People and Community University

Student Government leaders bring energy, connection

Get to know more about the members of the executive board, who call themselves the “Big 3,” and discover their initiatives and goals for the 2023–24 academic year to create an “UndeniableU.”
Student Government leaders Paige-Tatum Hawthorne, treasurer, Niles Niseem, president, and Angela Ansah, vice president. Photo: Joshua Prezant/University of Miami

Student Government leaders, from left, Paige-Tatum Hawthorne, treasurer; Niles Niseem, president; and Angela Ansah, vice president. Photo: Joshua Prezant/University of Miami

As the new Student Government president for this academic year, Niles Niseem is proud of the honor and hopes to continue connecting with his classsmates. 

“I'm the representative for 12,000 undergraduate students and at one of the most prestigious institutions in the world,” said Niseem, a broadcast journalism major. “I feel like my purpose is to electrify this campus, to motivate them [students] to come to campus and enjoy their college experience.” 

Niseem, along with Angela Ansah, vice president, and Paige-Tatum Hawthorne, treasurer, hope to bring a new energy to the Coral Gables Campus that the student body will remember forever. Their main goal? To not only bridge the gap between student government and the student body but to connect the campus with the greater community of Miami. 

“There are so many things and opportunities to really delve deep into, including the rich culture of this city,” said Niseem. “I also want it to be where [students] want to be on campus. I want to create an atmosphere that when you walk on campus, it feels like a breath of fresh air. I want you to get goosebumps and feel excited to have the opportunity to get a higher-level education at the University of Miami.” 

The executive board’s role is to oversee the Student Government office and policies, act as the undergraduate representative on University committees, and to coordinate activities and lobbying efforts. 

“The theme for this year is to create a masterpiece,” said Niseem. “I want everyone to understand that this campus is your campus to create whatever kind of experience you want for the next four years.” 

Affectionally referring to themselves as “The Big 3,” Niseem, Ansah, and Hawthorne each look forward to leaving their mark by following in the footsteps of student leaders who came before them, while creating their own legacy. 

“Two to three years down the line, after we’ve completed our positions, we will know we have done your jobs right when we see first-year students become leaders,” said Ansah, who said she is inspired by Ajiri Uzere, the 2021–22 Student Government vice president. “I can’t wait to pass the knowledge that was given to me to the next generation of campus leaders.” 

Ansah, who is charged with overseeing the First Year Leadership Council and bringing diverse speakers to educate members on campus involvement, is a junior studying marketing and business technology. Originally from Houston, she spent 15 years abroad in Saudi Arabia with her family. 

One of the initiatives she is most proud of implementing this academic year is expanding campus food offerings to include the opening of The Halal Shack, a Middle Eastern kitchen in the Hurricane Food Court with a mission to unite cultures and people through food. 

“I’m very excited about that because it gives more food options to those who are kosher,” said Ansah. “I’m not Muslim, but growing up in Saudi I have a bunch of friends who are Muslim and Ramadan is a very beautiful time. It can be really hard running to classes, or having to go to a meeting, not drinking water, and having to worry about what they are going to eat. This will make it easier for them.” 

Hawthorne is a senior studying management on the premed track and a native of North Miami Beach. As a way to leave a lasting legacy, she looks forward to implementing one or two basketball tailgates. 

“I know people get excited for the football tailgate season. But as we saw last year, our school is doing great at basketball. So, we want to do something to recognize that,” she said. “I think with this initiative, we can continue to keep the spirit high and have great attendance to those games.” 

The executive board members want the student body to know that their entire student government is here for them and that they anticipate a year of exhilaration and involvement. 

“Even if it’s your senior year, and you feel like it's too late to get involved, it's not,” said Hawthorne. “We want to be your reminder to experience everything the University has to offer.” 

Student Government continues to accept applications from undergraduates who are looking to participate in leadership roles within the council. Recently, applications were accepted for new parking and housing liaison positions. 

As the fall semester carries on and new and returning students adapt to their classes, Niseem, Ansah, and Hawthorne promise to deliver on their campaign slogan to create an “UndeniableU.” 

From partnering with local companies, sports teams, and nonprofit organizations, to bringing speakers to campus to deliver inspiring messages, their hope is to lead their fellow students to new heights.