With Student Government presidential elections taking place this Friday, Nov. 30, as well as the swearing-in ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 2, outgoing President and senior Salma Mahmoud finds her time in Drew Student Government coming to a close.
COURTESY OF SALMA MAHMOUD
Mahmoud (’19), was born on Jan. 20, 1997, to Egyptian parents Ashraf Mahmoud and Neima Abdelaal. Mahmoud spent the first 11 months of her life in Egypt before moving to Garwood, N.J. with her family. According to Mahmoud, her decision to attend Drew was heavily influenced by her time visiting her sister Soha (’11) when she was young.
“I used to visit her all the time when she was at Drew, and I loved the campus and knew that when it was time to pick a college, Drew was the right place for me.” She continued on the value of a liberal arts education saying, “Aside from the beautiful campus, I really agree with getting a liberal arts degree and having small classroom sizes and close relationships to your professors.”
Mahmoud, a Neuroscience and Spanish double-major, first began her Student Government career in her sophomore year when she was elected Commuter-at-Large representative in the Student Senate. However, her time as commuter representative would be short-lived as a few months later Mahmoud’s presidential predecessor, Jared Sutton (’18), invited her to run on his re-election ticket in 2017 as his Vice President. Sutton and Mahmoud would run unopposed.
“I think after being vice president for a year and realizing how much I could get done by being president, I was extremely motivated to run so that I could accomplish all of the things I wanted to and try to make everyone's experience at Drew at least a little better.”
As part of her campaign, Mahmoud and her Vice President Shehab Marzouk (’20), campaigned heavily on transparency and opening communication between students and the University, a major part of which would be done through Student Government meet and greets, of which Mahmoud says she is most proud of.
“Our first meet and greet was really successful and there were a lot of students who gave suggestions on what they would like to see SG do and it was great to be able to interact with everyone and get their feedback firsthand.”
As for what she wishes she could have done, Mahmoud said, “I would have loved to create more long-lasting Drew traditions, like Spirit Week and tailgates during the semester.”
She continued, “Another big part of my platform was school spirit and that was a really tough thing to tackle because it's such a broad category and it's difficult to create school spirit when it's not organic.”
Mahmoud also had advice for the next Student Government President saying, “Definitely don't be afraid to ask for help. The president doesn't have to always have all the answers.” She elaborated, stating, “Part of the process is trying things and if they don't work out, figuring out what went wrong and a part of that is asking for help. It's not a one-person job and we're a community at Drew and in order to succeed, we all need to rely on each other.”
Mahmoud says she plans to next pursue a Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience, a goal in which she says her Student Government experience will come in handy. “Student Government really taught me how to work as a team to accomplish our common goals, and that is very similar to working in a research lab, even if you are working on an individual project, you are still collaborating with the rest of your lab mates,” she said.
She continued, “I've also gained the ability to think critically in tough situations which is a skill I will use for the rest of my life.”