By Allison Knott, RD
I spoke with Rebecca Nemec, Chair of the Friedman Student Council and Lorena Macias Navarro, First-Year Representative about the role the Student Council plays in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
“The Student Council acts as the liaison between the Friedman School Administration, the Office of Student Affairs, and the student body,” explains Rebecca. “We are the body that students should feel they can go to with issues about anything within the school.”
On the social side of the Friedman spectrum, the Student Council also plans events that bring students together outside of the classroom in a fun, relaxing environment. “I think the social events are a big part of Friedman life,” says Rebecca. If you attended any First Friday’s at 5, the Bake Off, or the Pumpkin Carving Party last semester, then you participated in an event coordinated by members of the Student Council.
In addition, the Student Council also funds student group activities. “We have requests for proposals so that student groups can ask the Student Council for funding,” explains Rebecca.
Where does the Student Council get the money that is used to fund activities and events?
“Some of the money comes from the Dean. Each year we give a report to him/her to tell where the money went and what we did with it,” says Rebecca. “I think it is nice that the money comes to us so that students can decide where it goes, instead of the Dean deciding.”
However, not all of the money in the Student Council’s treasury is provided by the Dean of the school. Rebecca emphasized the importance of fundraising and the hard work that goes into raising money each year. The Equal Exchange fundraiser and sales of Friedman School water bottles and other items with the school’s logo play an important part in securing funds for the Council.
Laura Carroll, Internal Social Chair, made a connection this year with Active Citizens of Tufts (ACT), an organization that connects alumni and current students to community service work within the greater Boston area. The group is planning a Gala on February 4th where part of the money will be donated to the Friedman Student Council to help fund student groups planning community service events.
How do you become a member of the Student Council?
Student Council members are elected to their positions by the Friedman student body. “The way the election cycle works is that in order to run for a position, you must be enrolled in school for the following semester,” says Rebecca. Some positions are elected in the Spring, while others are elected in the Fall. And any student can be a member of the Student Council as long as they are enrolled in Friedman.
What do you think is the greatest benefit to being a part of student council?
On a personal level, Lorena feels that being a member of the Student Council has opened doors for her. “It was really helpful for me to be involved because I was able to meet people that I otherwise wouldn’t have met,” says Lorena. “I have met people within the student administration and people who are a part of other programs at the Friedman School.” Rebecca says that the Student Council makes her feel like she is a part of the Friedman community.
On a broader level, both Council members say that the organization keeps them involved in the on-going processes and events at the school. “We are at the heart of what is going on in Friedman,” says Rebecca. “Everything from the admissions process to social events to the curriculum and degrees committee – we are in the mix of everything.” “It also gives a different perspective of the school because you are behind the scenes,” says Lorena.
How can students get involved without running for a position?
One way students can become more involved is to keep the Student Council in the loop with what is going on. “If there are issues within the school, come to us first before going to the Office of Student Affairs or the Administration because we have an institutional knowledge and can provide answers or additional assistance,” says Rebecca. And if students are working on a project within the community of Friedman, it is always a good idea to let the Student Council know. “We can potentially provide assistance in some way with the resources we have available,” says Rebecca
Other ways students can become involved is to attend meetings, as all are open to the Friedman student body. In addition, the Council will give a mini public service announcement prior to each Wednesday afternoon seminar to update the student body on what the Council is doing.
“Communicating what we are doing and how we operate within Friedman is something we are always working on,” says Rebecca.
What are the upcoming events that Friedman students can look forward to?
Elections are coming up during the second week of February. There are six open positions:
- Co-Chairs (2 open positions, ideally one policy and one science student)
- Internal Social Chair (1 position)
- Special Projects Representative (1 position)
- Curriculum, Degrees and Student Life (2 positions; one policy and one science student)
Additionally, First Friday’s at 5 is coming up on February 3rd and will be at McGreevy’s Irish Pub & Sports Bar. Another big event is the ski trip to Sunday River Ski Resort in Maine the weekend of February 24th.
Continue to look for more information on these and upcoming events in your Friedman email as well as on the Friedman Bulletin Board. You can also contact any member of the Student Council with questions and concerns.
*Photos courtesy of Laura Carroll
Allison is a second year Nutrition Communication student and registered dietitian. She has a passion for communicating sound nutrition information to the public. Follow her kitchen blunders, triathlon adventures, and read nutrition advice on her blog, Choices.Habits.Lifestyle.