Rallying Student Leaders to Make Meaningful Impact

nullFrom an early age, people have known me as the kid who didn’t have a shy bone in his body. My loud and extroverted qualities usually made me less likely to be the teacher’s favorite. I loved talking so much that I joined the debate club in high school — and even that couldn’t tire me out.

One day, my mentor, Will, who also helped me tie my first bowtie, sat me down and said that in college I should channel my energy into being a productive member of society.

The summer before I started college, Will suggested I join Student Government Association. That advice stuck with me. Fast forward five years, and I’ve just finished my tenure as Student Body President at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

As Student Body President, the issues that came across my desk touched every component of a student’s journey in college. A few of the topics on my mind at any given time included Mental Health, Academic Advising, Career Support, Tuition Costs, and much more. As an elected official at a university, it’s incredibly important to advocate for the needs of students and be a voice for those who may not have access to the same opportunities. And it’s no secret: Students across the country are looking for more ways to get support throughout their career journey.

Which leads me to why I choose to spend my summer with the University Team at Handshake.

Across the country, Student Body Presidents are focusing on making life on campus and beyond easier for marginalized students. Handshake’s mission centers around making sure that every student — regardless of major or background — has the same opportunities as their peers across the country. Handshake offers jobs and internship opportunities in areas like startups, education, and other liberal arts and STEM industries that colleges may not have the connections to offer otherwise.

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Sujay with his Chief of Staff, Evie Owens, and Vice President, Richard Wang

This summer, I made it my mission to engage other universities on ways we can act as better advocates for career support in each of our communities.

“Handshake is a great resource for our Buckeyes to become career focused in an easy to use and streamlined manner.” 
— Shamina Merchant, Student Body President at Ohio State University

Even universities who don’t partner with Handshake yet wanted to find out how they could bring the Handshake community to their campus. 

As a student advocate, if career services isn’t one of your top priorities, it should be. It’s an issue that every student at your school can get behind. Students attend college because they care about their futures. All students, regardless of the path they’re interested in, should have access to opportunities to launch their careers. If you’re fortunate enough to be a student leader on campus, I encourage you to plant the seed by asking to be in the room during the decision-making process, and use your voice to support change on campus to ensure your fellow students can jumpstart meaningful careers.