President-elect discusses inspiration and hope for time in office
The Notre Dame student body elected Allan Njomo and Matthew Bisner as President-elect and Vice President-elect, respectively, on February 25, 2021. Running against two other tickets, juniors Njomo and Bisner won the election with 51.18% of votes. The election had a turnout of 4,030 voters, marking a three-year high.
Njomo and Bisner’s thorough campaign platform centered around the pillars of holistic health and wellbeing, solidarity and equity, and bridging the gap between various marginalized groups on campus. Their mission is to serve the community by “facilitating positive change.” The duo’s campaign motto was a succinct representation of the culture they hope to foster as an administration: “Be bold! Be kind!” Njomo and Bisner were met with support from campus groups such as the Scholastic, Shades of Ebony, and Notre Dame’s Diversity Council.
When asked what inspired him to run for student body president, Njomo said “at first, I was hesitant to run; after all, I had simply planned to become an RA in Stanford Hall. However, as I spoke with mentors throughout the discernment process, the advice of my father rang through: to always be in service of others.” When speaking about his ultimate decision to run, Njomo added that “given the enormous opportunity Matty [Matthew Bisner] and I had to serve the Student Body, we decided to go for it.”
With a large following on their Instagram page (@nb4nd) and a significant number of undergraduate students volunteering to promote their campaign, Njomo and Bisner stressed the importance of community and teamwork in their election process. The involvement of these students in promoting “NB 4 ND” and the dedication of Njomo and Bisner in talking to student groups—such as AccessABLE, Active Minds, and QuestBridge—to gauge sentiment around campus both proved successful.
Expanding on the campaign process, Njomo said he learned that “so many students are passionate about building a better Notre Dame. Through meeting with numerous student organizations, clubs, and initiatives, we saw the different ways folks are aligning their talents to improve student life on campus.”
When asked why he thought the student body entrusted him with this position, he answered with a tone connoting humility and a willingness to collaborate: “we met with as many students as we could and looked to address the concerns raised to us during the conversations we had. As a result, our platform was the collective voice of the Student Body.”
This enthusiasm for engagement is something that Njomo plans to maintain during his time as president. In fact, this is one of Njomo’s biggest excitements about serving in the role of student body president: engaging with students. He stressed how passionate students are for their university, and therefore, how passionate they are about seeing actionable change to improve it. Njomo said, “There are students working on initiatives to improve communication between the Student Body and the administration, others working to educate the Student Body on being more sustainable, others passionate to improve campus mental health, and so much more. We are excited to work with these students.”
Njomo said that the first goal he intends to accomplish in office is to see Student Government host a Student Voice Summit. “This [summit,]” he explained, “would be a forum where students and members of the University administration could meet to discuss different matters affecting student life. It would be our hope that these discussions would foster greater collaboration with administration and tangible results for the Student Body.”
A major goal for Njomo and Bisner is increased transparency between the administration and the student body. Njomo said they hope to achieve this through “more frequent and substantive meetings of the Campus Life Council.” Especially in light of recent news surrounding the dissolution of Zahm Hall, and continued concerns about Covid-19, Njomo stressed the need for an open, transparent relationship between all members of the university.
Njomo also voiced his hope for “Student Government to be as approachable as possible, and for every side of campus to feel as though they have a friend in our administration.” Consistent with their platform of being “bold” and “kind” through facilitating positive change, the Njomo-Bisner team intends to promote collaboration throughout their term to represent the needs of the student body.
Through their pursuit of building community, inclusivity, and care for others, Njomo and Bisner both seem poised to uphold the university’s Catholic mission of educating the whole person—mind and heart. In their holistic health and wellbeing platform description, they cite the need to “be bold protectors of God’s handiwork.”
Njomo and Bisner will be sworn in as President and Vice President of the student body on April 8.
Sydney Missigman is a junior management consulting and Spanish supplementary major from Goodyear, Arizona. If she is not watching the sunset from her lake-view room in Lewis Hall, you can spot her sitting near the lakes or at the Grotto. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.