Boca Raton Campus Governor Rhoda Hoods addresses the student body with her administrative cabinet

Hoods emphasizes the importance of student advocacy, diversity, and representation.

Kayla Ortiz, Political Reporter

Boca Raton Campus Gov. Rhoda Hoods addressed the community to convey the planning her administration is completing and her own experiences to aid the student body this school year.

Initiatives focus on engaging and increasing student participation while increasing advertisement of campus resources for students to take advantage of such as OwlPerks, student union involvement councils, and Stress Less Week. 

All of which are designed to provide students with chances to receive discounts, get involved with organizations, and minimize the stress that can impede an individual’s mental health.

On Sept. 30, Hoods discussed her platform concepts including spirit Fridays in conjunction with the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the possibility of the return of the campus restaurant the Burrow.

Previously the Burrow was an on-campus bar and grill that provided students with a space to meet new people and engage in activities like air hockey and karaoke. The new initiative is to bring back a form of the Burrow, which has been nicknamed the Burrow 2.0.

A key focal point stressed by Hoods is the importance of students understanding they have resources and support on campus and that any individual should feel represented properly by their student government leaders. 

“Students heard my voice, they heard the things that I wanted to do,” Hoods said. “I’m here to tell you as long as you ask, we can give it.”

Hoods also took a moment in her address to acknowledge circulating information about the current Student Body President Maxwell Simonson. 

Stating she is not speaking on behalf of Simonson, but instead speaking for herself and her cabinet. 

“Me and my team, we are always here to be an advocate for you all and that does not mean student government or FAU condones the actions, but that this is a learning opportunity for all of us to have,” said Hoods. “I stand here to have President Maxwell Simonson take a stand, take a call to action, to speak amongst students to make them know that we are here for them because we are here for you.”  

Hoods is a senior majoring in elementary education with a minor in public management. 

She began her FAU career in the spring semester of 2020 as an orientation leader which taught her about resources, advocacy, and the importance of campus support systems.

Before being elected campus governor, Hoods served in the Boca House of Representatives, which allowed her to study legislation, statutes, and funding allocation protocols. 

“I didn’t see myself as being a governor, I didn’t see myself as being the face of campus, I just wanted to be an advocate,” Hoods said. 

The Associate Director of Student Activities and Involvement Tikaya Henry said, “Presenting this address will be a way to connect with the FAU campus and bridge the gap between student government leaders and the student body.”

The governor’s address introduces the Boca Raton Campus student body to the elected governor and their administrative cabinet and allows students to receive information about initiatives, events, and programs that will be offered in the current school year.  

The governor’s administrative cabinet (GAC) brought forward this year’s initiatives to improve student campus life.  

Opportunities presented by chief of staff Samantha Malone include applications for the student union advisory board in which students can apply to work towards event planning and the freshmen class council for first-year students (traditional or transfer) to gain student government experience.

The governor administrative cabinet will also be hosting a tailgate tent at every home game this football season which will offer refreshments and a space for students to connect with student government members in person.

Another initiative presented is the Owl Perks program, which is a partnership between student government and Boca Raton businesses to create exclusive discounts for students, faculty, and alumni when presenting your Owl Card. 

Stress Less Week, presented by the governor’s administrative cabinet, takes place Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 and provides students with programs and events to help students relax before finals. 

At the governor’s address, varying boards were able to present the services and initiatives that they provide to students.

The council of student organizations is a branch of student government that oversees around 300 registered student organizations on campus. 

This organization hosts the fall and spring owl-involved events and student government workshops such as president, vice president, and treasurer round tables to provide the organizations with resources, information, and funding.

These events are designed for students to get informed and involved about the different clubs, organizations, and honor societies. 

In addition to the student presenters, the director of Student Activities and Involvement, Donald Van Pelt, explained the importance of students working to support one another and increase advocacy.

“Think about your goals, your vision, and what you want to accomplish because your time as a student in this role doesn’t last long,” said Van Pelt. “If you want to make a change or impact the time to act is now.” 

Hoods reiterated her campaign goals and statements by emphasizing that in order to see improvement on campus, there must be someone actively pursuing change. 

“I want to make sure I serve the campus well, that is my main goal and my main priority,” said Hoods. 

Kayla Ortiz is a Political Reporter for the University Press. For information regarding this story, email her at [email protected] or DM her @kayla.ortiz1 on Instagram.