Last semester, Drew’s student body elected the new Student Government President Ashley Kibel (‘25) and Vice President Jocelyn Freeman (‘25). Prepared with solid goals and a united vision, the duo have taken on their new leadership positions with gusto and a strong work ethic.
Explaining her role as student body president, Kibel said, “I, most of the time, am the one meeting with administration to voice concerns that the students bring to me. I also collaborate with Jocelyn on coming up with projects based [on] those suggestions as well as what we’ve personally seen that the campus needs [to be] improved upon, whether that be mental health resources or community traditions.”
Likewise, Freeman described the role of vice president as something akin to a liaison between involved parties: “I function to encourage the Senate to [take] action when it comes to projects and concerns, and I foster the relationship between our senate and our cabinet, and also between our senate and our student body, to make sure that the things they’re bringing to us get to the people who can act upon them and can make a change based on the needs and suggestions that are demonstrated.” However, she clarified that this is not her only purpose: “I’m not necessarily just a liaison, I also handle projects that deal with organization involvement. So, making sure that people know what’s going on, hosting events so that people feel welcomed and making sure that people are showing up.”
It is that connection and exchange between the diverse Drew communities and university administration that is crucial to both Kibel’s and Freeman’s jobs and to their goals and mission.
For example, a change Kibel looks forward to enacting during her term is transparency in all levels of leadership. “I would like to hold the administration accountable for transparency. There have been a lot of requests from students for information about the land sale, COVID cases on campus, as well as the happenings of administration in general,” Kibel said. She also clarified that this promise of transparency applies to her own cabinet and to the student government organization as a whole. “We want a newsletter, in the form of an email, to go out monthly or perhaps once a semester,” she explained, “so that way we can summarize for the student body what exactly we’re doing for them.”
In regards to projects and missions they’d like to achieve, both Kibel and Freeman spoke of wanting to create welcoming, open spaces of collaboration, conversation and community for all students. They also want to bolster institutional support for students in their various daily struggles and create more involvement both in Drew’s student government and real-world politics.
“I also want to focus on mental health,” said Kibel. “We want a sports psychiatrist on campus. We want to also help the counseling department have more time and connection to students and have that more widely available to students.”
Freeman then elaborated on that point, saying that she wanted to specifically make mental health care spaces for student leaders — such as herself and Kibel — to deal with their unique struggles.
“And I also want to make sure that we’re fostering diversity and inclusion and continuing things that our racial justice committee has put forth, continuing things that our sustainability committee has put forth, making sure that we’re fostering conversations that are uncomfortable as well as fostering conversations that are exciting to have,” said Freeman. “I really want to focus on keeping campus traditions alive, making sure that people have a space to function in a fun and social way as well as in a professional setting.
The two also plan to increase voter education, registration and involvement from the student body.
“One of my personal goals is to get the day off of school on federal and state election days so that our Drew students have the opportunity to vote,” said Freeman. “That’s something that my state does; it’s something that’s legally required for all schools that have voting-age students back in Illinois, and that’s something I want to bring to Drew.”
What makes it easy to believe in the pair’s ability to strive effectively toward these goals is their faith in the people around them and their passion for leadership and service to the community.
“I would say that the most important part [of student government] for me, and the most exciting part, is that I’m around people who are genuinely concerned with the state of things and they are there to make a change and have a positive influence… The people in student government are showing up not just for themselves, but they’re showing up because they deeply care about the Drew community, and I love to surround myself with people who are passionate in that way,” said Freeman.
Kibel certainly agreed on this point, saying, “I had a large group of people that I knew here, and I feel very engaged and active on campus so I felt it was really possible to make a difference though the wide network of people that I had. I also knew that, with Jocelyn by my side, we could definitely make this into a reality because she is amazing with campaigning and creating relationships with people.”
Kibel and Freeman are both passionate people who care deeply for the Drew community as a whole, smaller communities and the individuals that comprise the student body.For more information on Drew’s student government and how to get involved, check out path.drew.edu. To contact the new president and vice president, email Kibel at firstname.lastname@example.org and Freeman at email@example.com, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chloe Gocher is a sophomore majoring in English (creative writing) and minoring in Spanish.