If someone had told Bettylenah Njaramba a year ago that she would become student body president of the UNC system, she wouldn’t have believed them.
Njaramba, who was born in Kenya and grew up in Raleigh, is the first African-American woman to serve in the position.
“To be the first Black woman, it was definitely emotional for me, because it’s something that surpassed my expectations for myself,” she said. “Also, knowing the village that I had behind me of people supporting me and believing in me, that really put their all into the campaign as well, it meant so much more, and really was so much bigger than me, so I am really eternally grateful.”
Njaramba will be sworn in as president of The University of North Carolina Association of Student Governments at N.C. State University on Friday.
ASG is a student-led organization representing the UNC-system student body. Its membership is comprised of student body presidents and other governmental delegates from the 17 UNC campuses.
Njaramba, a rising senior at North Carolina Central University, will serve as both president of ASG and as a sitting member on the UNC board of governors. As president, she will advocate for students to the BOG, but the position does not hold a vote.
Although many students are unfamiliar with ASG, a dollar from every UNC-system student goes toward funding it. ASG holds monthly, two-day long meetings to discuss and collaborate on issues like access and affordability, campus safety and voter participation.
Njaramba said promoting awareness of the organization on campuses has been a longtime mission of ASG and is an important part of her campaign platform.
“Because it’s funded by students, we definitely feel as if students should know about what is going toward,” she said.