Sam Douds begins term as BSG President

Photo+courtesy+of+Sam+Douds.+

Photo courtesy of Sam Douds.

Michael Taromina, News Assistant Editor

Although the phrase, “believing that progress is possible takes courage” may sound like a cliché to some, Bucknell University’s new Student Government President Sam Douds said it serves as his driving force. 

From being a Presidential Fellow for the Geography department, to being the co-founder of the Bison Triathlon club, a brother with the Chi Phi Fraternity and managing his workload as a History major, Douds couldn’t shy away from the opportunity to serve as the voice of the Bucknell student body.

“I ran because I want to make a difference and I want to provide concrete solutions to the problems Bucknellians face,” Douds said.

Douds said he recognizes that the only way to handle the immense influence the administration has on campus, which causes stress and problems for students on occasion, would only happen if one is willing to step outside their comfort zone and really try to make a difference. 

Sam served in many leadership positions in high school from religious initiatives to academic endeavors, and has student government experience from being a senator during his first-year as well as last semester. His advocacy has prompted for more convenient changes to the layouts of KLARC, the dining hall and the basement of Roberts Hall. 

However, while Douds enjoyed the satisfaction of solving the little problems, his passion was to confront the bigger problems that occur on this campus, and he knew that would require a little more status. Issues involving accessibility, food insecurity, affordability of Bucknell, DEI initiatives and safety on and around campus remain just a handful of top priorities our new president has. 

Douds’ specific goals range anywhere from putting more lights up around the quad to putting bug screens in dorms to increase ventilation. Beyond that, on an institutionalized level, Douds is continuing to advocate for a student liaison to the Board of Trustees, claiming “we need to be in the room where it happens.” 

Additionally, he would love to make meal plans more affordable and customizable and bring awareness to food insecurity however possible. Douds said he yearns for a new newsletter to effectively allay the progress and goals of BSG to the student body in a much easier medium. And where he sees the most level of unfairness is the indisputable fact that tuition continues to rise where merit scholarships stay the same.

“If we are about what we say we’re about, let’s act like it,” Douds said. “If we are about making it a fair experience for the student body, then let’s make it fair.”

While only a couple weeks into his term, Douds is still mapping out his schedule and getting acclimated to his office, but nevertheless, makes every effort to form relationships with the administration and executive board in order to address the systemic and institutional situations of Bucknell University, and more importantly, find solutions. He made no hesitation to acknowledge his hard-working and loyal vice presidents, Lena DiFazio and Isa Segura-Suarez, who have helped him make this transition smooth and steady.

“Having people like Isa and Lena who are absolutely getting after it and doing great work is the best,” Douds said. “Communicating with them has been a dream.”

Douds understands that reaching out to BSG can be intimidating. However, he hopes students will voice their questions, comments and concerns by coming to the Congress sessions on Sundays or reaching out to their class’s personal BSG representatives. 

While Douds said he is steadfast in improving the decorum and dilemmas of this campus, he also understands the honor and responsibility that comes with acting presidential and setting a standard for student achievement across Bucknell. 

Douds participated in a few webinars and talks during Martin Luther King Jr. week, where he stressed the importance of King’s legacy as it relates to today’s world of uncertainty. Douds believes the way Bucknell can emulate King is to stand up against injustice, acknowledge internal and external privilege, participate in immersive activities and, of course, run for office.

“There are so many things MLK stood for that I believe in,” Douds said. “He really proved, with courage, that progress is possible, and to make that happen is remarkable.”

The new president said he recognizes he did not get to his position on his own. He appreciates the support of his faith, family and friends all around campus.

“There are so many people who want to do the right thing on this campus, who want to see this campus be a better place. That’s what’s so exciting about Bucknell, we may have many problems, but we have more people willing to find solutions,” Douds said. 

He said he looks forward to working hard for all the people of Bucknell and making hard decisions with the force of persistence and inclusion and the legacies of leaders such as King behind him and guiding him towards progress.

“You are not always going to make everyone happy, but all you can do is do your best to do the right thing,” he said. 

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