Students Take Charge of the Global Network

Student leaders from the three NYU campuses — Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and New York — are working together to establish the Global Student Council, a new ...

Apr 12, 2014

Student leaders from the three NYU campuses — Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and New York — are working together to establish the Global Student Council, a new Student Government body that, if created, will represent students across NYU’s 14 sites spanning six continents.
Representatives from the three Student Governments met for the first Student Government Summit at NYU Shanghai in late February. During an informal brainstorming session, conversation turned to expanding student leadership to the entirety of NYU’s global network.
Mariam Ehrari, a senior at NYU New York and Chair of the Student Senators Council, remembered realizing in Shanghai that there was a need for a "structure that is focusing on the GNU specifically and constantly.” Thus the idea of the Global Student Council was born.
This Student Government body will be led by three Global Vice Presidents, one from each degree-granting campus. At their home campus, each GVP will be the head of a Global Action Committee composed of students chosen internally. Any changes in policies proposed by these committees will be taken to the GSC for review, then to the appropriate student government and finally up through faculty and university councils.
Jules O'Connor, a junior at NYUNY and Chair of the International Affairs Committee of the Student Senators Council, said that the GSC will not infringe on the work of individual councils. Instead, it will advocate for the interests of students as they move through the GNU.
"Just as each portal campus has a student government, the GSC will be the representative body for abroad students while simultaneously adhering to the policies and procedures at the respective site," said O'Connor.
Administrators have responded positively to this idea. Linda Mills, Vice Chancellor for Global Programs and University Life, met with the students at the Summit in Shanghai. According to junior and External Relations Officer of Student Government Benjamin Jance IV, Mills has been the GSC’s “biggest fan.”
The GSC is planning programs that include coordinating sequential courses across all campuses and creating an online platform like “Rate My Professor” for students to compare study abroad sites. Another idea is to expand the role of International Ambassadors, students abroad who work with site-specific administrators and other student leaders at their home campuses to improve student life overseas.
"[These programs will] better the day-to-day experience of students around the world," said O'Connor.
With Abu Dhabi’s first class graduating and Shanghai’s first year as a degree-granting campus coming to an end, students recognize that now is the time to take charge of the GNU.
“Up until this point we've focused on the GNU in a responsive nature," said Ehrari. "Now, we're making the GNU one of our standing items that will have attention even when there are no kinks to solve or bumps to overcome."
Jance talked about the main objectives of NYUAD's GVP, who will be the 11th member of the Student Government's Executive Board.
"[The person will] respect the interests of our students and serve Abu Dhabi students first and foremost," he said.
Jance encouraged students with questions to reach out to him or attend GA meetings on April 13 and 27 at 8 p.m. in Common Ground.
The GSC aims to foster a platform for consistent student involvement throughout the entire university. NYU President John Sexton highlighted the importance of student initiatives in furthering the mission of the Global Network while at the Student Government Summit in Shanghai:
“Students, more than any other group at the university, get what we’re doing — you live it, day in and day out.”
Natalie McCauley is a contributing writer. Email her at
Correction: April 14, 2014
It has to come to our attention that in the original edition of this article, the description of the International Ambassadors misrepresented the program. The appropriate changes have been made. The Gazelle apologizes for the oversight.
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