Bohra Student Arwa Jafferji Begins Term As University Of Texas At Arlington’s Speaker Of The Senate

Dawoodi Bohra community member Arwa Jafferji is spending her senior year as the Speaker of the Senate for the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) student government. 

Arwa, a 20-year-old computer science major, applied to the student government during her freshman year. After successfully completing the interview process, she represented the College of Engineering as a senator for three semesters. Senators spend their time researching resolutions submitted by the UTA community and sending feasible resolutions to the general body to vote on. The final approval then goes to the student body president and university administration. 

Looking for a new challenge, Arwa ran for the Speaker of Senate position in the Spring of 2020. Arwa and her opposing candidate delivered speeches and underwent questioning by the senate. The final anonymous vote was in Arwa’s favor, and so she began the one-year term in the Fall of 2021. 

Though she is a computer science major, Arwa attributes her interest and success to her time in Mock Trial in high school at Jack E. Singley Academy. 

Arwa shared that “a lot of the speaking skills I have now came from Mock Trial. Computer science majors aren’t necessarily outgoing, but Mock Trial helped me become who I am today.”

Arwa’s transition from senator to speaker saw an increase in workload. She estimates that her role takes up about 20 hours per week due to the number of tasks she juggles, including running Senate meetings, building agendas, completing committee chair interviews, and reviewing resolutions to delegate them to committees. 

The work is tough, and Arwa finds it especially hard when people approach her with questions. “It seems like you’re supposed to know all the answers and it’s scary when you don’t know,” she said. 

Despite its challenges, Arwa feels confident knowing that there were women before her who handled the role at UTA’s engineering college and that she can ask for help when needed. 

Some recent resolutions Arwa has been especially proud of are helping to enact the renaming of Davis Hall to a less controversial historical figure, and implementing free water bottles for students after the pandemic-related shutdown of public water fountains.

With one year left at the university, Arwa plans to shake things up in student government. In the very first senate meeting, she unveiled committee assignments by taping them underneath chairs for the senators to open. She hopes to continue making normally bureaucratic procedures more enjoyable for her peers. 

Arwa is also working to make student government more accessible. She wants the UTA community to know that “it’s a place for you to come and voice your concerns or opinions.” 

Arwa looks forward to making a difference in her new position as Speaker of the Senate.

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