News / Student Life

Undergraduate Student Government: 2023-2024 Year in Review

Bashir Juwara, president, of the Hunter Student Government.

The Hunter Undergraduate Student Government (USG), a democratically elected, officially-recognized student organization, is responsible for the protection of the rights, welfare, and involvement of all undergraduate students at Hunter.

This year has been one of the USG’s busiest; on top of typical student engagement activities and events, such as the sold out Build-A-Bear workshop they hosted in late March, they’ve navigated ongoing unrest amongst the student body as a result of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the appointment of a new president, Dr. Nancy Cantor, and an affordable student housing crisis induced by the termination of Hunter’s Brookdale housing complex. 

Bashir Juwara, president of the USG, said that despite these challenges, he’s “extremely proud” of all his team has accomplished. Juwara was elected in May of 2024, and began serving his term in July. He will be replaced this June when Hunter students elect a new president, and he graduates with a degree in political science and international relations. 

Besides his role as president, Juwara plays for the men’s varsity soccer team, is an oral history scholar for Voices From the Heart of Gotham, and is a member of the Mellon Public Humanities and Social Justice Program.

“I like to stay busy,” Juwara said. “I’m a people person.” 

The USG is comprised of 34 other students, ranging from Senate delegates, to College Association representatives, to various commissioners. Mozima Qayyum, a senior Psychology major, is the vice president. 

According to Juwara, the USG’s achievements can be broken into two categories: student engagement events, and advocacy and activism, the latter of which often occurs behind the scenes, and receives little publicity or acknowledgement. This is something Juwara would like to change, and though his term is almost complete, he hopes that in the future the USG will prioritize stronger documentation of their work and accomplishments. 

The student engagement events this year – all of which were accompanied by free food, drinks, and merchandise giveaways – included a Welcome Party on the first day of school that accommodated over 500 students; an Open Street Club Fair between Lexington and Third Ave. with over 1500 students; a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner attended by more than 900 students; a Spring Club Fair in the Hunter Cafeteria; Taco Tuesdays, Speed Friending, a Hot Cocoa Social, and Game Nights. 

Student Welfare Commissioner Anastasia Villarreal organized several USG events during “Health Week,” including a NARCAN Training Seminar, an Alcohol and Drug Safety Workshop, and an informational session titled “The Nutrition of Soul Food.” 

Perhaps the highlight of the USG’s social event calendar was the concert on April 12 featuring rapper Rico Nasty at Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen. The performance was open to all CUNY students and was coordinated by the USG’s Evening Affair Commissioner Sofia Rothermel. 

Juwara’s second category, advocacy and activism, includes the initiative he ran his campaign on last spring: the Free Student MetroCard Initiative. 

Representatives from the USG traveled to Albany four times this year advocating for several causes, including the MetroCard initiative, which aims to provide all CUNY students with free access to public transportation, and the Women’s Reproductive Rights Initiative, which seeks the implementation of affordable contraception vending machines on campus. 

Both initiatives are ongoing, though Juwara emphasized he is confident they’ve gained momentum just by making state legislators aware of the importance. The MetroCard initiative, which began at Hunter, has been adopted by most other CUNY student governments, as well as the University Student Senate. 

The USG garnered support for affordable student housing after the closing of the Brookdale housing complex by establishing a student-run Hunter Housing Committee. 

Meanwhile, the USG is also one of the leading student coalitions aiming to introduce a bill at the state level known as the “College Student Suicide Prevention Act,” that would require Resident Advisors to go through mandatory suicide prevention training. 

And most recently, the USG passed a resolution at the College Senate that will establish an Ad Hoc Committee regarding Israel-Palestine and hosted a panel discussion with three Hunter faculty members on April 19th. 

One of this administration’s final acts will be to host a boat cruise for the graduating class of 2024. While not yet confirmed, the cruise, Jawara said, will hopefully serve as some consolation for the graduating class, who will not walk the stage at the Barclays Center this June. To receive updates on cruise logistics and other USG news, follow their Instagram @hunterusg

“I always tell this to students,” said Jawara, “know your student government, know your student government leaders, and if you can, be involved as well. If you are involved with your community you will not only get a sense of belonging, but you will also know how important having students who advocate for students is.” 

For more information on Hunter’s USG, visit their website at

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