Being an international student hasn’t always been easy on campus, and Minnesota State University, Mankato junior Paula Bejarano knows this all too well. These struggles were one of her key factors to joining the campus Student Government.
“I was struggling finding resources, and I knew others were facing the same problems. I learned how difficult off-campus housing is and the paperwork was confusing,” Bejarano commented.
After dealing with these problems for far too long, Bejarano decided to do something about it.
“My friend was running for vice president and she mentioned that if I already know the issues international students are struggling with, I should go for it and run for Senator. Because of her influence I followed her advice and just went for it.”
Being involved in the Student Government requires senators to actively create solutions to student problems through projects. Right now, Bejarano is working on two key projects to better the lives of both students and faculty at MNSU.
In her first project, Bejarano is improving the off-campus housing experience to help students receive a better variety of housing options. Right now, students of all backgrounds struggle to find housing that meets all of their financial and personal needs, and Bejarano, along with other senators, doesn’t believe students should have to worry about that.
Her second project focuses more on academics and the delivery of instruction within the classroom.
“I feel like since everything is online due to COVID-19 the professors struggle with online tools. I’m looking with the statistics department to guide the professors through the locations and functions of these online tools. Sometimes they waste time in class trying to understand these tools and we want to prevent that,” Bejarano explained.
Although she is only a junior, this will be Bejarano’s last semester as a senator since she will be furthering her career experience in an internship. Despite this, Bejarano says she has learned a lot through her time in the student government and will carry it on in her future.
“I’m a shy person, so joining this organization was a really challenging process for me, since I have to speak up in front of everyone and talk about my goals and ideas,” she said. “This experience has pushed me out of my comfort zone and has really pushed me to work on my weaknesses. That’s the greatest thing the Student Government has helped me with.”
Being involved within this organization has given great opportunities to its students to grow personally and professionally.
“Sometimes I wasn’t aware of the things happening around campus, and being part of the government allowed me to know about these issues. This organization has also helped me prepare for my future career opportunities,” Bejarano commented.