Did you know 46% of North Seattle College students reported facing some form of food insecurity? That number, discovered through a student survey, pushed Student Body President Sara Michelassi to coordinate an initiative to host a food pantry on North’s campus. And that’s just one piece of her day job.
Michelassi sat down with TrueNorth to discuss this project, her favorite part about being President of Student Leadership, and advice she has for students interested in joining.
What are three things that the Student Body President does?
I represent the student body at the college, administrative and district levels. This includes attending meetings of the Board of Trustees, district-wide meetings, and regularly meeting with the President of the College, Warren Brown, and the Vice President of Student Services, Joe Barrientos. I also serve as the chair of the Student Administrative Team, consisting of the Student Leadership board coordinators. There is a coordinator for each of the Student Leadership Boards: Student Fee Board, Student Cabinet, Research and Advocacy Board, Events Board, Communications Board, Sustainability Board, and Club Council. I also work on student-centered initiatives that benefit the NSC Community; such as the all gender bathroom initiative and an on-campus food pantry project for the students of North.
What is your favorite part about being the Student Body President?
I enjoy involving myself with issues of social justice that I am passionate about as well as developing my leadership skills.
Do you have any advice for students interested in joining Student Leadership?
The job is awesome, and I could go on and on about the perks of being involved in Student Leadership! You are able to work with motivated, like-minded people that work hard, are dedicated to social justice and civic engagement, and love to have fun. The job environment is inclusive and supportive to all. Student Leadership is a professional work environment, but also a place to cultivate lasting friendships. One of my favorite parts are the staff advisors - they genuinely want to see you succeed and will help you gain professional skills.
What do you do outside of school?
When I have free time I like to go hiking and take my dog (a golden-doodle named Doogan) to Magnuson Park.
What experiences do you have in leadership?
I was on the Communications Board last year in Student Leadership, which was one of my first leadership positions. I am also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my decision to pursue higher education and attend North Seattle College. My life has changed so much - I have great teachers, friends, coworkers, and the best job in the world!
What is your favorite part about North Seattle College?
Without a doubt the people. The tireless efforts of the faculty, staff, administration, and everyone else in between make North Seattle College the institution that it is.
Do you compulsively check your email?
What current initiatives are you working on?
I coordinated a survey and discovered that 46% of our students face some form of food insecurity. After learning this I decided to look into hosting a food pantry on North’s campus. I reached out to the University District food bank and the North Help Line food bank, and a strategic partnership was formed with the two food banks. North Seattle College Students will now be able to have access to these food banks with just their North Seattle College ID. Before this strategic partnership, people that wanted to attend these food banks would have to go through a process of providing an address to show that they lived in a zip code that the food bank served, but now they are able to use the food banks with just their NSC ID. Student Leadership is also going to pilot its very own food bank on campus in the Spring. North Seattle College’s food bank is going to be run completely by volunteers and food will be donated by the community.
I have also worked on the all gender bathrooms initiative for North Seattle College. It has been about a four year process and is still being worked on. I am leading a team of several student leaders, working with the college administration to bring two multi stalled all gender bathrooms to North Seattle College’s campus.
What is your career path?
I am currently working on obtaining my Bachelor’s in Bioengineering with a minor in Global Health. I hope to move on to earn my Master’s or PhD. As for my career, I want to work somewhere at the intersection of healthcare research and healthcare accessibility. I have a fascination with research but also a passion for dismantling systems of oppression that keep marginalized people from receiving the healthcare they deserve.