Rector candidate Afsheen Chowdhury prioritizing cultural change on campus

Chowdhury’s platform in the works, hopes to contribute to past leaders’ work

Rector candidate Afsheen Chowdhury, ConEd '19.
Rector candidate Afsheen Chowdhury, ConEd '19.

Ranging from policy adjustments to influencing a substantial cultural change on campus, Rector candidate Afsheen Chowdhury plans, if elected, to enact changes both on a small and large scale.

Chowdhury said she first became interested in running for Rector when she realized what an empowering role it could be for students. Her experiences as a Residence Don and as a Senator helped her develop the leadership skills she believes will help her in the position if elected.

“[The Rector] is a person who can come in and motivate people to establish the leadership skills they already have in themselves to be able to tell a student ‘your idea is possible,’” Chowdhury said.

Although Chowdhury, ConEd ’19, has yet to release her official platform, she believes the Rector position involves three key objectives on which she plans to build.  

“The first [component] is to be a part of university governance … the second is helping the student body, serving as a resource. The third aspect is to establish this platform to put forth when you are running, whatever your vision is,” Chowdhury said.

She’s currently working with her campaign team, which she says she chose very carefully, to come up with the exact points in her platform. One of her biggest visions involves implementing cultural change — a responsibility she sees as vital to the position of Rector.

“It is about continuing the cultural change that has been put forth by past leaders, the legacy that has been left, and to be able to continue that change,” she said. “Cultural changes take place over years, over lifetimes – so it is more about continuing that and being an active member and understanding the magnitude of [it].”

According to Chowdhury, a culture change has the potential to enact changes related to sexual assault policy or diversity issues. 

“Year upon year I have been seeing how many changes take place, but it wasn’t one person and it wasn’t one year – it was over time,” Chowdhury explained.

In terms of creating policy and a platform, Chowdhury acknowledges the importance of talking to students to get an understanding of what everyone needs.

“I think it is important that students be given agency,” she said. “[Giving students] agency and [being] able to advocate for their own experiences, so the administration has the idea that they want to address it.”

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