By AMINA BHATTI
Nevin Kulangara, GSB ’15, newly-elected president of Rose Hill’s United Student Government (USG), has fresh ideas and projects to bring to the table, as well as old ones to tackle.
In its first meeting under Kulangara’s presidency, USG discussed and reviewed the activities it is planning, as well as activities that are currently underway. USG has also picked its election commission for next term. The commission handles both marketing and the elections. “[The commission has to] make sure everything abides by the election code” Kulangara said. At the time of this interview, there was still one senate seat open, which USG hopes to fill soon.
During the first meeting, along with voting to fill leadership positions, USG chose FUEMS (Fordham University Emergency Medical Services) as the club of the year. In addition, USG members supported the fundraising efforts of Flash Magazine by sending out emails with the goal of allocating $200 for the cause. The actual fundraising event for Flash Magazine took place on April 21.
One project that Kulangara hopes to make effective as USG President is the Fordham Student Holdings Initiative, an organization designed to support on-campus businesses run by Fordham students. “Apparently, there is no section in the Fordham Student Handbook addressing student-run businesses, so you could argue that they are illegal,” Kulangara said.
The Student Holdings Initiative would be a way to legitimize such businesses as it would “give them structure to operate and provide them with resources to essentially thrive,” Kulangara said. He expressed the idea that campuses are similar to a trial run for the real world, in which students should be able to test their business skills while abiding by the proper policies.
During the week of April 28, Kulangara plans to collaborate with members of USG in order to improve its official website. According to Kulangara, this “revamping” of the website is “not just from an aesthetic standpoint, but also for [the sake of] practicality.” Aside from the visual appeal, the most important aspect of the site’s improvement involves making it more efficient for students to navigate, while providing useful information, such as how to begin and manage a club. In addition, the website will provide students with the dynamics of budgeting for clubs.
Kulangara also hopes that USG becomes more involved in Fordham’s New Student Orientation (NSO). He and Vice President Sarah Skrobala, FCRH ’15, who both promoted the creation of stronger ties with the student body as part of their platforms, agreed that “leaving an impression on Freshman right when they come in is a huge part of [forming these strong ties].”
Another part of Kulangara’s platform involves promotion and protection of free speech by allowing students to go through a formal appeals process under the USG House Committee if their goals and beliefs are censored or considered questionable.
While these new proposals and activities are underway, previous work, such as that of the former senators of the Class of 2016, is also being continued.
Their proposal involves extending the add/drop time slot for classes when students are newly registered for the semester, so as to give them more time to decide whether they want to remain in a course or add another. These activities, along with many more to come, promise a busy and productive year for Kulangara and the rest of the USG.