Q&A: Maggie Billman on methods to combat personal, professional obstacles

(Illustration by Julie Freijat | Collegian Media Group)

Anna Schmidt, Collegian opinions editor and junior in journalism: After — I guess it’s been almost 6, 7 months now — of the things you’ve had to do, what do you think has been the most challenging thing about your job?

Maggie Billman, student senate speaker pro tempore and sophomore in secondary education: I guess one of the more difficult things that Nathan and I have had to do together is just pick our committee chais.

So, there’s six committees in SGA in the legislative branch. So we have three funding based ones which are the Privilege Fee Committee, so that big, almost $500 fee that you pay each semester — students actually decide where that goes. So if you’re ever interested, hop onto a meeting or email me or whatever, and I’ll get you hooked up.

But there’s the Privilege Fee committee, and then there’s the Travel Allocations committee and then the On-campus Allocations committee. Those just handle travel and on-campus funding allocations.

Then there’s three project-based committees. So there’s the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee that I touched on earlier. There’s also the Governmental Relations Committee and they work on like “get out the vote” efforts. In the past, they’ve worked on affordable and equitable housing efforts and just a lot of connections that they’re making with the city of Manhattan. Then finally, there is our Senate Operations Committee and they do most of the nitty-gritty work like making sure that the legislation people have submitted is OK to go to senate. They do a lot of work with student body elections and stuff like that.

So those are the six committees that are involved in SGA. There’s actually at-large positions for those, so next year if you’re looking for an easy way to get involved in SGA, look out for that application.

Yeah so at the beginning — well I guess it was spring — so at the end of last year whenever I was elected, one of the jobs we had to do was pick the six people to fill out those committee chair positions. We had a whole bunch of applicants, I can’t even remember, probably like 12 to 15. There were a bunch — I might be over-exaggerating — but there were a lot of qualified people that we had to turn away and I was so new to the position and still green to SGA and I had to call people and be like, “Hey I’m really sorry, we decided that someone else should have this position.”

That really was such a hard thing to do because, one, I didn’t feel qualified to do that or confident enough in myself to do that. Then also just the whole idea of telling someone that I didn’t want them to have a position, because I did. I want everybody to have all of the things that they want. So that was super hard to deal with in and of myself. Like people that I had admired for a long time, and telling them that we had decided to go another way.

Interested in hearing more about Billman’s experience as student senate speaker pro tempore and more? Check out the “Collegian Kultivate” podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.