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Meet Drexel’s New Student Body President



July 22, 2020

Drexel’s Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) recently announced its new crop of officers, led by President and biological sciences major Tim Hanlon! Read on to find out more about Tim’s plans for the role and how Drexel students can use the USGA to make their voices heard.

Tim Hanlon - Drexel Biology Major and USGA President

Fun Facts About Tim:

  • I am an honors biology student with a minor in neuroscience and certificate in writing and publishing.
  • I love to run and have completed a number of half marathons, and even the 2019 Philly Marathon.
  • Two of my favorite things are ice cream and standup comedy.
  • I have won the Drexel Writing Contest’s humor category for the past two years.
  • I was born in Scranton but have lived in Pittsburgh since I was one, and am the second of four siblings.
  • I have a paper published in the Journal for Vascular Surgery and have presented at the Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery Symposium and the National Collegiate Research Conference at Harvard University – among other conferences.

Tell us about your Drexel experience so far – what has been most impactful for you? What are the highlights of your time at Drexel?

In my three years so far, I have created great friendships and have made memories that will last a lifetime. I am so happy that I picked Drexel for my undergraduate degree and can’t think of a better place to spend four years.

Many of the professors I took classes with have created a lasting impact on how I think about certain subjects. I was scared to take organic chemistry my sophomore year, but Professor Jason Cross made the material approachable and easy to understand. His teaching style gives students a chance to learn the material from a number of different angles and keeps us engaged. He is the reason that organic chemistry is now one of my favorite classes and topics.

In my free time, I have enjoyed going to see the ice hockey team play and to see what hilarious sketches the Drexel Football Team (an improv comedy group) comes up with. Freshman year, I started playing squash and have loved it ever since — maybe by the time I graduate, I will have a chance to play with President Fry. Through Civic101, I volunteered with SquashSmarts — a program for middle school students to play squash and have access to academic tutors — and have really enjoyed teaching the students and watching them grow.

I can absolutely see myself coming back in the future to work with Drexel students and administration, and know that this university will hold a special place in my heart after I graduate.

What are your aspirations for post-Drexel life?

After I graduate from Drexel in the spring of 2021, I will be returning to Harvard Medical School and The Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where I did my co-op, to continue my research on bladder and prostate cancer treatment. The ultimate goal is to then attend medical school starting in the fall of 2022 and to become a surgeon.

What is the USGA?

Drexel University’s Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) acts as a liaison between the student body and the administration. It is our job to ensure that students are kept in mind at all levels of conversation and that students’ concerns are not only heard, but also met with action.

USGA is composed of both a class- and committee-based system as we work to transition to a purely committee-based system. We currently elect members based on their class standing and, from there, they are able to join any one of our main committees (Student Life, Civic Engagement, Buildings and Properties, and Academic Affairs). These committees then oversee a number of smaller committees including Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Co-op Improvements; Student Spaces; and Business Services. We also oversee the student organization re-recognition process through the Student Organization Advisory Committee.

Are there any accomplishments you’ve had through USGA that you’re especially proud of?

Last year, I was Chair of the Sustainability Committee, and we put together a comprehensive proposal for an Office of Sustainability. This initiative gained the support of nearly 3,000 individuals including faculty, staff, students (graduate and undergraduate), alumni and community members. From this, Drexel has created the Climate and Sustainability Initiative, which is currently operated by three staff members, and will, over time, turn into an Office of Sustainability.

In a broader sense, the USGA has played integral roles in the implementation of the pass/fail option, the incorporation of scannable allergen information in dining halls, and the assessment on the employment gap for international students

We have also joined forces with a number of Black student groups, including the Drexel Black Action Committee, Black Student Union, BLACK Westphal, Queer People of Color, National Society of Black Engineers, and Drexel Black Graduate Student Union, to ensure that Drexel actively and correctly addresses racial injustice happening on campus and in the greater community. We are continuing to work with administrators to understand what students can expect upon return and ensuring that the health of all returning students is considered.

Why did you decide to run for Student Body President? What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure?

I decided to run for Student Body President because I felt that, after all the work I was able to achieve with sustainability, I was in a unique position — with my strong relationships with administration of all levels and departments, from members of departments such as facilities, housing, dining and OED all the way up to President Fry — to elevate the student voice. With this wide breadth and depth of connections to Drexel, I hope to be able to connect students and student groups to the right administrators to actively address their ideas and concerns in conjunction with USGA.

As president, my goals are to:

  • Elevate the student voice through equitable representation
  • Strengthen partnerships with students and student groups
  • Ensure the things students/groups are doing are a topic of conversation during our Joint Assembly meetings and not just what USGA is achieving
  • Create an avenue for USGA to easily relay messages to the student population
  • Ensure equitable allocations of resources to student groups
  • Evaluate student space on campus

How has the USGA adapted to remote learning?

All of our members are committed to the health and safety of the student body; as such, we are continuing to follow social distancing guidelines and conducting all meetings through Zoom. This has undeniably been a challenge for our organization, as we have had to adjust strategies in addressing student concerns and how to best hear from the student population, but I believe we have adapted in a manner that allows us to be just as effective as in “normal times.”

As individuals, our representatives have faced many of the same problems our students have: co-ops have been canceled, classes have been changed, traveling home (mainly internationally) has been difficult. As we look at the potential return to campus in the fall, we are looking at ways to address many of these same stressors and how we can make this transition as smooth as possible.

How can students contribute feedback and ideas to USGA?

Starting in the fall term, USGA will hold Joint Assembly meetings every Monday at 7:00 p.m., which are remote and open to the public. In these meetings, we give a platform for all students to provide feedback, voice concerns, or even just listen. We also go over updates from each of our four main committees. Students can access the link on our Dragonlink page.

Students can also learn more about what we do and who we are by viewing our website, drexelusga.com, and email their concerns, questions and ideas to usga@drexel.edu. I highly encourage students, faculty, staff and community members to follow us on Instagram (@drexelusga) to stay up to date on what we are working on and what is happening around campus.

We recently expanded the size of our organization and are looking for new representatives for all classes to join USGA. If students are interested in becoming an official USGA member and making a positive impact on the University and greater community, they can reach out to usgaelections@drexel.edu.