Scripps Associated Student’s (SAS) president Sneha Deo ’17 still loves Scripps for the same reason that initially attracted her to the College four years ago.
“I feel like Scripps sets students up to be able to do all the things that make them happy and not have to choose between them,” she says.
Deo didn’t always picture herself in the role of student body president, however. Inspired by a past SAS president’s role in encouraging the Board of Trustees to change the College’s admission policy in 2014, she decided to run on the platform of improving the student experience and access to campus resources, such as making the Student Union more accessible and ensuring students have input into academic and administrative policy. Deo views the SAS presidency as a powerful platform for building on the resources that have helped her thrive and making sure those resources are available for future generations of students.
As SAS president, Deo is involved in many bureaucratic tasks and meetings. Although her term officially began at the start of the fall semester, she has been leading weekly SAS meetings since last spring. Chairing the SAS Executive Board meetings means she sets the agenda for the gathering and listens to updates from the other board members, especially those working on SAS-sponsored activities or programs. In addition, she meets regularly with the College president and dean of students and gives presentations on student life to the Board of Trustees’ Student Affairs Committee. Deo also spends considerable time coordinating with the other 7C student governments.
One of her key initiatives is improving support for those students who have dedicated themselves to creating and maintaining communities for their peers. Deo sees these devoted students—members of A-Team, RAs, New Student Program coordinators, Scripps club and organization (CLORG) leaders, and others—as role models for her own development as a leader. Deo wants SAS to identify “places where students work thanklessly and unpaid—the kinds of things that students are sacrificing time for that might be critical to the way this campus functions.”
“A lot of what makes Scripps great doesn’t come from SAS, but SAS has a way to engrain those things in the institution so that they remain,” she says.
Deo also wants to demystify the role of student government on campus. For the past few years, interest in SAS has been waning, a problem she attributes to the challenge of communicating how student government is trying to improve student life. For example, one important way that SAS supports student interests is through its role as a funding body.
“It’s important we make sure the choices we make with resources not only align with SAS’ values, but with the values of the student body and that they serve the breadth of the student body,” Deo says.
Deo views the work of SAS’ many members as essential to the group’s ability to serve the student community. SAS’s Executive Board consists of a dozen students, including Deo. Their responsibilities range from allocating funding, publicizing SAS’s work, coordinating clubs and organizations, educating students on Scripps’ judicial and academic policies, and promoting environmental sustainability on campus; SAS’s Programming Board is made up of 10 students who serve as student activities and 5C events chairs as well as class presidents.
Only a few months into her term as SAS president, Deo is unsure how the position has affected her, but she does believe the experience will influence her after graduation.
“The things that have led me to this point have really shaped the way I think about people and the people I care about. I am at a place where [I understand that] unless I am thoughtfully compassionate with every action I take, I’m not doing my best work. I think that’s the thing I’m going to try to take forward into my future adult life,” Deo concludes.