When she was in high school, Zeel Mody wanted to be part of an organization that planned events, but never had the chance because she was committed to multiple service clubs, such as Rotary Interact, Animal Advocates Club, and LINK Crew.
When she discovered the Union Board at Elmhurst University’s Involvement Fair, she realized she was able to fulfill that dream.
“I wrote my name down, and then I went to the first meeting and I was like, ‘Yep, this is something I want to join for sure’,’’ Mody said.
Mody was elected president of the Union Board for the 2023-24 school year and is seeking to increase student involvement with the Union Board.
“My plan is to work with the vice president and have incentives and get-to-know meetings and potlucks and private sessions; such things as that to grow the student involvement but also take what they have as their ideas,” Mody said.
Mody continued, “And also hear out other students that are not on Union Board and plan events that they will enjoy as well to have something that they can get involved in that is not very educational or school-based.”
During her time on Union Board so far, Mody has enjoyed the connections she has made with other members.
“I like that we’re very close and that we’re not afraid to be ourselves around each other,” Mody said.
“Being a leadership organization as well, it can be hard when everyone is so based on their positions, so we really try not to have that as our main goal and put together that we are a team and that we can just get together and not be so serious and strict all the time and just have fun with what we do,” she continued.
She especially liked the retreats that the organization went on during the beginning and end of the school year.
“During that time, we would take bits and pieces of Union Board and just talk about ideas we had, collaborate based on that, and it was mostly to get away from the educational, like the school environment, and just have fun and talk and just get to know each other,” Mody said.
Mody also enjoys Union Board because it gives her a break from her workload. She explained that the transition from high school to college was tough, and during her first semester, she had a professor who would assign a lot of essays.
Union Board helped her take her mind off “all that chaos and the essays” she was doing.
“Getting my mind off of the essays themselves and putting them into planning events, talking to people, designing stuff – it took bits and pieces of what I wanted to do in high school … and just like hobbies I like to do at home and just like planning and sketching and designing and stuff,” Mody said. “I had a fun time doing that which got my mind off of doing the essays itself.”
With her double major in criminal justice and cybersecurity, Mody plans to go into law enforcement with an emphasis on technology.
Her advice to students is not to be afraid to seek help. She explained that when she first picked her double major, she was used to doing everything on her own and felt stressed. However, since then she has reached out to a life coach, a department chair, and students she knew from Union Board for support.
She added that students seeking leadership positions should not worry so much about having a specific role or level of experience.
“I’d say leadership isn’t always about holding such [a] role as in previous years or needing that label,” Mody said. “It’s mainly about the initiative one takes into going forth oneself and working with others as well.”