on international issues and that would prepare students for a future workplace with an intersection of politics, society and business.

What's more, I was interested in the opportunity to attend the numerous seminars with policy-makers and influential people in politics, multilateral organizations and government.

Since arriving in Bologna, I have realized that the student body is extremely talented and diverse. Sitting in a classroom with the influential decision makers of tomorrow is enriching, challenging and valuable at the same time.

ELISA - Cultural and Social Events 
I was born in Italy, but grew up in different parts of the world, from Alabama, U.S.A. to Beirut, Lebanon.

I’m in charge of Cultural and Social events and External Relations. This mainly involves planning and coordinating events throughout the academic year, and managing the student body relations outside of SAIS. I feel my role impacts the SAIS community very positively and helps to further build that strong sense of belonging that makes SAIS special --for example, we hosted a Thanksgiving dinner in late November that brought students, staff and faculty together-- and, at the same time, facilitates the integration in the bolognese life.

I am an M.A.I.A. student at SAIS Europe, and was previously enrolled at the University of Bologna. My interest to apply to SAIS dates back to when I decided to study International Relations and found out about this remarkable double degree opportunity.

Due to my international background and life-experiences, I directly felt that SAIS Europe was the perfect environment in which to complete my studies.

HIMMAT - Academic Affairs
I was born and raised in India, but moved around the country a lot since my father was an officer in the Indian Army. I studied telecommunications engineering, followed by an MBA. I worked for six years before coming to SAIS.

As a management consultant for five years, I had the opportunity to work with clients across five countries in South Asia and Africa.  I have always had a deep interest in politics and governance, which prompted my decision to leave what I was doing and start charting a new course for myself.

Studying at SAIS has provided me with the relevant academic foundation and the ideal platform to build a career in a field that is completely new for me. I was concerned that lack of an international relations or economics background would  pose a challenge for me. However,  soon after arriving to SAIS, I realized that the diversity of our student body is one of our greatest strengths. We all learn from each other as much as we do from our classes.

As a member of the SGA, I am responsible for academic affairs, fundraising (through selling SAIS apparel) and  external communications. As part of our initiatives, we recently launched our first SAIS apparel collection and will  be delivering orders to the students within the next two weeks.

The initiative was a success and we received a far greater response than expected. I hope to see some of you at our Open Day and get a chance to talk in person. Look out for a ridiculously tall man in a cast with crutches that look like toothpicks!

RICCARDO - Career Services
I am from Italy and like most of my classmates I have lived in different countries. After graduation, I worked as a Policy Advisor to the Chair of the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament. Moreover, I served in November 2013 as an EU Short Term Observer to the Presidential elections in Tajikistan, and as an OSCE Short Term Observer to the Presidential election in Belarus in October 2015.

I am the liaison between the student body and our Career Services team, working with fellow SGA member Himmat on academic affairs. As a number of students showed interest in my experience as an EU election observer, I am in the process of setting up a training module for aspiring election observers at SAIS. Through my role in the SGA, I aim to achieve synergies between the student body and the Career Services team during our time as students at SAIS Europe.

SAIS Europe SGA 2016

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