Name: Syona Arora

Graduation Year: 2015

Major: Anthropology

Concentration: Gender and Sexuality Studies

Hometown: Pune, India

Student Activities: President of SGA, Class of 2015 Songmistress, Teaching Assistant in Anthropology Department, Student Representative for Gender and Sexuality Department

As a high school graduate coming from India, Syona Arora ’15 had never stepped foot on Bryn Mawr’s campus and honestly, didn’t really know that Bryn Mawr was a self-governed community. But after attending a SGA 101 workshop, she knew she wanted to be president someday.

“I wanted to have a place where I could talk to as many people as possible and listen to their voices,” says Syona. “I want to make sure that everyone knows that they have the power to make change happen on campus. And really important things, not just changing the library hours.”

Change Agents: Because we are self governing, students are able to say what change they want to see happen on campus. I don’t think many other schools have the same ideas around self-governance as Bryn Mawr does.

Self-governance: Bryn Mawr was the first college to have a SGA. It’s important that the first school to be self-governed was a women’s college because even though women didn’t have the right to vote in 1892, in the Bryn Mawr community they found a way to make themselves empowered. That’s definitely translated over the years.

Presidential Goals: It’s always an ongoing conversation to make SGA more inclusive. My goal is to reach out to students who feel unrepresented in SGA or don’t see how SGA can benefit them. I want to emphasize how one can get involved to an extent they are comfortable with, but still feel like they are having an impact on themselves and future generations of students at Bryn Mawr.

Take Aways: SGA has taught me to have a voice. To know that I can’t dream too big because someone is always going to support me. It’s prepared me for life after Bryn Mawr, because it’s hard. Being in SGA is difficult, but it makes you stronger. It makes you stand up for yourself and take things in stride.

Before Bryn Mawr: In high school, I did the international baccalaureate and my electives were biology, history, and human geography. At the end of my 12th grade year, I asked myself what I liked about the classes I was taking. It was the intersection of biology, history, and human geography that made me narrow in on anthropology.

Major Decision: I was pretty certain, but I didn’t want to be the person that comes into college and declares the first day. I would take other classes and think they were nice, but felt that I was way more interested in my anthropology classes.

Favorite Tradition: Parade night is the first time first-year students are exposed to traditions. I love seeing them react to their first Step Sing. It’s a mixture of confusion, excitement, wonder, and happiness. I remember how in awe of Bryn Mawr I was at my first Step Sing and I love being able to see first years experience it the same way.

Community: You can say that Bryn Mawr has a great community, but you don’t know what that means until you’re here. Every single person on campus understands how special Bryn Mawr is, and that’s not something that comes across on the website or through a conversation. You have to be here to experience it.