New Student Government Leaders Focus on Sustainability, More Space

Eric Chen

Eric Chen

New Student Government leaders at The University of Texas at Dallas were elected with a campaign to engage students in more sustainability efforts and expand common space for students to gather on campus.

Incoming president Eric Chen, a National Merit Scholar and an actuarial science junior in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and vice president Carla Ramazan, a McDermott Scholar and an undeclared freshman who plans to attend law school, are experienced Student Government leaders who hope to impact the campus for future generations.

“To be a Comet in the fullest sense is to give back to people, to do meaningful things on campus. It’s our responsibility to ensure the longevity of our projects, serving the campus in a way that lasts over time,” Chen said.

Ramazan believes their platform goals resonated with students, and their ability to connect with diverse groups on campus tipped the election results in their favor. The new leaders hope to engage students who have been typically underrepresented by Student Government, including international, graduate and nontraditional students.

“We had a lot of energy, and did a good job of reaching out to people who agreed that the projects we had would be awesome,” Ramazan said.

Among their sustainability proposals is a freshman bike project that would help free up parking space and encourage a more bike-friendly campus. New freshmen who leave their cars at home would be eligible to win a new bicycle, helmet and lock.

Carla Ramazan

Carla Ramazan

“The project would help us reduce our carbon footprint and whittle away at the parking problem we have now,” Chen said.

Another proposal is to have “eco-coins” that can be exchanged for reusable bags and to-go boxes in dining areas.

Ramazan also hopes to see more flexible dining options on campus, including at least one $5 meal offered by each vendor to help students on a budget.

Both Chen and Ramazan also want to see more common space on campus similar to the Plinth — possibly a portable tent on a parking lot or athletic field — where crowds of students could gather for cultural performances and philanthropy events.

Chen has been drawn to leadership roles since serving on Student Council in high school. He said it’s the best way to make a difference on campus.

“I really found my community with them. It’s the ability to see something that leads to a tangible result and that impacts people in a positive way,” Chen said.

Ramazan, who hopes to become a civil rights attorney and perhaps run for office one day, agreed that Student Government gives her a chance to make policy changes happen.

“I love talking to people about what they’d like to see. I heard really great things about Student Government from other McDermott Scholars who said it’s easy to work with administration here and to implement ideas,” Ramazan said.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].