Taylor Deer and Sarah Thomas
Both SG veterans, Taylor Deer and Sarah Thomas hope to reform many aspects of campus life — focusing particularly on clubs, student resources and the RIT community.
Deer, presidential candidate and fourth year Business Management major, is an active member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and is currently SG’s greek senator. Thomas is a second year Finance student who hopes to become the new Vice President. She was freshman senator last year and is currently the organization’s director of student relations — in addition to being an RA. Both Deer and Taylor have emphasized their past experience as a part of SG to show their leadership capability.
The pair states they value student feedback, and want to ensure that everyone has a voice. They want to put themselves out on the campus, ask students what they want and listen to them. Their three main stated goals are to be more proactive, enhance student life and create a student community.
If elected, the two plan to immediately start working towards the goals they have set for themselves. One major group of goals involves the RIT club system; the pair noticed that RIT has undergone a social shift in the past few years, to be more focused on clubs and activities.
“RIT, five or 10 years ago, was almost wholly academic. People would come here, get a great education, and then would leave,” says Thomas. “They weren’t as connected to the campus. But now we have over 280 clubs and many other major organizations. There are so many ways to get involved — the campus has socially shifted to more of a campus life experience focus.”
Among other things, they hope to create a system to link similar clubs together, so that collaboration is easier. They also hope to create a system for recognition of lesser-known clubs, so that student accomplishments can be better seen and celebrated throughout campus. This same system would also be used for easy, campus-wide club advertising. They hope this will help the campus be more engaged with the social activities going on around them.
The pair would also like to see greater NTID integration into the mainstream part of campus. Along this vein, they would like to improve the event registration system for clubs, making it easier to use access services so that hard-of-hearing support will be present. They would also like to like to run additional ASL workshops to help improve communication between the groups of students, especially within clubs.
The pair also wants to utilize student talent when making improvements or adding new services, looking internally before attempting to purchase third-party services. They wish to expand the TE3 bus route to include other parts of downtown Rochester, as well as to raise additional awareness of the presence of the academic-side tunnel systems and to install CCTV cameras in the University Commons parking lots.
Victor Santiago and Mark Leonardo II
Citing their experience with campus leadership, Victor Santiago and Mark Leonardo II want to share the opportunities they’ve found over the years with the rest of campus.
Santiago, a fourth year Graphic Design major and presidential candidate, has worked for CAB for several years, and has experience as both an RA and an Orientation Assistant. He is also knowledgeable about the campus, having worked as a tour guide for prospective students.
Leonardo, the vice presidential hopeful, is a fourth year Multidisciplinary Studies major. He has been a member of RIT’s Leadership Institute for three years and boasts one year as the organization’s president. He is also a peer mentor, has worked as an Orientation Assistant and is the director of the Greek programming board, where he learned how to effectively organize events on campus.
Both students have emphasized their willingness to surrender their current positions in order to devote time to SG.
If elected, the pair hopes to emphasize the services SG offers students, as well as work to increase the organization’s visibility on campus. “We want everyone to be aware of how SG can help them,” says Santiago. “A lot of people don’t know about the services that SG offers, [including] a legal service to students, as well as transportation with the SG vans, large banner printing and funding for clubs.”
The pair also wants to increase awareness for the lesser-known clubs on campus, giving a voice and visibility to the accomplishments of smaller groups who tend to fly under the radar.
Additional student participation in SG is another priority for Santiago and Leonardo. Students are free to come to any and all meetings to speak to SG and tell them what they want. However, they say it is exceedingly rare for anyone to actually do so. But Santiago has ideas to help bring SG to the students — literally. He plans to hold several SG meetings outdoors in the center of the Infinity Quad, and allow any student walking by to speak their mind.
Santiago and Leonardo also hope to increase integration between NTID and the rest of campus, bridging the communication gap. Both Santiago and Leonardo are fluent in ASL — they have worked as teachers at No Voice Zone — and they are committed to bringing the two halves of campus together. The NTID and mainstream communities each have a large number of opportunities and activities, and Santiago and Leonardo feel there is very little crossover between the two. They feel NTID has a unique culture which most mainstream students do not experience, and they hope to bring the two on-campus communities together.