I AM PSE: Life as an Off-Campus Senator

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I AM PSE : Life as an Off-Campus Senator

By: Milo Lam

Featuring: Demetre Carnot

This week we talk to Demetre, an off-campus senator and new PSE member from the spring 2019 cohort and learn about his worldview.

Demetre is a sophomore at Miami who's studying finance and accounting in the Farmer School of Business. Born and raised in Meriden, Connecticut, Demetre is an Evans Scholar, a 5th District Off-Campus Senator in Associated Student Government, a member of the University Lecture Series Committee, as well as the University Parking Appeals Committee, and a member of our Pi Sigma Epsilon chapter. Some of his interests include: golf, watches, and investments and trading equities.

Tell us about your role as an off-campus senator. What do you do?

As an Off-Campus Senator, my main objective is to bridge the gap between students and the administration. The goal of Associated Student Government (ASG), is to elect a body of students to represent other students within their respective district, and then propose said students ideas and wants to administration through writing legislation. As a senator, writing legislation that eventually turns into university policy is the most relevant task. The process starts with a concern, that is then discussed amongst senators. One, or multiple senators will propose solutions through writing a bill, or resolution. The bill will then be debated and voted on upon the Senate body. If the bill is passed, the bill authors then bring the proposed resolution to administrators and work to implement the resolution into university policy. On a day to day basis, I listen to those students around me and gauge their concerns, as well as personally observe areas of the university that could stand to improve. More specifically, Associated Student Government hosts events and tabling sessions where students who would like change can express their opinions, which have the possibility to be enacted through legislation, debate, and eventually approval of administration. This past year, I authored three bills. The bills that I wrote covered topics such as diversity and inclusion, sustainability, and on-campus parking.

How did you get into this?

During my high school years, I participated in Youth and Government (YAG). YAG is essentially a nationwide high school version of Associated Student Government. YAG was one of the most enjoyable activities I participated in during high school, and I wanted to join a similar organization when I got to college.

Alongside my past experience, there was a fellow Evans Scholars who I lived with in Associated Student Government. One Tuesday during my second semester at Miami, he reached out to me and asked if I would be his alternate for the weekly Senate meeting. I agreed, attended, and liked what I saw. A few weeks later, ASG held special elections, which are elections that happen outside of the normal election period. I decided to run my campaign on the notion that I would work on issues surrounding diversity and inclusion, and on-campus parking. Eventually, I won the election and began serving my first term as an Off-Campus Senator.

What have you achieved and what do you plan to make an impact on in the future?

So far, my achievements within ASG are focused around the positive impact that my legislation has brought to the Oxford, and Miami community. The two achievements that I am proudest about this year are bills written about on-campus parking and sustainable practices. One of my bills increased the amount of student parking arrangements located at the student health center, and my sustainability bill proposed a plastic bag fee from Oxford and the Miami University campus. As of the end of the school year, the plastic bag fee was being discussed in Oxford City Council meetings. The goal with a plastic bag fee is to discourage people from using plastic bags given there is a fee, and in turn, incentivizing them to use a more environmentally-friendly alternative, like reusable material bags.

How does all of this play into PSE and vice versa? How have you used your experiences to grow in the business setting and how does an environment like that of PSE help you do better in what you do?

One of the greatest aspects joining ASG and PSE is the mentorship that I have received. Once I joined PSE, I realized that the two organizations share a few members. Senators such as Gaby Meissner and Madison Johns have acted as great mentors to me both in PSE and ASG, and given me ample advice on dealings from legislation to elections. Two skills that I feel I have transferred from ASG to the business world and PSE alike are public speaking/debate, and also working in a team. Within ASG, presenting and debating bills is the most constantly performed action. I feel that from being asked difficult questions about how the changes that I plan to enact will affect the Miami community and vice versa, I have advanced my skills to speak publicly and have productive discussions. Often times when writing and proposing bills, the first steps take place in committee meetings. These committees are anywhere from four to about 12 people. Collectively, working together as a group, resolutions to issues arise quickly and the best content is captured. Also, working in a team setting within ASG has allowed me to better deal with disagreement. Obviously, ASG is a semi-political group, and oftentimes there are discrepancies with what should go into a bill. These tough discussions have better prepared me for working in a team in the future, in business environments.

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