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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Freshman class president looks to improve community for underclassmen

Freshman+Class+President+Duncan+Poling+poses+in+front+of+the+Corps+Quad+on+Oct.+4%2C+2023.+The+engineering+freshman+was+elected+with+a+37.72%25+vote+on+Sept.+29%2C+2023.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Kaili Gaston

Freshman Class President Duncan Poling poses in front of the Corps Quad on Oct. 4, 2023. The engineering freshman was elected with a 37.72% vote on Sept. 29, 2023. 

Engineering freshman Duncan Poling was elected as the freshman class president on Sept. 29 with 37.72% of the vote. He is a member of the Corps of Cadets, enjoys the outdoors and has been a College Station resident his entire life.

Poling said his Aggie story started with his grandfather back in 1969. 

“My dad was an Aggie, Class of [19]90,” Poling said. “His dad was an Aggie, Class of [19]69 and was in the band. My dad was also in the Corps, and I have lived in College Station my whole life, right on Dexter Drive. It’s only a 10-minute walk from where I live on campus now.”

Inspired by his grandfather and father’s legacies at Texas A&M, Poling said being an Aggie was in his blood.

“I have lived in the shadow of Aggieland my whole life,” Poling said. “It has been awesome [and] the culture that A&M brings to this town is amazing. I have had some really cool college students in my life before I came to A&M, so I really fell in love with the culture here and the Aggie family that it fosters.”

Poling said he wanted to run for freshman class president because he grew up loving Aggieland and wanted to serve it in a new way.

“My dad is so passionate about A&M, and he has introduced me to all of its culture from a young age,” Poling said. “I have grown quite an understanding of what it means to be an Aggie and about what makes this university great. I am really passionate about keeping those positive aspects of the Aggie culture going and improving the Aggie experience that I have always heard of growing up.”

After launching his campaign, Poling said he focused on three initiatives that were important to his platform: a commitment to core values, more opportunities for freshmen and a stronger connection between students and Aggie culture and traditions. 

He said he chose these initiatives because of how important fostering a good experience for freshmen is. Creating opportunities for freshmen is an extremely important topic to him, Poling said. 

“I think it is sad when I see freshmen that didn’t get any opportunities to serve or find a community,” Poling said. “They only go through their freshmen year as a student with nothing else. I want to help freshmen find what their niche is at A&M and help them have the best Aggie experience that they can.”

Poling said he can solve this issue by helping create a better website for freshmen to find information on clubs or activities they may want to join.

“We want to make it easier to navigate different categories, interests and hobbies so they can find a place that they can fit in,” Poling said.

Poling said he also wants to help improve communication between the university and incoming freshmen.

“I think that there should be an increased communication from the university to incoming freshmen before they arrive at A&M,” Poling said. “It could be through emails or through the New Student Conference. I think that a breakout session could be good, where students could see different areas of involvement at the university.”

Along with being freshman class president, Poling is also a member of the Corps of Cadets. He said this gave him a unique viewpoint while running for freshmen class president.

“I would say being in the Corp gives me a unique perspective because the Corp is only 2-3% of the entire university,” Poling said. “I grew up here for the past 19 years, being friends with many A&M students. So I have the Corp lens and the lens of being an Aggie. It’s unique in that I can see both sides.”

Poling said he also enjoys spending time with friends and being outdoors.

“I love road trips with friends, and I have started backpacking,” Poling said. “I love the outdoors, playing spikeball and fishing.”

Poling said his advice for other freshmen at A&M this year would be to keep an open mind.

“Be open to making friends with Aggies from all across campus, regardless of where they came from, regardless of their culture, because the family that doing so fosters is a more powerful bond than you will find anywhere else,” Poling said.

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