An Interview w/ Annie Somerville

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Annie Somerville, former State Representative Field Director; Political Science + Women’s and Gender Studies at Eastern Michigan University.

Q. What do you want readers to know about the #SomervilleKoli2017 campaign on Eastern Michigan University’s main campus, and its impact on campus life?

Our campaign is about you–the students of Eastern Michigan University. We feel strongly that Student Government can play an important role in continuing to ensure the maximum health and safety of it’s students. Our main priority going into 2017-2018 is equal opportunity for EMU students from campus life to the classroom. Ultimately, we understand what brought all of us the EMU but we recognize not every experience is created equal or positive. Somerville-Koli is looking to close that gap. We are looking to provide a positive campus experience by getting as many of our peers engaged in the process.

Q. What about the opportunity to serve as Student Body President first interested you in committing your time and energy to its mission?

My first semester at Eastern, during Student Body elections, I told myself that I was going to get involved somehow. As a transfer student in January 2015 I only knew a handful of my peers on campus. I want to be a voice and a different perspective for Eastern. Being a non-traditional student can be isolating at times. After high school I went to community college then another university before dropping out. It took me four years to realize how important higher education was to me and I gracefully fell into EMU but it was not easy. I hope to use my life experience and perspective to be an ally to students who struggle making it.

Q. What do you think are the five key characteristics of a great Student Body President?

Passion
LeadHERship
Commitment
Integrity
Strength

Q. Community engagement is a significant obligation of public service. With that in mind, can you tell us about your experience in engaging campus life with Student Government led on-going initiatives?

During my time as Director of Governmental Affairs for Student Government I was able to collaborate across campus with different student organizations, departments, and faculty in “get out the vote” efforts. I learned how to make connections to be successful in educating our campus on the importance of civic engagement.

Q. Would you be willing to share a memorable moment from your campaign trail as a candidate for Student Body President?

The overall support Kangkana and I are receiving from our peers has given us so much courage and hope. Regardless of the outcome, so many students believe in us and care about the same issues we care about. In a time when some of us feel powerless, this campaign give Kangkana and I the opportunity to be empowered and empower others along the way.

Q. Student Body President and Vice President bring perspective, local contacts, and a range of schools of thought to the decision-making table. Can you tell readers a little bit about your perspective?

My perspective really is a reflection of a series of events and decisions made since the beginning of my time at EMU. As students we have a voice. As Student Body President and Vice President Kangkana and I hope to continually talk to our fellow Eagles. We want to keep the conversation of the decision making ongoing among students next year. We believe that Student Government involvement in these decisions should be a direct reflection of the students.


Final thoughts from Annie Somerville: I am proud to say that Eastern Michigan University is my second chance. Prior to 2015 I was a college dropout. Many things prevented me from staying in college the first time around but the two biggest issues were socio-economic status and my mental health. During the fall of 2014 I realized that finishing my bachelor’s degree would be critical in my ability to have influence on policy issues that have disenfranchised so many people. Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies are my focus, specifically with a concentration on race, class, and gender issues. I am the Vice-President of Pi Sigma Alpha- The National Political Science Honor Society, President and Founder of Represent.Us EMU, and the former Director of Governmental Affairs for EMU Student Government. I believe that my areas of study and involvement on campus will aide in my ability to accurately represent EMU students as well as uplift their voices.

Gesture of Solidarity is a digital repository of Q&As + profiles depicting public life, and culture in Ypsilanti, MI.