Q&A commences with SGA’s newly elected 2019-2020 officers

Aaron Banks, Advertising Manager

Oakton’s new SGA officers for 2019-2020 were announced on Monday, April 15, 2019, with the following results:

Aaron Banks – President

Gabriela Lopez – Vice President

Adisa Ozegovic – Student Trustee

Amelia Baldwin – Treasurer

Andrea Azzo – Secretary

Emmanuella Khayi – Senator

Below, the new executive officers answer questions regarding their newly elected positions:

What qualities do you think you bring to your position?

Aaron: I believe my experience serving thus far in the SGA provides me with a unique perspective, yet I hope that the main attribute I exhibit as President is conscientiousness.

Gabriela: I bring many qualities to the table, primarily humility and courage. Which I believe are very important qualities to be able to reach out to students to understand their needs and concerns.

Adisa: I think my assertiveness, curiosity, and inquisitive nature are the personal qualities that best translate to my position as a Student Trustee.

Amelia: I believe being a devoted advocate for the students’ best interests, as well possessing an analytical perspective will help me immensely throughout my upcoming position.

Andrea: My qualities include a strong desire to learn as much as I possibly can, some determination and grit, and a positive attitude!


Why did you run for your position?

Aaron: My time as the Treasurer of SGA alerted me to the need to establish a concrete foundation for our organization. I believe SGA needs to renew its processes on the basis of a thorough and transparent intellectual framework, and I saw that the presidency would allow me to affect this change

Gabriela: I ran for the position of vice president to understand what happens on the college campus and be able to take part in student life decisions. Most importantly, to voice concerns that are not brought to the table from students who are not willing to voice for themselves.

Adisa: I thought that the Student Trustee best related to my previous experience as a student journalist. likewise, I get to work extensively with students while communicating student needs to the governing body of the college; it’s literally the best of both worlds. .

Amelia: I wanted to become involved with SGA overall because I believe one of the best ways to enrich one’s college experience is to become active in student life and on campus. I specifically ran for the position of Treasurer because I find satisfaction in staying organized and maintaining records. Being a part of SGA while holding the role of Treasurer enables me to take on a more involved role within the college, and participate in something I already derive pleasure from.

Andrea: I’ve always wanted to contribute to the Oakton community, and Student government Association seems like the best way to do so. Having the chance to make a real impact on the internal workings of the school while still being a student is a unique opportunity that I am glad to be chosen for. Secretary seemed like the natural option for me since I am organized and meticulous in my note-taking.


What is your favorite thing about Oakton?

Aaron: My Favorite thing about the college’s structure would definitely be the seminar classes offered through the Honors Program. I believe taking seminars are a great opportunity for students really interested in academics and interdisciplinary topics. The seminar-style classes provide an essential opportunity not only to explore your ability to think critically but also to challenge your proficiency in articulating and sharing your ideas with your peers. Other than this, the many friends I have made from everywhere on this earth has enriched my perspective on life and motivated me to be rigorous in the pursuit of my goals.

Gabriela: My favorite thing about Oakton is the ANDALE Program, where I have the opportunity to express myself, my culture, and my concerns along like-minded peers and be able to feel part of the college community.

Adisa: I have met such a diverse group of individuals at Oakton. That includes both students, faculty, and administration. I didn’t expect much of my community college experience, but I have found a fantastic environment with a large variety of different individuals who I have had the pleasure to share my learning experience with.

Amelia: My favorite thing about Oakton is the authenticity of its students and staff. I have not yet encountered someone who is unkind, or unwilling to help out another peer. Considering that many of us plan to transfer out after completing a couple of years, it creates a sense of comradery and support amongst the students because we can relate to one another’s aspirations. Oakton was not where I had envisioned spending my initial college years, but I am appreciative for the opportunity to spend time here figuring out what I want in life while being immersed in this supportive environment.

Andrea: My favorite thing about Oakton is just how closely-knit together the community is. Classes are small, allowing students the opportunity to ask tangential questions and receive answers from very knowledgeable instructors. Advisors really get to know you and your aspirations personally. Clubs work together in pursuit of a project greater than a single club could do on its own. Walking around campus, you can see students patiently helping each other learn the class material in the common areas. I’ve experienced first-hand that Oakton’s patchwork fabric of learners and faculty really do embody the ‘Community’ in Community College. It’s inspiring!


What are some of your interests and hobbies?

Aaron: Any free time I have is spent reading. I am an avid collector of literature from Dostoevsky to Hemingway and Kingsolver, yet my true passion lies in economic theory and history. You can always find me with work of Hayek or Mises in my immediate area- with a copy of their philosophical opponents nearby. When I am not reading, I am working on my own research projects pertaining to Law, economics, and psychology. If this is not how you find me, then I will unfailingly be drinking coffee or on my way to finding some.  

Gabriela: I am a very curious person and I like to do a little bit of everything. I enjoy working out and incorporating a healthy lifestyle into my busy schedule. I am very family oriented and enjoy the valuable time I get to spend with my family. I like to get my hands dirty, I participate in builds for Habitat for Humanity and I also work in a family landscaping business over the summer. I love to be outdoors and travel as much as I can, whenever I have the opportunity.

Adisa: I spend much of my free time reading, watching films, and procrastinating. I’m an avid reader of The Atlantic, and I love anything and everything that is oriented around communicating with others. Also, I’m a huge fan of dark chocolate, David Sedaris, and portraits of dogs playing poker.

Amelia: When I am consumed with school or work, I enjoy spending time educating myself about pathogenic bacteria, reading about our nation’s national parks and wildlife, and volunteering at a local hospital. Since I was young, I have always been fascinated with how creatures of all size interact and coexist with each other, so what better way to do that than to explore things from microscopic organisms to vast, virtually untouched landscapes. When the opportunity arises, I also love spending free time wandering throughout museums.

Andrea: When I am not in class, I spend my free time caring for my family members and making art. Family has always been an important part of my life, so giving back to the family that has supported me is on top of my to-do list. I also absolutely adore anything and everything art, and have a couple of artworks I’ve been working on this semester (works in progress, albeit). Drawing & painting really reduce my stress level, which is why I like to get a little doodling in right before finals. I also follow world news and international happenings obsessively, Middle-Eastern politics in particular.


What would you like to see happen on campus?

Aaron: I would like to see an integration of academics and student life. I think the fusion between these two sectors of our college will enable students to be successful however they so choose. That being said, I believe there should remain a consistent balance between the two, for their individual merits derive from their existence as respites from each other.

Gabriela: I would like to see more students break out of their comfort zones and try new things by getting involved on campus and in the community. I would also really like to see more communication among clubs and programs to bring more awareness for student involvement and ways to better support students. Oakton has a lot to offer but not all students are aware of that.

Adisa: I’d like to see students more involved. I think, often times, students, especially transfer students, are less likely to be a part of student life; they see their time at Oakton as a two-year long commitment and wait impatiently before they continue their academic careers elsewhere. I think the Oakton community would benefit extremely from higher levels of student involvement, in which students are more eager and willing to participate in the numerous activities, events, clubs, and organizations that are available. I’d also like to see a thriving OCCurrence.

Amelia: I would love to see more students become engaged in student life, and become active in new clubs. When I first began taking classes, I felt very alienated and alone because I didn’t know anyone in this area. In general, I am not the most sociable person, so I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and join a couple of clubs in hopes of meeting new people. Since then, I have begun to enjoy my time here instead of just “waiting it out” prior to transferring. If more people chose to do the same it would not only benefit themselves but the environment on campus as a whole.

Andrea: I wish that the student body knew more about just how extensive the resources offered at no extra cost to students are. I really would love to see more students use these resources. A lot of Oakton students have no idea that there is a Student Wellness Center on campus that can serve basic health needs, or whether they are qualified for the TRiO Program which is dedicated to serving underprivileged students such as first-generation attendees. A lot of classmates have never utilized the Tutoring Center either. Marketing these programs should be a top priority for the current leadership of SGA & students should know that help is always available.


What do you expect out of your tenure as an Executive Officer?

Aaron: During my tenure, I intend to have the SGA move in reevaluating its purposes and processes. I hope to instill precedent in how the SGA makes decisions as well as interacts with the student body. I also hope to make the SGA larger and more transparent. I think the most advantageous goal we could hope to achieve is an understanding of what SGA is and what it does on the part of the student body at large.

Gabriela: As an Executive Officer, I expect a bigger responsibility to represent the students. I am new to this position but I am willing to take on the challenge and have an open mindset to listen to all perspectives and overall do what is best for the students.

Adisa: I’m not 100% sure of what to expect, but I am definitely excited for the experiences to come. Like Gabby, I expect the greater responsibility to the student’s voice, and for that, I’d like to take this opportunity to ensure the Oakton students that I will do everything to my utmost ability to prioritize and safeguard the needs of the student body.  

Amelia: During my time as Treasurer, I hope to become more familiarized with what goes on behind the scenes at Oakton in order to gain a greater appreciation and sense for the dedication and hard work that goes into making our campus successful. I expect myself to represent the student body and their best interests, while also getting to know new people I previously would not have the chance to.

Andrea: Other than learning how to effectively serve as a representative for my peers, I expect a lot of work done to familiarize the Student population with what SGA is, what we do, and why everyone should become a participant. And even more work done to promote the long list of resources offered to each Oakton student. Members of the Oakton SGA should serve as mediators between the school itself and the students – getting the message out is oftentimes just as important as crafting it.

Aaron Banks
Gabriela Lopez
Adisa Ozegovic
Amelia Baldwin
Andrea Azzo