Heather Raslan aims to collaborate with student organizations, improve internal structure in DSG presidential campaign

Heather Raslan
Heather Raslan

Duke Student Government presidential candidate Heather Raslan aims to build collaborative partnerships with student organizations, enhance DSG’s internal structure and make DSG an accessible resource for all students to actualize their goals and address their needs. 

Originally from Burr Ridge, Illinois, Raslan is a junior majoring in neuroscience and is passionate about work in global health systems and healthcare. On campus, Raslan volunteers with FEMMES+, conducts global health research through Bass Connections, facilitates a house course, and is involved with multicultural and religious organizations including the Muslim Students Association

The pillars of Raslan’s campaign are abbreviated by the acronym “CHI,” which is both a nod to her hometown in the suburbs of Chicago and a symbol of “where [she] want[s] to take her platform.” The “C” stands for “community building project work,” the H for “honoring all student voices” and the I for “internal DSG structural improvements,” according to an Instagram post on Raslan’s account.

Raslan has been involved in DSG since the spring semester of her first year and currently serves as the vice president of academic affairs. From leading the Blue Devil Buddies program and co-founding the Blue Devil Bridges program, Raslan sees the value in the “tangible benefits” that result from the work “run by students for students” and hopes to expand mentorship opportunities for incoming students, current students and alumni.

“My favorite thing is when I run into someone, and they tell me that they love their Blue Devil Buddy, or they love the alumni that they've met with, and that it helped introduce them to a new opportunity, or it felt really good to hear from someone of their identity working in a field that they want to work in it,” Raslan said. “It's a big reason as to why I'm running for president — I see that effect that these programs have had.”

Raslan hopes to develop stronger committee mentorship within DSG’s internal structure to increase retention for senators and to develop stronger relationships with campus partners to continue important long-term project work. 

She also believes it is important to increase “DSG’s engagement with external student groups to empower more groups to propose partnerships and projects that directly benefit students.” To achieve this goal, she would require senators to consider the potential for collaboration with student organizations when they work on projects.

Whenever DSG rolls out a new program to the student body, Raslan believes that they must consider which students the project will impact and then ensure that they have representative voices of these students at the table.

Through her years of DSG involvement, Raslan has worked on committees such as the student-faculty interaction committee and courses committee. 

As a student representative on the student-faculty interaction committee, Raslan contributed to the development of the “faculty pass” which allows faculty to attend sporting events free of charge through student invitation. She hopes to explore additional ways of “[inviting] faculty to be in student spaces.”

Raslan also hopes to continue to support current work by DSG senators that aims to increase awareness of how students can most effectively utilize campus resources such as the Career Center and the Academic Resource Center, as well as improving advising to be more intentional. She also hopes to invite more engineering student perspectives to DSG to “bridge the gap” between the experiences of Trinity and Pratt undergraduates on campus.

In terms of improving social life on campus, Raslan advocates for the potential of Central Campus, saying that she believes “that Central Campus is a great space for student organizations to hold events to increase inclusivity and safety of social gatherings.”

She also wants to embrace the structure and resources that QuadEX brings to student life on campus. She believes collaborative events between living-learning communities with on-campus organizations can build a “more meaningful” social presence on campus.

“By unifying the different communities that we already have on campus, I think we’ll be able to … strengthen connections that are already in place,” Raslan said. 

Raslan hopes to explore options for expanding social life so that both affiliated and unaffiliated organizations have “space to enjoy themselves and enjoy the community.” 

“If we are not having social events on campus, we're having them off campus, which means that we may not be doing the best we can by Durham community residents,” Raslan said. “When we improve social life on campus, we improve our relations with Durham.” 

Raslan also proposes a Durham High School Board that would invite local high school students to DSG meetings where they can share their thoughts on the way Duke and Durham interact. 

Heather Settle, Graduate School ‘07 and academic dean for courses and curriculum, oversaw a proposal from Raslan and DSG senator and junior Jax Nalley to expand pedagogical methods of house courses beyond standard academic papers and “allow for more autonomy for student instructors.” 

In an email to The Chronicle, Settle wrote that she was impressed by Raslan’s “diligence and flexibility” throughout the project, adding that her experience as a representative on the courses committee “puts her in a great position to add a student voice to the implementation of the proposed new curriculum as the decision unfolds.” 

Senior Sophie Smith, DSG’s vice president for campus life, works closely with Raslan on the executive board and co-leads Blue Devil Buddies with her. Smith describes Raslan as having “unparalleled dedication and impact” for her work. She “witnessed how honestly and passionately [Raslan] shows up for her project work and more importantly, for the students behind her project work.”

“Her approachability towards students is remarkable, and she consistently demonstrates a willingness to engage with and support them. Moreover, Heather's integrity and dedication extend beyond her professional duties. She embodies the qualities of a true leader, unafraid to hold others and herself accountable,” Smith wrote in an email to The Chronicle. 

Amy Guan | Senior Editor

Amy Guan is a Pratt senior and a senior editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


Share and discuss “Heather Raslan aims to collaborate with student organizations, improve internal structure in DSG presidential campaign” on social media.