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The Battalion

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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One step away
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The man behind the gavel

Photo by Photo by: Alexis Will

Last week, Hood, a political science junior, was elected the Speaker of Student Senate for the 69th session, the peak of a long stretch of involvement with Student Senate and the Student Government Association.

On his way to watch the sun rise from the Administration Building three years ago, then-freshman Joseph Hood wound up lost and found himself at the Bonfire Memorial. Moved by the impact each of the 12 students left memorialized in stone, Hood set out to leave his own impact on Texas A&M. 

Last week, Hood, a political science junior, was elected the speaker of Student Senate for the 69th session, marking the peak of a long stretch of involvement with Student Senate and the Student Government Association. 

Hood ran to represent the freshman caucus during his first year at A&M, but was not elected. Instead, he began his involvement with SGA on the legislative relations team. The next semester, however, Hood was elected as an off-campus senator for the 67th session and worked on the finance committee. Hood was voted into the 68th session, where he was later elected the finance chair by his Student Senate peers. 

Hood said while his resume features many highlights for him, it’s not about the accomplishments — but rather the impact those accomplishments have. 

“That impact isn’t dictated by the situation we’re in. That impact isn’t dictated by what position you hold. It’s dictated by the fact that we’re going to come into interaction with one another, and we have direct control over the individual interactions that we have with each other,” Hood said. “I can control how I treat people around me, and that is it. That has a far greater impact on people than whatever accomplishment I may or may not achieve.” 

During Hood’s time as a student senator, he’s worked on several projects, including the creation of a petition to stop the Academic Building from being renamed after former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and an initiative that led to the introduction of wind chimes on campus to help students with visual impairments with navigability. 

“Most of the things that I’ve been successful with — that I’ve found — in Student Government had been because students had gotten behind it — I got them involved, but not because of anything directly that I had done,” Hood said. 

Ja’Cory Clark, an on-campus student senator and political science sophomore, attested to Hood’s ability to rally behind students before student senators voted on Hood at the last meeting. 

“Selfless service comes to mind first,” Clark said. “He’s one of the hardest working people I know, period. He’s always researching. He’s always meeting with constituents; he’s always there to make sure that he’s serving his constituents in the best way possible.”

Hood will serve as the speaker of the Student Senate for the 69th session and said he has several goals for Student Senate and the university as a whole. While Hood has played an active role in several bills and motions, as speaker he said he plans to focus on student senator development and pushing bills and legislation they’re passionate about. 

“I believe that it is my job as speaker not to put forward policy, but to make sure that the policy that is passed by the body of the 69th session is the best policy possible in the fact that it’s well researched and that regardless of whether or not I agree with it, it’s representing the students of Texas A&M,” Hood said.

Hood said outreach to the student body and the senators’ constituents is another key factor he wants to wants focus on in his tenure. Hood said he plans on introducing a liaison system where student representatives from organizations across campus work with Student Senate to disseminate information across campus. 

“We have 80 senators representing a student body of about 58,000 students,” Hood said. “Combined, I know we don’t know 58,000 people. We know quite a few of them, but there are areas of campus and corners of campus that might not be reached adequately right now.” 

Hannah Wimberly, student body president for the 2016-2017 academic year, said she has already started working with Hood and is excited to work together next  year. 

“Since his election to the speaker position, we have been in consistent contact — sharing ideas, talking about goals, etcetera,” Wimberly said. “I am very much so looking forward to working with Speaker Hood and the rest of the Legislative Branch over the next year to continually improve the student experience at Texas A&M.”

For Joseph Hood, it ultimately boils down to impact, and he hopes his time as speaker will lead to a widespread impact on campus, in the classroom and in the lives of Aggies everywhere.

“We have 80 people in that body, and if we have 80 people who each pick an issue that they’re passionate about and they run with that issue, we can really magnify the impact that we have,” Hood said.

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