Junior Erin Bousek was announced as the next Student Body President on March 26, and the same values that set her on the path to the Student Senate are now shaping her planned objectives.
The run-off election that decided the president was between Bousek and fellow candidate David Daye. The initial voting round for Student Body Officers earlier in the week saw neither presidential candidate meet the 50-percent majority needed for a decisive victory.
“It was an incredible whirlwind learning that I had won, and it took a while for it to really set in,” Bousek, an electrical engineering major, said.
Bousek announced her run on March 8 through social media, using her platform to highlight four areas her term would address. Bousek wants student mental health prioritization through increased checkup opportunities and a reinstated fall break, exposure weeks to promote organizations, a syllabus bank (syllabi being available during registration) and an increase of outdoor study spaces.
With last semester seeing increases in the Student Senate’s visibility among the student body through its response to COVID-19 and several administrative decisions, Bousek has filled its highest seat at a crucial moment.
“More than anything, [the results] showed me that the work I put in was paying off and that students did want to be involved in the school elections,” Bousek said.
With her academic background consisting of engineering, Bousek offset her freshness to student politics by extensively observing the campus environment to hone in on her term interests.
“For me, my campaign was all about making information readily available to people,” Bousek said. “I am a busy student, so I do not typically have the motivation to go out of my way to learn about something like student election candidates. That being said, I did my best to reach out to students, and make my platforms, and myself easy to access for people to learn more.”
Senior psychology major Claudia Blanchard said she voted for Bousek because she reached out to her personally via social media regarding her platform.
“Not only did it make me feel informed, but it made me feel like she really cared about the students and not just winning a position,” Blanchard said.
Bousek empathized with the position the administration had to make decisions from but still applied pressure to any problems that arose with her own solutions. These solutions were found through means including composing student research and having conversations with students and dozens of clubs to gauge the problems with the university.
Bousek’s campaign grew from a potential she saw for changes at Bradley that would not only have immediate effects, but increase long-term retention and interest in the university, and one of the most prominent parts of her work was seeing firsthand the effect the student body could have.
This passion for getting involved is something Bousek said has followed her throughout her life, which lent itself to the emphasis on learning from others’ perspectives and seeing what she could apply that her campaign would later see.
“I think the biggest lesson I learned throughout this campaign was that students, when given the opportunity, are excited about the school and want to get involved,” Bousek said. “I also really learned how deep my passion for this role was, and how easy it was to put in the work to further my campaign.”
Bousek described a legacy she hopes her term can fill as one where students felt comfortable and enthusiastic in sharing their experiences and getting involved, as well as one led by someone true to their words.
“I know that being newer to Student Senate in general may mean that I am more naïve to how things are usually done, but I am hoping that it also gives me an opportunity to continue on without the fear of rejection, or without the reminder of past trials holding me back,” Bousek said.