Would you consider going to an entirely different side of the ocean, to a country you never heard about and commit to spend 4 years there? LCC student, Emma McDonald did! As an active representative of the international community, Emma wants to help other students.Inspired to make and facilitate change within the student body, Emma ran for President of Student Council this year!
Your home country is New Zealand. Why did you decide to go so far from your home to study at LCC? How did you learn about LCC International University?
The short version of the story is I knew nothing about Lithuania! I didn't even know it was a country. I didn't know it existed. I knew nothing before I came to this part of the world.
My friend and I went traveling and we ended up in Germany. While I was in Germany, I found I wasn't able to travel anymore for various reasons. The lady I had been staying with suggested, “Maybe you should start settling down.” I was 20 at the time, so I didn't think I needed to settle down, but I did. She mentioned she had friends in Lithuania and that maybe they could help me out. First of all, I had to look up where Lithuania was and even after I found it, I still couldn't believe the fact that it was a country. I started to look for some universities in Lithuania, and I saw LCC and it looked interesting to me. Then I thought, why not? Let's do this! It is an international community, maybe I'll find some other people like me there, and so I came to Lithuania. And it's just been brilliant since I got here!
You are an active junior year student. Which activities have you been involved with? What are some of your ongoing projects?
Last year I was part of the Student Council as the Event Coordinator. We had many events - Talent Night, Spirit Week, and Valentine’s Day. We also had LCC Talks, an event which was like our own LCC version of TED Talks. We did LCC Talks last fall, with the topic, “On the Brink,” and it was quite successful, which is awesome! This past summer I worked with the LCC summer camps. I was the coordinator for the kids camps and teens camps and I also did some work for the Summer Language Institute.
Currently, we have many small things going on in StuCo. We've had a candlelight vigil which was in collaboration with LCC Spiritual Life. Also, we're getting ready for Talent Night again this year. There's a lot of other little projects that my team is working on. We're just trying to see how the Student Council can function and do things in the current situations, where we literally don't know what could happen tomorrow.
Let’s talk more about the Student Council. A few weeks ago we had elections and debates, after which the student body chose their representatives in StuCo. You were one of the participants, could you tell more about the selection process? Who can apply for Student Council members and who can vote?
Becoming a StuCo member is pretty easy, once a year before elections, interested students fill out the application form and answer questions. What do you want to bring to the student council? What would your position be like? What would you do in your position? /what things do you want to focus on? The elections committee, which is generally the previous StuCo President or the Vice President and three staff members, review all the applications to see who meets the criteria. The next step is to make posters and do campaigning. Within a week or so, we have debates and then voting. Students from all majors and years are eligible to vote.
What is the purpose of the Student Council? Why do we need StuCo representatives at LCC?
The Student Council is essentially here to help the voices of the students be heard by the staff, faculty, and the administration and vice versa. We are the bridge in the middle between the two sides. Now we are working on improving communication and making better connections between staff, faculty, and students, and also externally with other organizations and other universities, even potentially in other countries. The most important thing is we are here to make everyone feel heard, supported, and acknowledged!
As a new StuCo team, you have been working together only for a couple of weeks. As President, how do you build the workflow?
We meet once a week on Tuesday to go over certain things, look over a few projects, get opinions, and share ideas. The majority of the team are freshmen, so they often look at me and ask what I think, what's my idea, what's the plan, and how would I like to do things. I share my opinions with them and ask what they think also. The good thing about our team is that we acknowledge each other's input and as a team we are stepping up to the challenges. There are a lot of ideas. There's a lot of passion, and a lot of good energy! We all are getting along really well.
What are the main StuCo goals for the 2020-2021 academic year?
This year the goal for StuCo is to work on communication, making it better, and making connections within the community. We make sure that everybody knows what's going on and if official policy is made or changed, we can help get the word out to students. We've been updating the website and we're trying to make it more easily accessible for students. We're also hoping to continue our Coffee with StuCo events where students can bring questions to the table. Also, we have office hours two hours every day, if students want to come in and ask any questions, or just need help, we will help them to figure things out.
What is your motivation for being a StuCo President?
I want to make a difference. I want to facilitate change. If someone has a need, or needs a little bit of extra help, I want to be that help for students. If students want to do something, if they want to hold an event or even if they just want to talk to someone from a different country. I am here for them. I want to help people be the best they can be. I am so glad that I can do all these things by being in the Student Council and I'm so grateful for the encouragement and all the support that I've gotten everyone!