Months before the student body returns to campus, the Binghamton University Student Association (SA) executive board has begun planning for fall 2016.
This coming academic year Nicholas Ferrara will be president, Raaga Rajagopala will be executive vice president (EVP), Kate Tashman will remain vice president for finance (VPF), Adam Wilkes will be vice president for academic affairs (VPAA), Jermel McClure, Jr. will be vice president for multicultural affairs (VPMA) and Max Maurice will be vice president for programming (VPP).
Wilkes, a junior majoring in economics and sociology, said that the SA plans to be open and transparent with students while actively trying to unify and engage the campus.
“I think we are going to see an SA that acts more like it’s serving and representing student organizations than governing them,” Wilkes said. “A lot of my front and center projects for next year — working with the president to develop a shared-governance organization to increase communication with graduate students, and faculty members, and professional staff and creating an academic leadership council with a representative from each community — are geared towards mobilizing students into a position of agency rather than complacency.”
Encouraging students to capitalize on ways to get involved, Ferrara, a senior majoring in political science, said students need to be proactive.
“Whether it be a club executive board, the SA Congress or any of the numerous other opportunities in the SA, there is an opportunity waiting for everyone,” Ferrara said. “They just need to take advantage of it.”
According to Tashman, a senior double-majoring in biomedical engineering and mathematics, the VPF office never stops working. She said she has been staying local to insure that the SA has a smooth transition to incorporation.
Meanwhile Maurice, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, said he has begun planning for the fall concert and Family Weekend comedy show. He is working on the bidding process and looking to prepare for new events as well.
Offering some advice for freshmen, McClure said that students should explore their academic options and not be afraid to take risks.
“I loved the courses I took,” said McClure, a junior majoring in political science. “They made me more intellectually curious and challenged me to think outside of my comfort zone.”
He also said that it is important for students to join clubs and be active on campus as early as possible.
“I wish I knew more about our great student organizations earlier on,” McClure said. “I felt lonely at times because I wasn’t as involved as I could have been. Everyone should get out and get involved as soon as they come to campus.”
Maurice said that BU offers a different perspective and a new environment for students and newcomers should make sure to take advantage of the campus and city.
“I really liked the initial culture shock of being in Binghamton,” Maurice said. “I’ve lived in Canada, Florida, New York City and Long Island, so it’s another different kind of culture I’ve immersed myself in terms of weather, cityscape, people and how people interact.”
McClure said that he is looking forward to the coming semester and that the student body should as well.
“I’m excited to begin cultivating a more inclusive campus,” McClure said. “I can’t wait for everyone to come together and create effective change.”