Illinois: In her new role, Student Trustee Samiha Syed wants to provide leadership informed by College of DuPage students’ needs and to make students aware of the power of their own voices.
“My main goals as student trustee are to ensure effective representation of the student body and voice, organize campuswide events for and by all students, increase the Student Leadership Council’s campus presence, increase student involvement and unite the student body as a whole,” she said.
A resident of Lombard, Syed said her desire to be student trustee comes from a commitment to the college and a passion for community service.
“Student trustee is a role that stems from a place of devotion to the students, the faculty, the college and the community at large,” she said. “It is that sense of dedication and love of COD that inspired me to run for the position.”
Leadership roles and community service involvement are not new for Syed. She currently serves as president of the college’s Future Physicians Club, executive vice president of the Society of Women Engineers, and is an officer of Care to Cure.
A Living Leadership program participant, she also invested more than 200 volunteer hours as a coordinator in a campuswide blood drive, as well as working on an initiative designed to provide free health screenings on-campus to uninsured students and members of the community.
Syed also created Chaps Unite, an initiative to foster greater student involvement on campus and which, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, has evolved into the campuswide #ChapsUnite movement.
“I created Chaps Unite to empower student success and provide a support system, a sense of unity and coalition within the College of DuPage community to support students academically, socially, emotionally, psychologically and physically through student-led leadership initiatives, demonstrations and advocacy,” she said. “During quarantine, Chaps Unite’s goal is to help members of the college community process their emotions, make connections, build relationships and create an unparalleled support system during this time of crisis, as well as to advocate student unity, social and psychological well-being and persevere through adversity, together.”
She has plans for Chaps Unite that go beyond the virus. In the 2020-2021 academic year, she hopes to organize collegewide events, including unity walks, rallies and demonstrations to unite the student body and help them develop a sense of ownership, pride and privilege regarding their identity as COD students.
While Syed is undecided about what career to pursue, she hopes to graduate with a B.S. in Chemistry from University of Illinois at Chicago after earning her associate degree from COD. She said that she is keeping an open mind and hoping to take advantage of everything COD has to offer.
“I would definitely like to gain as much experience and guidance as I can from the resources available to me prior to declaring my path with certainty,” she said.
She said that an important part of her learning experience at COD is her involvement with the campus beyond the classroom.
“I enjoy getting involved on campus because I find it integral to the learning process,” she said. “It also allows for the exploration and development of one’s conceptual framework, such that one is able to better understand and develop one’s own aptitudes and inclinations as an individual, a student and with regard to one’s career of choice.”
She added that COD has enabled her to pursue her passion for community service.
“Through my experiences at the College of DuPage, I have been able to engage with the DuPage community on a much more personal level,” she said. “I feel truly devoted to this community and I am grateful. It has been a privilege and an honor I deeply acknowledge and value. I aspire to live up to everyone’s expectations of me while serving in the role of student trustee. As Albert Einstein once said, ‘Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.'”