The Student Senate plays an essential role on campus by being the bridge between the student body and the administration. It is our goal to make sure all students have the best “Bryant Experience as possible.” I decided to go out and interview a few senators and ask them questions about Senate!
This week’s featured senators are Valerie Szeto (Class of 2016), Austin Avanesian (Class of 2017), Jenna McAnespie (Class of 2018), and Joseph Rinaldi (Class of 2019)!
- What made you want to get involved in Student Senate?
VS: Initially, I didn’t know what I was getting into but after a few months on Senate, I’ve learned to love Bryant even more than I already did. Being involved with Senate allows me to serve Bryant and the senior class.
AA: I have always been involved with student government. It has been my passion since the eight grade. When I came to college I knew I wanted to continue my involvement with student government and I really wanted to be a voice for my class.
JM: I wanted to get involved in Senate because I wanted to be a voice for my class. By being involved in Senate, there have been so many opportunities to raise issues and work with other Senators to address them. By speaking with the upperclassmen at the Org Fair, I knew that it was definitely something I would be interested in being involved in.
JR: I have been involved in student government for nine years now. I was the Vice-President of my class in high school, and being a Class Officer was like my sport. I have always loved student government because I love helping people. There are so many resources out there, especially here at Bryant, and I love nothing more than being able to connect people with those resources. I got involved with Student Senate because I know my class can have the best possible Bryant experience over the next four years, and I want to play a role in ensuring that outcome.
2) How can the Student Senate serve as a resource to students on campus?
VS: Student Senate serves as a resource to students on campus because we are the voices and bridge between the student body and administration. Any issues or suggestions that students have, the Senate can relay the messages and begin working on how to mitigate these issues.
AA: The Student Senate is probably the biggest resource to students on this campus. We have the power to take your complaints and concerns, fix them and make campus a better place for you. We were elected on the idea that we want to serve for you, and we will strive our best to do so.
JM: The Student Senate can serve as a resource to students on campus mainly because they are the voice of the Bryant students. Our job is to be able to answer questions that our peers may have, and if we don’t have the answer we are able to steer them in the direction to someone who does.
JR: Student Senate should be student’s go-to place for issues or ideas on campus. I see ourselves as lobbyists; we are representatives of the students who are given access to the administration to ensure the Student Body’s voice is heard. If you have a question about why something is happening or why it is done that way it is at Bryant, ask a Student Senator! We would love to talk to you.
3) What are your main goals/objectives for this academic year?
VS: My main goal for this academic year is to honestly make it out of senior year alive! It’s been a great 3 years and I’m ready to make this the best one yet.
AA: This year, as the Chair of the Public Relations and Community Outreach committee, I would love to see Senate become more transparent and really help advertise the great things we do across campus.
JM: My main goal for this year is to work on spreading the word about Student Senate sponsored events and just our general meetings. I will be working within the Community Outreach committee, and we plan on playing a more active role on social media especially OrgSync. This way, more students will be informed about what we are doing and working on.
JR: There were many parts of my campaign platform. One of the initiatives I wanted to work on was a Student Representative to the Board of Trustees. The good news is the President of Student Senate does serve as the Student Trustee, and I am currently working to strengthen this and other positions on senate. I wanted to increase student participation in local, state, and national elections. The Rhode Island Board of Elections will be hosting a Voter Registration Drive from 11 AM to 1 PM on November 4th in the Roto. There are four issues that I am currently pursing with various committees and departments. First, I am working with the Student Services Committee to keep the momentum going after our Senate-DPS Parking Forum. I have met with DPS Chief Bannon and the Services Committee and his department is currently discussing possible solutions to take some stress off our parking system. Another item I am working with DPS and others on is the issue of smoking on campus. Rule Fourteen of the Fire, Health, and Safety Citations in our Student Handbook currently bans smoking within 50 feet of all University Facilities. I am working to increase compliance with that rule for the health and safety of everyone on campus. I am also working with the Office of Admissions, alongside the Academic Affairs Committee, to look at a proposal regarding Merit Scholarships. I want to create a system where after enrollment at Bryant, if you were offered a Merit Scholarship, that scholarship would be index to tuition and rise alongside it during your four years here. Lastly, I am working with Senator Christopher Carando to meet with members of the Business Affairs division to discuss Meal Plan pricing, though the Student Services Committee.
4) How does the Student Senate play a role in the lives your envision post-grad?
VS: It plays a role in the life I envision because I want to help others grow and achieve.
AA: Student Government, and Student Senate, has already shaped me into the person and leader I am today. I believe that the things we do here allow us to grow and shape the students. Its important to remember that we are the voice of our peers, and that will last longer than just our academic careers but continue on in post grad life.
JM: I believe Student Senate provides me with leadership experience, which is something that is going to help for the rest of my life.
JR: I do not plan to get involve with politics as a career. However, I do love public service and helping people. Therefore, I could see myself running for a Select Board, School Committee, or City Council type position in my future life post-graduation. I believe civic service is every citizen duty, and the more people who are involved with government, especially at the local level, the better it will serve the needs of the people.
5) What is a fun fact about you that most people don’t know?
VS: One fun fact about me is that I transferred to Bryant after my first semester freshman year at Suffolk. A lot of people don’t know that about me because I got involved on campus so fast it was like I didn’t miss a single thing!
AA: A fun fact about me is that I love corgis!
JM: A fun fact that most people don’t know is that I was in two musicals in high school.
JR: One fun fact about myself is I am a PADI Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver. The coolest dive I have ever been on was in Mexico. I got to dive 80 feet down and explore a shipwreck!
The Student Senate is always open to suggestions! Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or attend the Student Senate’s meetings on Wednesday at 4:00pm in Papitto if you have any suggestions or ideas on how to make Bryant better!
No matter who you are, where you are from, or why you are reading this:
Bryant University Class of 2016