“Brooklyn College is one of the most richly diverse campuses in the country. The two biggest communities on campus are the Muslim and Jewish communities. So this year, my friend Iqura (Muslim Hijabi Woman) and I (Yemenite Jew) decided to run for Student Government President together with the intention of collaboratively co-leading. This was absolutely unique and unheard of at Brooklyn College, which usually has very contested elections. The idea that two students from very different communities decided to run together and share the highest position in the student body raised many eyebrows on campus. Students were very skeptical it would work out, and I got comments daily questioning my decision.
“Nonetheless, we both won the position and immediately started working closely to improve student life at Brooklyn College. Since there isn’t an official ‘Co-President’ position, in the fall I ran the cabinet and Iqura ran the senate, and in the spring we switched. Our cabinet wass proudly so different from other cabinets before it in that it was one of the most diverse in Brooklyn College history.
“Our Student Government created new methods for communicating with students, including establishing a website with student-facting resources, and engaged with the administration to help as many students as possible. The cultural shift this has created has made Iqura and I realize the power of our innovative, intersectional approach.
“Our collaborative leadership has taught me a great lesson in the importance of diversity and inclusion. When our student community sees themselves represented in leadership roles, they feel more safe, secure, and seen on campus. This makes for a better campus life experience for each student. This is what I will be taking with me throughout my college career and beyond my time at Brooklyn College.” – Aharon Grama, Brooklyn College ‘23
Aharon Grama is a recipient of the 2022 Hillel International Campus Leadership Award. Learn more about Hillel scholarships for Jewish students by visiting hillel.org/scholarships.