Raychele Hernandez never expected to become BenU Mesa's Student Senate President, but has stepped into the role with great vigour.
In a recent Q&A, Hernandez opened up about her new role, the plans she has for the 2018-19 school year and some of the changes she hopes to instill while in office.
BENU MESA: Talk about what brought you to your current position — i.e., why did you want to serve as Student Senate President? How did you get ultimately win the gig? Did you expect to win, etc.?
HERNANDEZ: Well, I served as a Student Athlete Advisory Committee representative in Student Senate last year! We had a lot of fun spirit weeks and events planned and I really liked the whole experience.
I wasn’t planning on becoming Student Body President, but when the old one decided to study abroad he thought I would be a good fit for the role! (Assistant Vice President) Kevin (Broeckling)and (Director of Campus Ministry) Rob (Curtis) also discussed the idea of being the president so after a little thought I decided, why not? I felt like it would be the perfect opportunity to be involved with the school.
As for winning the gig I didn’t expect to really win at all … all I knew was the idea of me being president was floating around. Everyone who wanted to join Student Senate had to fill out an application and a couple of other students wanted to run for president as well, but when I was picked I was super excited and ready to start the year!
BENU MESA: What are some of the things you want to accomplish as Student Senate President?
HERNANDEZ: My role is to advocate for the student body. In general, I want to make the BenU experience some of the best times for our students’ lives. I want a lot of school spirit and unity within the student body. We have planned a lot of tail gates, spirit weeks and crafts to help lead the way.
I also want to advocate for new programs to help students academically, socially and mentally/emotionally. And lastly, I want to coordinate an awesome senior gift that will end our students’ BenU experience with a bang!
BENU MESA: On that same vein, what are some things you think BenU Mesa needs to do better?
HERNANDEZ: The idea of school spirit has been the main focus around the school this year. In the past it hasn’t lived up to expectations. In order to make it better we need tons of support from the students.
BENU MESA: Talk about your Senate group. What separates them from those that served in years past?
HERNANDEZ: My senate group is awesome this year! I have people on my team that really buy into the idea behind this year, and I think it’s super awesome. Anything I say that needs to get done gets done ten times better than I expected. They all share the same vision and goals that we are really striving to achieve this year and I’m excited to be working with all of them!
BENU MESA: Talk about yourself. Where are you from? High school? Other colleges? Why did you choose BenU Mesa?
HERNANDEZ: I am originally from Flagstaff, AZ. I went to Flagstaff High School. I made varsity for both basketball and softball my freshman year and everyone thought I was going to go to college for basketball, but in my heart, I really wanted to play softball.
So, at the last minute, I decided to turn down my basketball offer and go to Phoenix College. Then, I transferred to Mesa Community College, but after that I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go even though I had a lot of offers. I didn’t want to go too far especially because my dad is my role model and I still wanted him to come see me play! It turned out to be a blessing in disguise when my team (at MCC) ended up playing BenU Mesa in a scrimmage game! From that point on, I knew I wanted to go to BenU Mesa.
BENU MESA: Talk about the challenges that lie ahead (if any) and how you plan to overcome them.
HERNANDEZ: I think a lot of the challenge we face this year is that, since we are such a new school, it’s a little harder to get the big college experience. But once I saw a lot of the students at orientation and spirit week I think we will be just fine!
BENU MESA: Additional thoughts.
HERNANDEZ: I just want to thank everyone for all the love and support through this whole journey it really means a lot!
Benedictine University Mesa is a branch campus of Benedictine University, an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine was named among "America's Top Colleges" for the seventh consecutive year in 2017 by Forbes magazine. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (602) 888-5500, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu/mesa.