By ALEJANDRA GARCÍA
If there is one thing the newly-elected United Student Government (USG) president and vice president have in common, it is their hope to foster school unity. President-elect, Demetrios Stratis, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’19, hopes to achieve this goal by increasing USG’s communication with the student body as well as its transparency. Vice President-elect, Katina Smith FCLC ’19 is determined to redefine the campus by bolstering school spirit. Stratis and Smith have clearly delineated the objectives they hope to achieve while in office.
Stratis, a third-year political science major, was a USG senator for two years, serving as a member of the Student Activities Budget Committee (SABC) from 2016-2017, and is currently the Vice President of the Operations Committee.
His experience in USG and as a commuter has made him aware of the issues that clubs and particular student groups face. “We have a lot of clubs with record low memberships, predominantly cultural clubs, that went defunct or almost went defunct within a year,” Stratis said. “The USG needs to help clubs out with funding, resources, advocacy, and great visibility.”
Upon taking office, Stratis intends to meet in person with club executive boards and compile club reports in order to meet the specific needs of struggling clubs. “I also plan on introducing, via cooperation with the Vice President of Ops [Operations Committee], Austin Tong, and The Observer to feature certain club spotlights to increase club visibility, as well as collaborating on more events,” he added.
Stratis recognized other problems including club leader training. He hopes to improve this process by working with SABC and the Operations Committee to “produce videos explaining the processes of using Orgsync, Club Resources, Budget Packets, etc.,” which will be sent directly to club leaders. Stratis also proposed holding an optional mixer and town hall at the beginning of the semester, in order to give club leaders an opportunity to interact more openly with USG.
“We need to stay active and aware of policy issues and developments on campus, but we also need to be mindful that by empowering clubs and active individuals, we will be promoting a better campus culture,” Stratis said. He intends to collaborate with the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and the Commuting Students Association (CSA) in order to meet the representative needs of both residents and commuters.
Much like Stratis, Katina Smith has a clear vision of increasing dialogue among the student body. Smith is double majoring in journalism and american studies. She is a member of the Mock Trial team, the president of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, and the treasurer of International Studies Club.
As a Resident Assistant in McMahon Hall, Smith has observed that Fordham students are extremely ambitious and independent, with most of their activities taking place off campus. “My goal is to use the uniqueness of LC and its student body to create greater community ties among students’ varied interests,” Smith stated on her USG application.
Smith intends to increase student involvement by implementing weekly “Fordham Fridays,” during which students would be incentivized with free food if they sport Fordham or maroon apparel in order to show school spirit.
In regards to improving club unity, Smith hopes to implement monetary bonuses for clubs to co-sponsor events, which would simultaneously increase student participation and bring diverse groups of students together.
Lastly, Smith highlighted her hope to increase accessibility to events such as Winter Ball. “My goal for Winter Ball is to negotiate a better price and potentially a more affordable venue to increase student involvement. It is great to have a beautiful event but it is greater to have a fun event full of more students enjoying campus life than just a few,” Smith said.
Through their election, Stratis and Smith are taking on the ambitious task of unifying a student body that presently feels severely disjointed.