International student now a part of SGA

Olivia Barfield

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Senator tells international students to get involved on campus.

Pratik Shiwakoti’s friends complain that they don’t see him quite often recently.

Shiwakoti, a junior computer science major, was selected as the SGA senator representing the School of Business last spring.

“Life has been very busy these days,” said Shiwakoti.

The second semester of freshman year was the transition period for Shiwakoti. That’s when he broadened all of his horizons and started getting involved in campus activities.

Initially, Shiwakoti was very reluctant about getting into campus activities.

He feared the activities would take over  academics, but the overwhelming appreciation he got after hosting the Nepali Night of 2014 motivated him to touch the moon.

The dim participation of the International Students in the major campus organization of student government bothered Shiwakoti.

He wanted to bridge the gap and represent international students to the college administration.

“The voice of international students should be represented in bigger organizations on campus,” said Shiwakoti. “After-all, international students are an integral part of college.”

Shiwakoti is not just an SGA senator, he is involved in a handful of organizations on-campus including CAB.

Getting into  SGA wasn’t easy for Shiwakoti.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be a bed of roses, but I believed in myself,” said Shiwakoti.

Shiwakoti describes the elections as a “practice of politics.”

“I had to campaign, and it was very exciting,” said Shiwakoti. “My friends were very busy with the Nepalese Students Association, so I made my own flyer and got it to various places, but they helped me with the campaign.“

Shiwakoti has a very profound love and respect for his friends.

“My friends have always provided me with the support and created a positive energy around me,” said Shawakoti “They were happy to see me running and endorsed me all over social media. It worked pretty well”

Shiwakoti took time off his busy schedule filled with assignments, deadline, work and study for the election.

SGA is quite an interesting experience for Shiwakoti, but he is sad that he’s the only international student right now.

“There could have been some other students too,” said Shiwakoti. “I know there are other students who are more deserving than me.”

Shiwakoti feels it’s a privilege to be an SGA senator. 

“Being the only international student in a long time to have won…feels good to be called Mr. Senator.”

The country and the culture he grew up is of upmost importance for Shiwakoti.

He finds the Nepalese Students Association to be the cornerstone for his success. The Nepalese Students association also loves him equally and has provided Shiwakoti with an honorary title – “Voice of Nepalese Students Association”

Shiwakoti who is the current president of the International Students’ Association at ULM has been an icon for the international students by leading the Asian Students Organization too.

His advice to the students at of ULM: “Focus on your study, also get involved,” said Shiwakoti. “That’s the key to success.”