Features, On-Campus Profiles, Profiles

Nakash and Tewelde: Dedication, Collaboration, and Unification

Before Jordan Nakash’s college counselor suggested she take a tour of Boston College, she did not know a single thing about BC. But from the moment she stepped on campus, Nakash knew BC was meant to be her future home. 

“There was something, maybe it was just a gust of wind, but it felt like it was meant to be,” Nakash, MCAS ’24, said. “After touring and hearing from the panel of students, I knew I wanted to apply early decision. I got in and I’m here, and I absolutely made the right decision.”

Nakash was the head girl at her high school in Jamaica. In this role, she represented the student body, and Nakash knew she wanted to continue pursuing similar roles when she got to BC. Nakash is involved in numerous organizations and clubs on campus, from the Caribbean Culture Club to the dance group PATU. She is also a BAIC ambassador and was formerly a member of the Student Assembly (SA).

During her freshman year at BC, Nakash ran for UGBC vice president alongside Kevork Atinizian. Although the election season did not end in victory for the pair, Nakash still wanted to take on a higher advocacy role in the BC community.

“There’s definitely advocacy to be done to make more students feel at home and truly enjoy their time at BC,” Nakash said. “Once I really saw the capabilities of what I’d be able to advocate for and do as president, I was like, this is something I want to do. Being president or vice president is the best position you can have to truly get advocacy done.”

Yosan Tewelde, Nakash’s running mate and MCAS ’24, said she has been a leader within the BC community as the AHANA+ Leadership Council general coordinator and therefore knows what issues need to be addressed. The role of vice president would give Tewelde a platform to address these issues, she said. 

“After hearing how frustrating it can be for students, I can bring what I’m hearing everyday to administration,” Tewelde said. “I am fueled up to help. I need to get in a room and see how we can make change happen.”

On New Year’s Eve, Nakash had finalized her decision to run for UGBC president, and she called Tewelde to ask if she would consider running alongside her as vice president.

“She was like ‘absolutely, yes,’” Nakash said. “I remember being nervous to ask [Tewelde] because she didn’t like her time on Student Assembly, but then she said, ‘But I think we can change that—we can work to change the things that made it unenjoyable for us to make it enjoyable for others.’”

Thompson Penn, the team’s campaign manager and CSOM ’25, said Nakash and Tewelde immediately had his support when they asked him to join their campaign team. 

“After having a conversation with them, I realized that they are two of the most compassionate and selfless people that we have on this campus and would basically do anything to improve the quality of student life,” Penn said.

Nakash said the most important aspect of the team’s policies is practicality. While there may be many policies that are not achievable in the near future, there are efforts they can get started immediately to serve the student body.

“A majority of the policies are things that we could take to admin today, and then tomorrow they could be implemented,” Nakash said. “While we can not promise everything, we can still promise that we’re going to advocate for everything.”

Tewelde said one of the most important parts of their campaign is the focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion at BC. The pair wants to make students of all different identities feel they have a place on campus.

“We talked about getting a prayer room for Muslim students,” Tewelde said. “We sometimes forget about subgroups that make up the AHANA community, and we forget that those little things do matter.”

Nakash said the Office of Transportation and Parking is relevant to many of their policy points. Nakash previously worked to bring back the grocery store shuttle for Montserrat students and subsequently for all BC students during her time in the SA. She wants to continue to work with the administration to expand accessibility around campus.

“We’re talking about having a shuttle that could run up to Upper, or go to 245 Beacon Street, and have different bus stops to make it accessible,” Nakash said. “Apart from the shuttle that already goes to Star Market and Wegmans, we are also talking about putting another shuttle that goes to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and also have stops on Newton.”

Tewelde said they will take an intersectional approach to transportation to best utilize BC’s resources. 

“A lot of people wouldn’t think of looking at transportation through all these lenses, like accessibility, Montserrat students, what everyday students need,” Tewelde said.

Nakash said her and Tewelde’s involvement in numerous cultural organizations and connections to administration in many different departments will help the pair to be a voice for many communities within BC. 

“There’s many ways for people to feel represented through our leadership,” Nakash said. “Even for the communities that we cannot represent through our identities, we can represent them through our allyship.” 

Nakash also pointed out that out of the past 11 UGBC presidents, only two have been women. 

“It is always inspiring to see a woman in these types of roles,” Nakash said. “I never would have thought I could be a VP of student affairs, but after seeing Shawna Cooper Whitehead, I was like, ‘Well, maybe I can go into higher education.’”

Nakash said both she and Tewelde are outgoing people who want to be seen as a voice and friend to all students.

“When people see somebody they can relate to, or even somebody that they know and are friends with, it’s easier to tell them their problems,” Nakash said. “We are two people that are friends to each other and everyone, and hopefully the wider student body will see that they can come to us and ask us anything. And if we don’t know the answer, then we’ll find it out.”

Penn said Nakash and Tewelde’s dedication to the BC community is evident from their commitment to several extracurriculars and the changes they have already spearheaded on campus.

“They never complain about how much work they have,” Penn said. “They never complain about how much of a burden sometimes it is to be with administration. They always do it with a smile on their face because they know they’re improving the quality of student life through every opportunity they get to make a change.”

The team’s slogan—Unite the Heights—captures their mission to find the intersections between all communities at BC.

“If you want to go fast, go alone—if you want to go far, go together,” Nakash said. “There’s not just a divide among the students, there’s a divide between the students and admin as well. And if we can unite the Heights, or at the very least lay the foundation for the unification to take place, we can be the start of uniting the Heights.”

Eliza Hernandez contributed to reporting.

March 26, 2023