Lauren Harris, a senior political science major with a minor in African American Studies, has always been driven to be a leader and advocate for others. From joining Illinois State University’s Black Student Union her freshman year to now serving as student body president, Harris has used her voice to draw attention to issues students care about. She notes that, especially now, there are so many issues that students have a vested interest in, and it’s important for the administration to be informed on what students want and need.
As student body president, Harris recognizes that she is in a unique position to bring awareness to student issues, but she realizes that more voices need to be heard. “This is our school at the end of the day, so it’s important to have an elevated student voice that can also bring other students to the table. It can’t be just me. SGA wants to be a united front.”
Harris is also using her voice to advocate for Black students on campus through the #AntiBlackISU movement. In October, Harris and several other passionate student leaders began meeting with ISU administration to discuss various issues, including inclusive hiring practices, ISUPD, and retention efforts, particularly for Black men. Being a part of this committee has been an encouraging experience for Harris, who says they are looking forward to all of the actions ISU has and will continue to make. For Harris, involvement on this committee is an important way to hold institutions accountable for the well-being of marginalized students. “Black and Brown students at a historically white institution need to be seen and advocated for.”
Harris’ love for this campus and her belief in ISU’s potential have been the driving forces behind her prominent involvement in many areas of campus life. Besides her role in student government, Harris also works as a career ambassador in Career Services helping students create resumes and prepare for job interviews. Harris wants to see all students succeed and plans to pursue this passion by earning a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs, where she can continue her work in advocating for marginalized voices. It is an honor to feature her in our Student Spotlight Story.
For more information on ISU’s Student Government Association, visit SGA online.
The Multicultural Outreach Team (MCOT), a part of Student Counseling Services, whose mission is to foster a healthy, diverse, and equitable university community for underrepresented students, is seeking nominations for a new program in which we spotlight the achievements of diverse students on campus in a news story on our social media. If you know of a student who deserves to be featured, please submit the form.