Class of 2024 Report
Brian Arnold –
This past semester, I have been working on two main initiatives. The first of these is the potential creation of a Gabelli Major Fair, a project I have teamed up with Senator DePaola on. My role has primarily been to gauge the audience’s interest level and provide direct feedback from underclassmen regarding the fair. By reaching out to friends and classmates at Fordham, as well as through my office hours, I have gathered information on which majors and concentrations are most popular, what information students want to be included, the presentation format they desire, the optimal duration for said presentations, and rough estimates on how many students we can expect to attend.
The second of my main initiatives has been a coordinated effort from the entire freshman senate to create Facebook groups, Instagram profiles, GroupMe group chats, and similar engagements with prospective students to aid in student recruitment to Fordham. While our Facebook initiative is still in progress, our Instagram account (@fordham2025) has over 1,000 followers to date and over 200 posts with information about who we are, how to reach us with questions, and short introductions for each student who requests one. I have personally received upwards of 50 DM’s from incoming students about a range of topics, but most commonly about the financial aid process, scholarships, honors programs, and athletics. I am currently an administrator for three of our GroupMe group chats, Rose Hill ‘25, Gabelli at Rose Hill ‘25, and Fordham ‘25, which have a total of 413 members currently. There, I have been able to quash concerns, answer questions, and advocate for Fordham directly to accepted students. I have also engaged with a number of students from my own high school to provide information about Fordham via Instagram, Zoom, and Facetime, and plan on doing so in-person when visitors are once again allowed.
On the Budget Committee, I am the liaison for 12 clubs, tasked with providing guidance and information directly to their treasurers, as well as auditing budget requests for compliance to our guidelines. Given our recent shift from OrgSync to RamsInvolved and the uniqueness of this year where regulations and programming dates are constantly changing, this role has been demanding, but I am thankful for everyone who has helped me adjust and navigate it. Finally, we recently completed Budget Day, where I reviewed over 30 individual budget requests for the upcoming semester, analyzing each line item and respective documentation thoroughly. After completing a notification form, each club was notified of the results of their requests.
Cole Mullins –
This semester in USG has been memorable and enjoyable. I loved meeting all of the USG members and have felt very welcome into the community. My focus this semester as a senator was to help my fellow freshmen navigate their first semester in college and figure it all out in the middle of a global pandemic. I have used this challenge to come up with new ideas that will help our amazing school grow even more.
This semester I was a part of two different committees. They were the House Committee and the Dining Committee. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in these committees. In the House committee I helped to formulate more events on our campus during the fall such as the Election Night Party or the Winter Holiday festival that was worked on with the Gabelli Deans Council. In the dining committee, I worked with my fellow members to take the students’ suggestions about dining on campus and put them into action.
In regards to initiatives, I started to work on a few different projects that I look forward to completing when we return. First and foremost, I worked with VP Bentavim to propose allowing DCB swipes and dollars at vending machines on campus to allow students more access to food that they can use there dining plan with. This proposal was handled by the Dining department themselves and it seems that they are looking to make changes. I also started a proposal with Senator LaMarche in regards to fixing the Fordham app. More work will be done on this initiative in the future. Lastly, along with the other 2024 Senators, we created an initiative that focuses on the incoming Class of 2025. We now run several Instagram and group me pages where new students can get connected and meet their fellow classmates.
Gabrielle Simporios –
Over the course of three months of being a part of USG, I have gained so many new experiences and learned so much about the Fordham community. But most importantly, I found a sense of home and comfort within the USG community. Additionally, the four other freshmen senators and I work so well together and complement each other really well–something I was really hoping for.
Firstly, representing the commuter community in USG was quite an honor. I believe I was able to voice out their concerns and opinions, bring up a lot of the observations I’ve personally noticed, and even create a tiny bit of change. Secondly, the two committees that I was (and still am) a part of, namely, Communications and Marketing and International Integration, were two things I always looked forward to. I found a passion in making posters for USG and eventually continued this passion onto our Fordham 2025 Instagram page’s posts as well. On the other hand, I am beyond grateful to be able to build the International Integration committee into something great next semester! I’m very excited to work alongside Brianne Cua, we have a lot planned! Lastly and most importantly, I really loved answering other students’ questions on my personal and USG Instagram accounts. It makes me feel like I am able to better bring together the Fordham community with USG and administration.
A couple times in the semester, I felt like I wasn’t achieving much as a senator, but as I look back, I realize that I was wrong about that. My initial initiative was to bring freshmen together by fun online Zoom meetings, and I wasn’t able to do that this semester, but I believe that I was still able to bring the community closer this semester. I can’t wait for the next semester and the next four years!
Farah Elrakhawi –
I could not have wished for a better first semester as a part of USG! USG has been such a warm, close-knit, and welcoming environment and community to me. I feel so very fortunate to play a small, yet important, role in bettering the Fordham community. You guys are the BEST!!
Under VP Sullivan’s leadership, I have learned so much about the important role CSM plays on campus. While I’ve loved my time as a member of the Communications Committee, I’ve undoubtedly felt a closer connection to CSM. CSM’s Week of Action was one of my favorite Fordham memories thus far! I hope to continue to play an active role in CSM in the future. In terms of my time working alongside VP Bentovim, I’ve admired her intense work ethic and drive; during each meeting, she gives members the creative liberty to create new posts which has been incredibly fun!
I’ve found that many of my peers regularly reach out to me with questions and concerns, both big and small. Through these conversations, I’ve made new friends with people I’d otherwise might not have met! Next semester, I hope to continue to be easily accessible to any constituents and classmates to bring forth other questions or concerns.
Going forward, I plan to play a far more active role in USG. Next semester, I hope to bring forth my first formal proposal to carry out an initiative on behalf of the Class of 2024 Senate. As I tried my best to navigate through an unprecedented first semester of college, I feel far more comfortable with my place at Fordham to take on more responsibility. To be quite frank, my primary focus last semester was to solidify my footing on campus with friends and schoolwork, but now I feel far more prepared to better serve the Fordham community; I’m ready to get to work!
Over this break, we (the freshmen senate) have collectively been working on increasing our engagement with prospective Fordham students through new GroupMe chats and the IG page! I’ve found the feedback to be incredibly positive; it seems to be quite helpful for the incoming freshman. I’ve personally welcomed and reached out to countless prospective students to facilitate dialogue, further showing that we would love to welcome them to the Ramily.
Jillian Choy –
Being a part of United Student Government for my first semester at Fordham has been an incredible experience and I would not change it for the world. I am extremely grateful to be a part of such an amazing group of students who are very dedicated to making Fordham the best it can possibly be. At first, I was definitely a little hesitant and was a little intimidated by the hardworking students that stood before me at meetings, however, I soon realized that each and every single person in the room is extremely supportive and is focused on the same common goals.
As this was my first year and semester at Fordham, I did not know exactly what or how to start my initiatives, but I quickly started to develop some ideas throughout the semester. My first initiative that I have been working on is a pregnancy policy change with the help of VP Sullivan on the Committee of Sexual Misconduct. When she proposed the idea of having a senator help her with the initiative in a meeting, I thought it was a perfect time for me to step up and work with her on this great project. I thought it was a great project to work on to help advocate for all students at Fordham which is one of the reasons I wanted to be a part of USG. For this particular policy change, we are hoping to put something in writing that would protect students living at Fordham who are pregnant or become pregnant. Although there are policies to protect pregnant students at Fordham, there is currently no policy to protect students who are living on campus that are in this position. When I initially met with VP Sullivan for the first time to discuss the initiative idea, she shared her research with me and I got to know her a little bit better as a student and a person. Not only was VP Sullivan an awesome person to talk to, but also a student who I really admire. I am currently still working on the proposal and am aiming to have it finished by the end of February or early March. My second initiative that I have been working on has been with the rest of the freshman senate. After a great discussion about freshman recruitment for next year, I thought it would be a great idea to help connect future students with one another as well as current Fordham students. Senators Simporios, Elrakhawi, Mullins, Arnold, and I have been hard at work with the class of 2025 Instagram page and have been helping answer questions in the several GroupMes that we have set up. With the ongoing pandemic, I know that it has been difficult for prospective students to get a feel of what Fordham is really like so we hope that through our initiatives we are able to help encourage them to come join us at Fordham next year.
Along with the initiatives that I have been working on, it has been a great experience being on the Operations Committee and the Dining Committee. With the Operations Committee, it has been very fun working with fellow students and seeing the entire club process behind the scenes. VP Felton has been extremely welcoming over this past semester and has always been up to helping me with getting acclimated to USG and Fordham as well. Along with being a part of the Operations Committee, it has also been a pleasure being on the Dining Committee. VP Bentovim is an extremely hardworking student and seeing all her dedication motivates me to do just the same as her.
All in all, I have really enjoyed being a part of USG this semester as it has really opened up my eyes to all aspects of the Fordham community. The people in USG are people that I greatly admire as they all have such a passion and dedication to making a difference in this world.