divstrongNatalie Valdes, Beacon Correspondent/strong/div
divA bustling afternoon at the Emerson Café was the perfect scenario for meeting student government association President, Jeffrey Rizzi, for the first time. As energetic as the atmosphere around, Rizzi jumped out from behind me, clearly recovering from a Friday morning full of rehearsals and classwork. Immediately, his charismatic demeanor opened the floor for conversation about issues, ideas, and overall, everything Emerson. Last year, Rizzi was the Performing Arts Senator for SGA. As the only candidate for the position of President, he is very well aware that he now has to prove he is the best person for the job./div
divQ: What goals do you have for SGA this year?
A: My goal is to help as many student organizations as I possibly can and create unity on campus. I’ve been talking to Lee [Pelton] about building Emerson student pride. This year, SGA is completely new and fresh. We have all new SGA members and commissioners. We’ve specifically elected new commissioners to work with all student organizations and clubs on campus. We’ve been working with Career, Business and Off Campus Student Services to get more involved with students. All summer we’ve been having brainstorming sessions and now its time to make everything happen./div
Q: What issues are you specifically planning to tackle this year?
A: Two things come to my mind. The print credit issue is something that many students have approached me about. Students complain that they don’t have enough print credits in their account. While some students use up a lot of their credits, others don’t even know they have print credits. I’ve been doing my research on how to improve the policy, as has Dan Tobin, the previous WLP chair. He gave some excellent suggestions and now I’ve been working with the current WLP commissioner, Bill Donahugh, and Associate Dean of Students, Sharon Duffy. Everyone has been extremely supportive and has contributed their fair share of ideas. The initial idea was to create a rollover account of print credits where certain classes that use more credits like Marketing or Journalism would be granted more on a semester basis. But there were many problems stemming from that. It all comes down to money so we are all working on a better plan. The second issue we’re working on is student space. We’ve set up a committee called Office of the Arts for Student Group Use, OAFFSGU, which is working to get more student space outside of Emerson. We should be taking advantage of everything that not only Emerson has to offer, but Boston as well.
Q: We have been hearing some talk about working with Teach For America. What are some of those plans?
A: I met with Teach For America the other day outside of SGA. When I told them I was the Student Government Association President at Emerson and their ears perked up. They asked me if they could hold a recruitment session here. No promises yet, but we ended with really great excitement and ideas.
Q: How do you plan to engage the Emerson community with SGA?
A: That is something that really needs to happen. I gave a speech to the freshman with a simple message: Actions speak louder than words. My goal for the year is to increase school pride. We’re all here for a reason and the college has so much to offer that we need to take advantage of. We’re trying to get students to come out to events. I’m meeting with all of our clubs to sign more of them on for SGA funding. I can only do so much. These clubs need to all come together and do something important. If clubs use our SGA funding to make their events even bigger, they could be even better.
Q: Which positions in SGA still need to be filled?
A: Communication Disorders Senator, IDIP Senator, Vice Treasurer, Commissioners: Athletics, Off Campus, Spiritual, Disabilities and External Affairs.
Q: How are you working to fill those positions?
A: There were over 50 students who signed up to join SGA at the Org Fair and we’ve been contacting them. But we don’t want to fill anything until the elections are prepared and ready to go. Patrick Comeau, the elections commissioner is working hard on that. That is SGA’s next item on our agenda. We have a website about it and we’ve posted the positions on tackboard and ecampus.
Q: Overall, what are your top three priorities for this semester?
A: 1. Increase SGA awareness and presence on campus. I want people to see what we can do. 2. Finding ways for students to showcase their talent and giving them their student space. And for 3, I’d have to say create more school unity. From that stems topics ranging from more toilet paper in women’s restrooms to more jobs on campus, more student presence at athletic events, and definitely a solution to the print credit issues.